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Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Today’s guest picture comes from the son of my friend Sue and shows the very impressive container (used only once on the trip from Hong Kong) which Sue has had craned into her garden.  She will transmogrify it into a garden room and office.

Sue's container We have been blessed with an unexpected rise in temperatures and we were back into double figures by breakfast today.  Sadly, it didn’t come supplied with additional sunshine so a great deal of fine autumn colour went unrecorded (to sighs of relief from happy readers).

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh for her weekly visit to Matilda and I did a little tidying up and a crossword until Sandy arrived for coffee.  He tells me that he too has bought a coffee grinder.  Soon you won’t be able to hear yourself think in Langholm because of the roar of coffee grinders all over the town.

After coffee, I had a walk round the garden….

potentilla and poppy

A new potentilla and the welcome sight of a poppy perking up.

…and put out some pellets on the lawn feeder.  The starlings were there in force almost immediately and I put the following picture in, despite its poor quality, just to show that the pink pellets are still the pellet of choice among discerning avians.

starlingsOther starlings looked on with amazement at the goings on below.

starlingsThen I got the bike out and went off for a pedal.  I was intending to do exactly the same double trip as yesterday and go twice to the top of Callister but when I got back to the town, the prospect of a fourth trip up the hill in two days seemed uninviting so I continued through the town and out in the opposite direction.

Not being in any hurry, I stopped for a photo or two.

larches at High Mill Brig

The larches at the High Mill Brig caught my eye

Sorbie

And I could hardly miss these bright trees screening the cottage at Sorbie.

The new direction meant that I finished my twenty mile outing with a relaxed spin down hill and down wind back into the town.

Although I didn’t realise it while I was pedalling, this ride took me to exactly 400 miles for the month and as the weather ahead looks a bit variable to say the least, it was comforting to reach this target with a few days in hand.

After lunch I had another wander round the garden and took some shots of foliage colour now that many of the flowers are over.

garden colourSome flowers have not gone yet though.

nasturtium

My mobile phone doing a great job of a low light close up with a flash.

I sawed another couple of logs from the apple tree and sieved some compost as well.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden tidying work has filled Bin A to the brim so there will need to be shifting and turning in the near future.

She has made a very neat job of packaging the kindling cut for the apple tree twigs.

kindlers

Drying in the greenhouse.

Later in the day, Sandy arrived back from a trip to Carlisle and we went for a walk.  The light was fading fast but I took a camera anyway.  We kept an eye out for fungus but there was surprisingly little to be seen.

fungusfungusThe autumn colour may not be with us for much longer as we were trampling through fallen leaves for much of our walk…

Beechy Plains…though as you can see, there are still a lot of leaves left to fall.

We met a handsome dog on our way round Gaskell’s Walk…

dog…and saw any amount of colourful leaves as we went along.

autumn leavesThe whole day had been very mild and it was pleasant to be able to walk without a coat so late in the day and so late in October.  My final shot was of a very calm Pool Corner just before we got home.

Pool CornerIn the evening, Susan kindly drove me to Carlisle for our regular recorder group meeting and we had an enjoyable time playing quartets as our fifth member is currently in Spain.

It wasn’t a great day for catching flying birds.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s picture shows a lighthouse at Whitley Bay where my friends Gavin and Gaye were recently on grandparenting duty.

lighthouse

Although the day here promised to be sunny, it soon faded to a dull grey with a keenly nipping wind.  As I walked up to the town, a passer by described it to me with considerable understatement as ‘a cool air’.  I would have said that it was ***** cold. Fortunately Dropscone was away on business and I didn’t have to brave the breeze on a bicycle.

The reason for my visit to the town was a reported electrical fault at the Archive centre.  I took some simple remedial measures but I fear that we may need a professional.  This causes me some anguish because if life in Langholm has a drawback, it is the difficulty in getting a prompt response for a small job from an electrician.

I had filled the seed feeder before I walked up to the town and by the time that I got back, it was nearly empty again such was the heavy traffic.

