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Posts Tagged ‘trig point’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He had a moment to wander around in Borrowash this morning and was surprised to find a giraffe in the woods.  You can see it too if you look carefully.  It didn’t move a lot, he tells me.

giraffe at Borrowash

Last night I had wondered whether we would wake to a winter wonderland or sodden slush and when the curtains opened this morning, the reality was somewhere between the two.  There had been more snow overnight and the hills had a good covering but there was still plenty of green to be seen in the garden and the roads were slushy.

The sun was shining and I thought that I ought to visit the winter wonderland and ignore the slush, so I put my walking boots on and headed for the hills.

I carefully chose our smallest hill and stopped on the way to look back over the town.  It was a good day to be out and about.

langholm and whita snow

I got a short way up the Meikleholm  Hill track and stopped to catch my breath and look around.  Sunshine on snow, if it is not too deep, brings out details and I could see a fan shape near a pylon on the lower sloped of Whita across the the other side of the town.

pylon in snow

A glimpse of some snowy hills encouraged me to climb a bit higher…

view from Meikleholm Hill

…but I met the  owner of these footprints and he told me that it was very cold and windy on the top of the hill…

strange footsteps

…and as it was clouding over and the forecast had suggested a good chance of more snow, I chickened out and walked back down off the hill and onto the Becks track.  I settled for a walk across the Becks Burn and back home by the road.  I hoped that I would get back before the snow started again.

My friend Ada had sent me message a day or two ago to say that primroses were out along the track so I kept my eyes open and saw one for myself.  Shortly afterwards I passed a fine display of catkins.

primrose and catkins

I got down to the Auld Stane Brig and thought about heading home along the road.

But the clouds had moved away and the sun was out again, so I thought that I might have time to climb up the lower slopes of Warbla and come back down the track to the park to make my walk a little more interesting.

I wasn’t the only one to have used the track today…

warbla path

…and this was no surprise as dog walkers get everywhere.

This short track was quite steep and even a little snow makes walking harder work and I was happy to stop and look back across the Wauchope from time to time.

The light on Calfield Rig was interesting.

calfield rig

And I could have stood for a long time looking at the snowy slopes…

calfield

…but it was chilly so I walked up the path a bit and then had another look in a different direction.  The light and shade there were interesting too.

view over holmwood snow

I got to the point where my path met the main track from the top of Warbla and turned to go down to the town. Then I turned back and looked up the track to the summit.

warbla track snow

It was irresistible so I telephoned Mrs Tootlepedal to tell her of my whereabouts and then set off up the hill.

It was quite hard to make quick progress as I had to keep stopping to look around, both to enjoy the wider view as sunshine and clouds alternated in a brisk wind…

clouds and sun on snow

…and to use the zoom on the Lumix to focus in on small details that caught the eye on distant hills.  There was some deep snow on Bauchle Hill further up the Esk valley.

detail Bauchle Hill

I pressed on though, using the helpful footprints in the snow left by a pair of dog walkers who had gone up the track before me.  Without the help of the dog walkers, I don’t think that I could have continued as the wind had blown quite a bit of snow onto the track and it was well over six inches deep at times.  I would have skipped through that as a boy but it was a more serious consideration now.

Still, I got high enough to look back down over the town….

wide view from warbla snow

…and as I got to the flatter part of the track near the summit, the snow got thinner because much of it had been blown away by the strong winds and I was able to stride out with youthful exuberance (almost).

The views from the top were well worth any effort I had had to expend in getting up the hill.

ewes valley snow

Thanks to the rapid passing of the clouds, the light was different every time I looked and it would have been very tempting to spend quite a bit of time on the top of the hill taking pictures…

langholm sun and clouds snow

…but as you can see from the snow glued to the trig point, the wind was brisk and the windchill factor was enough to make standing around for too long unattractive…

trig point warbla

…quite apart from the possibility of being literally blown over while taking pictures of Whita.

whita from warbla snow

So I took one last picture….

Langholm and ewes valley snow

…looked at some looming clouds coming up behind me, and scuttled back down the hill as fast as my legs (and two stout walking poles) would carry me.