Greenfinch and goldfinch

Waiting for the right moment to go.

greenfinch

A greenfinch having a very serious word with a chaffinch

I have tried to make some pictures which show the excitement and are a little different from my usual ones.  It wasn’t hard to find a subject today and these four pictures were taken in the space of a minute.

greenfinch

chaffinches

chaffinches

chaffinches

It wasn’t long before I had to fill up the seed feeder again.

I was pleased to see a blue tit come to the feeders as we are still hoping that a pair might use our nest box.

blue tit

An hour later, things were still just as busy.

chaffinch

greenfinch and siskin

Taking a break from bird watching, we had an early lunch and set out for a walk.  We did consider a pedal but decided the fun of biking into a really icy wind was strictly limited and we headed for the Kernigal wood and some shelter from the chill.

Kernigal

A pleasant open wood to wander through

At one stage, I took a high route while Mrs Tootlepedal took a lower road and it wasn’t until we had come out of the wood that I saw her again.

A speck in the distance

She politely waited for me to catch up and then, instead of walking on down to the road, we went through a gate…

gate

…and then cut across some fields.  We passed another of the temporary ponds that have formed during the wet summer.

puddle

Then another gate….

gate

…led us to a track down to the Murtholm.

As we walked through a field there , we saw two pairs of oyster catchers.  This was one of them.

oyster catchers

Another sign of coming spring

We walked home along the riverside path, keeping a wary eye out for any further landslips as we went.

glacial till

This scar shows the underlying glacial till.  It is very unstable on a soggy, steep slope.

I had filled the feeder before we left for our walk and I had to fill it again when we returned.  The birds are obviously finding that food is hard to get elsewhere during this long chilly spell.

A greenfinch soon arrived to take advantage of the refill.

greenfinch

After we got back from the walk, we made a quick excursion to Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure mine and came back to spread it where it will do most good.  The rains of last summer will have washed a lot of the goodness out of the soil and Mrs Tootlepedal is keen to replace as much as she can.

She then took up her needle and went back to making costumes while I footled about on my computer getting nothing much done at all.

In the evening, I went with Jean and Sandy to the Archive Centre and we worked away for an hour and a half.  We were in the mood for refreshment afterwards and were shocked and dismayed to find our usual haunt packed to the gunwales with merrymakers at a works farewell party.  There was, as they say, no room at the inn for regular customers and we went home disconsolately, not having the heart to try a different bar.

The near zero temperatures are to continue for a few days yet so I will make sure that I am well stocked with seeds.  On the plus side, the wind is predicted to die down so maybe it will not feel as chilly as it did today.

I managed to go past the chaffinches in my search for a flying bird of the day today and found a greenfinch instead.

greenfinch

 

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Today’s picture, taken today on a rare sunny day in London by my sister Mary on her morning walk, shows the lake at Kenwood House.  The bridge in the background is for decorative purposes only and leads nowhere.

Kenwood lake with distant view of false bridge

It was a foul, wet and windy day at breakfast and I was pleased that I wasn’t hoping to cycle.  This was because I had a scheduled trip to the Health Centre for a blood test.  Fortunately I turned out to have some and I returned home cheerfully.

I was still a bit below par generally though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work, I sank into a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a good but undemanding book and spent the rest of the morning in pro resting mode…..though of course I did find a quick moment to look out of the window in the rather gloomy conditions.  At least the rain had stopped by the time I got the camera in my hand.

chaffinch

A chaffinch giving the world a sideways look

goldfinches at feeder

The two goldfinches on the right seems to have missed their targets by a long way.

The rest must have done me good because after Mrs Tootlepedal had returned and we had had our lunch, we decided to go for a walk.  The weather had brightened up considerable but there was a strong and chilly wind still blowing so we looked for a stroll beside a well wooded stream or river.  The Tarras seemed to fit the bill and we got into the car and drove down the Claygate road until we came to the river.  There we parked the car and set out to go as far as we felt was sensible before returning.

Tarras

The Tarras was bubblingly full and provided a noisy background to our walk.

Our walk started through sheltering woods….

woods by Tarras

…although it was very soggy underfoot and evidence of the weight of snow combined with strong winds could be seen on every side.

broken tree

broken tree

We walked safely enough through the debris and were able to enjoy the lush greenness provided by the carpet of moss.

moss

This is a really enthusiastic moss almost looking like a miniature fern.

The branches were well covered too.

mossy branches

moss

Outstanding moss on this little branch.

As always, we were struck by the layers of sedimentary rock where they are exposed by the river.

seams in Tarras

It is not surprising when you see the dark seams that they are considering an open cast coal mine not far away from here.

Among the pervasive green, there were occasional splashes of colour.

haws

When we had gone for what seemed like quite a long way in the heavy going, we had to decide on our policy.  Should we go and and make a circuit, crossing the river upstream and returning by road or should we retrace our steps?  The former seemed like hard work and the latter seemed dull so not being afraid of a little hard work, we pressed on, fording swollen streams carefully and enjoying the sunlight when we got out of the woods.

sunny glade

Trees on every side showed the power of the wind, some with recent scars and some showing old wounds.

three battered trees

We finally reached the bridge and turned back towards the car with the welcome firmness of tarmac under our feet.  Now we were exposed and walking into the strong wind.  To make things worse, it started to rain but then, to make things better, it stopped and the sun came out again.  We pottered on, passing a strangely quiet moorland feeding station with only two birds in sight  and finally reached the last lap, the hill back down to the river.

The hat

Mrs Tootlepedal was giving her new hat a really good workout.

I was tempted by a tree/gate combination with additional sheep.  It looked good on the camera but when I got it home I found it mostly featured some of the ubiquitous power cables.

tree with wires

Dash.  I spend a little time making them disappear.

tree without wires

It’s a tedious business and to do it really well takes ages so this will have to do.  Another tree caught my eye as we walked down the hill.

gnarly tree

The arrangement of branches looks randomly higgledy-piggledy but it must have seemed a good idea to the tree at the time.

We were pleased when we arrived back at the car after what seemed like a marathon (well, at least five miles) with the heavy going in the woods and a steep hill and a strong wind on the return.  We wasted little time in getting home for a revivifying cup of tea and a biscuit.   Mike Tinker joined us for a cup and we considered how far the walk had been,  I went and got a map and sadly the Ordnance Survey, who had produced the map, had obviously made a big mistake as our five mile walk only seemed to be three and a half miles when measured on the map.  Shoddy work.

All the same, we had enjoyed it a lot and although it wasn’t a great photographic opportunity, it had certainly been very easy on the eye and soul and surprisingly fresh, green and warm while we were on the river banks.   As a bonus, there was more than one snowdrop now out in the garden when we arrived back.

snowdrops

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy where we worked away as usual.,  Dropscone dropped in to say farewell as he is going to France with three of his children tomorrow for a week’s holiday.  I may say that he is going off with no thought of the need of a certain person for the regular treacle scone with his coffee on Friday.  In spite of that, I hope he has a good time.

Our after work refreshment at the Douglas was enhanced by the appearance of a new and very nice beer from Lancashire.   For some reason, the ability of the English to brew a huge range of really tasty and drinkable bitter beers has never been transferred to the Scots.  Perhaps the Presbyterian distaste for pleasure has cramped the Scottish brewers’ style.  Or it may be the weather.  Or maybe they just don’t like good beer.

A chaffinch obliged as usual though it was only just still flying when I caught it.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture, sent to me by my sister Mary, shows a handsome statue in Waterlow Park, London where she has been walking.  The statue shows Sir Sydney Waterlow, who donated the park to the public.  By coincidence, Sir Sydney was for a short time in 1868/69  MP for Dumfriesshire but was forced to resign owing to having insufficiently distanced himself from  some government contracts with his firm.