As it turned out, there was no need for a rush as the snow didn’t start again until well into the afternoon.  But I had had the best of the day’s sunshine while I was out on the hill so I was happy.

I was also happy to sit down for some lunch after a strenuous four and a half mile outing.

I had a quick look at the birds in a sunny moment after lunch.

The pigeon was back…

pigeon

…and when the snow started again, the siskins were queuing up to kick…

three siskins and a kicking

…and shout at each other.

three siskins and a dunk

I settled down to the computer and put in some useful time entering more of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database and learning songs for a choir competition when we will have to do without books.

Mrs Tootlepedal found a dry spell to cycle about the town, combining some business with some shopping and when she go back, she made an excellent chicken stew for our tea.

We should be going to Edinburgh tomorrow to see Matilda but with more snow forecast, I think it most likely that we will stay at home.

The flying birds of the day are that flock of siskins which was back again.  They love to perch on the walnut tree, leap into the air, swirl about a bit and then settle back in the tree.  Perhaps, like me, they get a bit cold if they have to stand around too long.

siskin flock in walnut

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce who seems to have popped up in Spain.   He had an excursion today to the monastery at Montserrat and found a statue there of interest.  He claims that its eyes followed him about wherever he went.  Look closely at the triptych which he took and you can see what he means.

MontserratI didn’t need to be followed anywhere this morning as I stayed firmly at home doing nothing more exciting than making some slow cooked lamb stew and a pot of coffee.  Sandy joined us for coffee on his way home from a fifteen mile cycle ride which put me to shame.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work doing preparatory work for the final decoration of the downstairs room and I lent a small hand from time to time.

I did take a walk round the garden.   I found two small tortoiseshell butterflies trapped in a spider’s web in the garage and Mrs Tootlepedal came with her delicate fingers and freed them.  We were worried that they might be fatally injured but after a little basking in the sun…

butterfly…they both flew off looking quite chipper.

New flowers are to be seen.

tulip

The first of many tulips

forsythia

A few forsythia flowers

The tadpoles are beginning to roam free in the pond.

tadpolesSpurred into action by a sardine sandwich for lunch, I put on my walking shoes and walked up to the top of Timpen, a 1000 ft summit behind our house.  I had my cameras with me but I was more interested in walking than shooting so I took my walking poles along and hardly stopped until I had made it to the top of the hill.

Two brief photo ops detained me on my way up.

Hill cattle

With the hill cattle around, I had to be careful not to get between mother and calf.  They can be fiercely protective.

meadow pipits

I saw quite a few of these little birds on the hillside.

meadow pipits

They turned out to be meadow pipits.

There is a trig point with a bench mark on the summit….

benchmarkThe numbers do not refer to the height above sea level which is 1069 ft.  Another benchmark near our house in the town is at a height of 269 ft and this shows that I had climbed exactly 800 ft, as my route had not involved any loss of height.

It was another hazy day but I took a couple of shots from the top of the hill.

Langholm

The town just visible 800 ft below.

Craigcleuch

In the other direction I could see Craigcleuch, one of the houses built by mill owners in Victorian times.

The light was very variable but every now and again, a bit of sunlight penetrated the haze and lit up a view.

Castle HillI went (very carefully) down the steeper side of the hill towards the Bentpath road and could see the pheasant hatchery on the Castleholm laid out like a map plan below me.

CastleholmOnce back on the road, I crossed it and walked back to Langholm through the woods to the Duchess Bridge.  I was greeted by a very charming bunch of primroses.

primrosesThe recent dry weather has made the path much less muddy than usual and it was a pleasure to walk along it.

Duchess bridge walkThe bridge itself is very difficult to see because of the trees lining the riverside…

Duchess Bridge…and if I was the landowner, I would make sure that there was at least one gap in the trees so that walkers could admire this historic bridge.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had reached a natural hiatus in her decorating tasks so we went for a nine and a half mile cycle ride up and down the Wauchope road in the the warm early evening sunshine.  The trees at the school are retreating ever further along the banks of the river.

Wauchope school treesWe turned for home at Westwater and had a quick look at the massive wooden circular construction there which will be used for a falconry centre there.   You can see a picture of it at the end of Gavin’s latest blog.