Sidney Waterlow, who donated the park to the public

Sound the trumpets, bang the drums! It was not a grey, wet day today.  To be fair, it was grey when we woke up.  In fact the town was enveloped in a thick mist as I took the car up to the garage for its annual service and MOT.

Drop was undeterred by the mist though and presented himself for a morning pedal so I put the Christmas lights on and we pedalled off up the Wauchope road into the fog.  We hadn’t gone more than two miles before we had come out of the mist and we pedalled the rest of our twenty one miles in glorious sunshine.  This was just as well because Drop claimed that my fancy flashing back light would have driven him insane if it had been on any longer.  I should say that most of the rest of the trip was in sunshine because Langholm was still under the mist for our last mile.  Drop very kindly waited for me from time to time as I was on the belt bike and am still not back to peak fitness.

Still, it was a lot brighter than when we had left and by the time we had finished our coffee there was a hint of a blue sky above us.

It seemed likely that our surrounding hills would be clear on their tops so after coffee, I packed up my camera and picked up a tripod and set off to the top of Warbla.  If you think that photos of mist might be rather dull, now would be a really good time to look away.

My trip to the summit in pictures:

level with the mist

The mist looked pretty solid at first

Mist from warbla

As I climbed the track, it looked as though I would get above it.

Mist from warbla

It soon became apparent that the mist had lifted from the town a bit.

Mist from warbla

It varied in thickness throughout my walk.

Mist from warbla

It ran up into each neighbouring valley.

Mist from warbla

Soon I was looking down on the mist from well above it

When I got to the top of Warbla, I set up the tripod and had a look around.

Whita in the mist

Whita Hill with a misty skirt

Whita in the mist

Langholm lay under a cloud

Whita in the mist

But the town was clearly in view beneath the icing.

The woods below Warbla were wreathed in mist

The woods below Warbla were wreathed in mist

Looking past Whita, I could see the mist in the Tarras valley beyond.

Looking past Whita, I could see the mist lying in the Tarras valley beyond.

Whita in the mist

There was no view to the south at all as the mist was piled up in that direction.

Whita in the mist

This was a test of one of my new filters

I am glad that I took the trouble to walk up the hill, even though by the time that I got to the top, the sun had been covered by inconsiderate clouds.  I would have been sorry to have mist this opportunity.

The walk back down taxed my knees and I had to have a good rest before going up to the town for a health giving visit to the chemist and the Health Centre.

I watched a few birds while I was resting.

A goldfinch peers nervously down while a chaffinch seems above it all

A goldfinch peers nervously down while a chaffinch seems above it all

goldfinch

A goldfinch shows off a trick

It was a lot colder than it has been lately but not cold enough to stop Mrs Toot going out into the garden.

Mrs toot gardening

The first authentic sighting of the gardener at work in 2013

I went out too and shredded the Christmas tree ready for the compost heap.  I also noticed this striking fungus on a tree stump.

fungus

In the evening Mrs Toot and I went to the first meeting of the year for Langholm Sings, our community choir, and we enjoyed a good sing under the watchful eye of our musical director Sean.  One of our members took a photograph of us which I am going to send to the local paper with an article to try and drum up some more members (altos are particularly in demand).

Langholm Sings

We have more members than were able to turn up today.

I found a flying (and shouting) bird in the midst of all this activity.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture, sent by Bruce from North Berwick, shows the North Berwick Fire Station.  Sadly it has just suffered a catastrophic fire as you can see.   Only someone with no manners would find this funny.

fire station

Another sub zero day and another visit to the gym, courtesy of Dropscone.  I felt a lot better today and managed to keep the rpm up to 80 and the pulse mostly under 140.  My MP3 player was out of charge so  while I was pedalling nowhere for the hour, I just had to sit and think.   I used the time to consider possible openings for a toast I am giving in January.  Dropscone kindly pointed out that it was no use me having wonderful thoughts if I couldn’t write them down because I would be  sure to forget them.  He is probably right.

Sandy joined us for coffee and we arranged to go for a walk afterwards.  This meant that I didn’t have a moment to stare out of the window in the morning.   We left Mrs Tootlepedal painting the kitchen cupboard doors.  They will take a day or so to dry properly.

We hadn’t got far on our walk when we were joined by two border terriers who were taking their owner on the same route as us.
border terriers

The track was slippery and we had to walk with care.

Track
To our right, the hillside was sprinkled with hardy hill cattle.

cattle

The sun had cleared the snow off this side of the hill.

We soon left the track along the fields and plunged into a conifer plantation.

wood at Becks Burn

Virtually nothing grows under these trees. They have had the lower branches taken off to make them grow straight and tall.

We crossed the Becks Burn and climbed through the wood on the other side.  We were heading for the sun.

Becks wood

The view back towards Whita when we came out was worth waiting for.
View from Hallcrofts

A house beside the road was ideally placed to make the most of the winter sunshine.
Hallcrofts

I’m sad that our house points exactly the wrong way for us to be able to use these devices to cut our carbon use.
Across the valley, a farmer and his son were going to tend to their sheep using the universal form of farm transport round here.

Quadbikes

They are called quadbikes here but as a pedant has pointed out, they should be called bi-bikes or quadcycles.

We walked down to join the road beside the Wauchope, wondering why these berries in the verge had survived when most others have been eaten.
berries

As we passed the Wauchope churchyard, a buzzard circled slowly above us.
buzzard

Then we were almost home. The still waters of the river at Pool Corner held our attention and I couldn’t decide which of the two pictures which I took there I liked the best so in a self indulgent way, I have put both in here.
pool corner

pool corner

When we got home, Sandy went off to have lunch and meet a friend and I sank into a chair and snoozed after the efforts of the gym and walk.  It took Mrs Tootlepedal some time to finish the door painting but when she was able finally to put her paintbrush away, we had lunch and then I walked up to the town to do a bit of business.

I had hardly got home again when Sandy rang up to suggest a quick trip to Gretna.  I was busy cooking some venison mince for our tea at the time but as Mrs Tootlepedal kindly offered to supervise the final stages, I was able to take up Sandy’s offer of a lift and we were soon on our way.  Once again, the sunset over the Solway was well worth a look.  I shot this picture through the front window of the moving car.

solway sunset

The starlings never disappoint though we were a bit too close to them to get the best pictures tonight.
starlings

We think we have seen a better place for starling photos and next time we go down we will see what we can do from there.

The venison mince turned out well and we had it with mashed potatoes for a nourishing evening meal. Then it was time for Sandy to turn up for a third time and we went up to the Archive centre to do some work.  Jean wasn’t able to come as she had a sore back but even without her help, I got through a fair amount of database work.  We enjoyed a drink in the Douglas afterwards as usual but I carelessly left my computer glasses there and I am typing this with my nose pressed to the screen.  I apologise for any typos that have sneaked past me.

For those of a curious mind, a visit to Sandy’s blog will show the pictures that he took today. Compare and contrast, as the examiners say.

I am fortunate to have such friends as Dropscone and Sandy who keep me so well entertained.

At some stage in the day, I managed to snatch a moment to glance out of the kitchen window.
blue tit

I thought that I had managed to catch a chaffinch just as it took off from the plum tree but annoyingly, it went off in the wrong direction.

chaffinch

As a result, the non standard flying bird of the day is the soaring buzzard from the morning walk.
buzzard

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Today’s picture, sent by Bruce who is on holiday there, shows the foreshore at North Berwick with the Bass Rock in the background.  It looks sunny but I bet it was pretty chilly.

north berwick nov 2012

It was certainly chilly enough here but a moon in the clear sky promised a sunny day at least.  Dropscone turned up and drove us to the gym again.  I was rather tired after the last five days of exercise and only managed a very gentle work out indeed while Dropscone leapt from infernal machine to infernal machine with boyish zest.  I was ready for coffee and scones when we returned.