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal washed one of a pair of big velvet curtains from the front room in a large tub and I helped her to hang it out.  I question whether it will ever dry out but we can but hope.

I took a picture of a euphorbia before I went back in.

euphorbiaThe lamb stew turned out very well after my gravy chef had worked her magic and provided us with a good meal.  As I was feeling inexplicably snoozy, the rest of the evening saw no action of note at all.

Bird  action was very limited in the garden during the day but as I was waiting for the stew, I did see a late flying chaffinch.

chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew in Spain and shows a mountain chapel.

Mountain Chapel

The forecast was for a cloudy but dry day with frost at first and icy patches at first.  Apart from the fact that there was no frost and it was sunny all day, they got it pretty well right and at least it was dry.  Dropscone and I had delayed the start of the morning run in case of frost but we were quite pleased to have a late start and be able to pedal round in a relaxed fashion in sunny conditions.

I was able to stare out of the window before he arrived.

There was peace and quiet at times…

robin and chaffinch

…and plenty of action too.

siskin and greenfinch

A tiny siskin was quite happy to threaten a greenfinch.

After a coffee and a shower, I went out to admire the crocuses, both singly…

crocuses

…and collectively.

crocuses

I also communed with the frogs while I was there, once again both singly…

frog

…and collectively.

frog colloquy

A three frog colloquy on the subject of independence.  They are for it.

It was such a nice day, almost windless and feeling warm, that Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided to have a walk after lunch to see if the new bridge on Gaskell’s Walk was ready for use.

It was.  Here is a view of the bridge from one side…

new bridge

…and a picture seen from the other side of Mrs Tootlepedal and Corrie, a keen photographer himself, taking in the view from the bridge .

Having met a fellow member of the camera club, the next two people we met as we continued our walk were a fellow archivist and a fellow member of both the choirs we sing in.  We felt among friends.

We also saw and admired the colours and patterns on this recently felled tree stump beside  the path.

tree stump

At the end of Gaskell’s Walk, we turned left and set off up Warbla.  After a while, Mrs Tootlepedal thought that since she had already crossed her bridge when she had come to it, she might well have better things to do than walk up a hill, however benign the weather conditions, and turned back towards home and useful tasks while I plugged on to the summit…

summit of warbla

…occasionally exclaiming, “Excelsior!” ( which is Latin for, “Coo, this is steep.”)

Warbla

Luckily I came down this very steep bit.

At the top, I noticed a curious object on the top of a fence post.  I wondered of it was something like an owl pellet.

Pellet on the post

The craggy architecture of the top of the fence post was worth a picture in itself.

The views were as good as ever but because they haven’t changed significantly (or at all) since my last visit. I tried to find a few different pictures on my way up and down.

Looking over Holmwood

Looking over Holmwood at 14.31

Looking over Holmwood

Roughly the same view from a different altitude and angle at 15.25

I kept an eye for fungus and lichen on my way up and down.

fungus and lichen

With added moss

With added moss

I was tempted into a traditional lonesome tree shot .

tree

The thermometer showed that it was 14°C in the sun by the time that I got back and it certainly felt as though it had been the warmest day of the year so far, although it was still in single figures in the shade.

There was plenty of light to try a little continuous shooting in the direction of the bird feeder and it came up with one quite lively result.

siskins

It was still light when my flute pupil Luke arrived for his lesson.  He played very nicely and showed that he has been listening to the points for improvement in his set pieces for his grade examination next month.  However, he is still not doing his breathing exercises and I had to issue some dreadful warnings regarding the possible end of the world if he doesn’t start doing them properly.  Like singing, flute playing is heavily dependent on good breath control and I might feel a little less guilty about being so forceful with Luke if I did the exercises daily myself to help with my singing in the choirs.  Perhaps this will make me concentrate too.

As our pianist Isabel was unwell, I couldn’t go to play trios with her and Mike this evening so I enjoyed a quiet night at home throwing away hundreds of the pictures that I had taken during the day.

I did reserve one of the many flying chaffinches as flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

The pick of another bunch of continuous shots. It is worth doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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