Sadly, by the time we got home, the clear sky had been obscured by mist and so it stayed for the rest of the day.  If the side roads had been less icy, I might have gone out in the car to see if I could get above it because it looked like one of those ground hugging affairs.  The main roads have been well gritted but you take your chance on the side roads so I erred on the side of caution and stayed at home looking out of the window instead.

We had just finished our coffee when the joiner appeared to fit the very last item of the kitchen refurbishment.  This was an exciting moment. Now all that remains is for the Leonardo of Wauchope Street to complete the painting the cupboard doors and  we will be finished.  My camera finger is twitching but great painters can’t be hurried so I will have to be patient.

Perhaps because I have not out out any niger seed this winter, there are no siskins at all to be seen in the garden.  The cold weather also seems to have put paid to the visits of the coal tits and great tits so we are working with a limited palette of birds at present.   There is still plenty to watch though.   There is action…

chaffinch

…and repose.

robin in tree

Greenfinches….

greenfinch in tree

…and goldfinches.

goldfinch in tree

I spent some more time waiting for birds to fly off the plum tree but once again they either just sat there…

bramblings

Two bramblings with their noses in the air.

…or were too quick for me.

flying chaffinch

I nearly caught this one.

The robin returned.

robin on feeder

Feeling that the light just wasn’t good enough for the flying pictures that I wanted, I gave up and went to write up the minutes of the Archive Group AGM before I forgot what had happened there.  The next task will be to send in the annual return to the charity watchdog.  This used to be a horrendous business but they have simplified it a lot in recent years.  I imagine the prospect of thousands of small charities giving up in disgust at the paperwork forced their hand.

Mrs Tootlepedal is working a lot at the moment as one of her colleagues is off but she only had a half day to do today.  When she came back, we thought about going up to visit the moorland feeders but the prospect of an icy potholed road put us off.  Mrs Tootlepedal had some church choir business to take care of so I slipped sandycam into my jacket pocket and set out for a walk.  The going was very icy in places so I was pleased to have my Yaktrax on.   I purchased these after reading about them in Mrs Uphilldowndale’s blog  last year and I am grateful to her for making me aware of them.

I walked through the park and along the banks of the Esk through the woods.

Beechy Plains

Although it didn’t snow very much, the continually low temperatures since it fell mean that not much of it has disappeared.  Where people have trodden, the snow has melted and refrozen and become very icy.

I felt a lot of sympathy for the sheep in the Murtholm fields.

sheep

Cold work and not a lot of grass to be seen.

Crossing the Skippers Bridge, the mist was getting ever lower further down the river.
mist on the Esk

After crossing the bridge, I climbed up to the old railway track and then followed the path past the Round House, stopping to admire the trunks of a patch of native silver birches….

silver birches

…and then looked back down at the bridge from above.

Skippers Bridge

I always like this  view but the snowy outline on top of the parapets make it even better than usual.  For once, I don’t mind the electricity poles in a picture as it is because of them that the the trees were cleared to give the view.

The track back to the edge of the town was marked by the brown bracken that Mrs Tootlepedal likes.

track past round house

I walked back into the town, sneering at icy patches as I went.  As I walked down Hallpath, I enjoyed this contrast between shaggy and manicured (but dilapidated) walls.

Hallpath walls

A case of having to take the rough with the smooth, I suppose.

The snow picked out the architectural features on the parish church as I neared home.

parish church

This was a much less strenuous walk than of late and I enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed a cup, of tea and a slice of Selkirk Bannock on my arrival in the nearly finished kitchen.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to the choir where I sang during the first half and waved my arms about during the second, an enjoyable mixture (for me at any rate).  Mrs Tootlepedal added lustre to the sopranos.

The flying bird of the day was a conventional chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s picture shows the garden early in the morning.

snowy garden

I checked with my infallible high-tec snow depth measurer…

snow measure

That much snow had fallen during the night.  It meant a busy time at the feeders….

busy feeder

…both in the air and on the ground below….

ground crew

A chaffinch flies in to join the ground crew.

As usual the feeders were in deep shadow but it wasn’t too long before the plum tree offered basking opportunities.

brambling basking

Brambling and chaffinch taking in some rays.

It was the first Saturday of the month so I went to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre and made my usual purchases of fresh fish, venison and local cheese.  I called in my local corner shop on my way home to make sure my spending power was spread about.  The shopkeeper complains about the producers’ market and I can feel his pain but he doesn’t sell fresh lemon sole or venison so I feel bad but not too bad about going past his door to get to the market on one day a month.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was waiting for a B&B couple to arrive so I packed the big camera up and put sandycam in my pocket as well and set off to walk up the third of the four Langholm hills.  This time, Whita was my target.

Whita

There hadn’t been enough snow to properly cover the hills round the town.

I took the direct route to the summit and was able to look back as I puffed my way up the track past the golf course to see the hills I walked on yesterday.

Timpen

The going underfoot was snowy but not slippery and walking was quite comfortable and there was no need for my anti slip Yaktrax  which was just as well as I hadn’t put them on.

I used the panoramic ability of the sandycam to capture just a taste of the views that I was enjoying.

snowy hills

There was no mist over the Solway today and the low sun glistened on the waters of the firth.

solway

As always at this time of the year on a sunny day, the contrast of light looking south and north is striking.

When I reached the summit of Whita, I was able to look across the valley to see the tiny black dot which was the trig point that I had stood beside yesterday.  It was dwarfed by the windmills on the hill behind.

Timpen and Craig

It was chillier today in a light wind and the windmills were actually making a little electricity.

I decided not to risk walking back down the steep face of the hill and instead I took the easier track down towards the McDiarmid Memorial and the road.  Before I got to the road, I decided to take a diversion and walk round the back of the hill and visit the Castle Craigs.  This involved a track rich with cairns.  There was one at the start…

cairn

…one a bit further on which I haven’t included here and one at the Castle Craigs complete with a handy bench.

castle craigs

The cairn there commemorates 200 years of the Langholm Common Riding and marks one of the furthest extents of what was once the common land.  There is a fine view behind it.

Castle Craigs

I don’t sit on the bench but walked back to the track down to the road and then on down the road.  After a while, I turned back onto the hill and walked along to the top of the golf course.

It was looking brilliant with untouched snow covering fairways and greens and the cropped grass made for an easy walk back to the town. I was crossing the High Street when I heard what sounded like the Town Band playing seasonal music in the distance so I walked along to the Town Bridge to see what was going on.  It was the Town Band, or at least a part of it.

Town band

I wasn’t expecting to see the person following the band along.

Santa

He had two local medal winning paralympians, Libby and James Clegg in the back of his sleigh.  They were going to help turn on the Christmas lights later in the evening.

By the time that I got home, my legs were complaining vociferously about the steepness of the walk up the hill and the folly of the diversion to the Castle Craigs.  I soothed them with tea and toast.

Not long after I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing with a small group from the local operatic society to add to the general jollity at the switching on of the lights.  I went up a little later to watch her at work.

carol singing

She was wearing her carol singing pink coat.  There was a good crowd out and they gave a resounding cheer when the lights came on.  I recorded the illuminated tree for posterity.

tree

Because of the way the lights are draped over it, slightly squashing the branches in, it does look a little more like a cactus or an aubergine than a Christmas tree but we like it all the same.

On my way home, I stopped to snap the war memorial in the park.

war memorial

It looked very striking in the snow.

Another good day was rounded off by that rare thing, an excellent TV drama.  This was back to back programmes five and six of the Killing, my favourite gloomy Danish police investigation.

There was a rather different flying bird of the day today.  I caught this beautiful brambling entirely by accident.  I was trying to get a ‘perching in the plum tree’ shot when it flew off.

brambling

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