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Posts Tagged ‘Whita Hill’

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony just to show that his life isn’t always glorious sunrises.

Fife stormy weather

We had a dry day today that became increasingly breezy as time passed.  If I had been extremely well prepared and keen, I could have got up at the crack of dawn and done twenty miles in calm conditions before breakfast…but I wasn’t and I didn’t.

What I did do was to have a late breakfast and then enjoy a cup of coffee and some excellent scones with Dropscone when he came to call.  His golf is still causing him some grief but he did tell me that he had noticed the toadstools were out in force among the trees beside the fifth fairway on the golf course.

I couldn’t go up straight away as I had a visit to the health centre to get my three monthly vitamin B12 top up to fit in first.

I had a look at the birds when I got back and was happy to see a calm blue tit on the feeder pole…

blue tit on feeder pole

…and several lively chaffinches coming in for seed.

scary chaffinches

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe and after a light lunch, I headed up to the golf course on a toadstool quest.

On my way there, I saw horses at the bottom of the Kirk Wynd having a snack on the way to their field….

horse on Kirk Wynd

…and a bee having a snack on a dandelion at the top of the slope.

bee on dandelion

I was a bit worried about the toadstools when I passed the green keeper and he told me that they had been mowing the rough but when I got to the trees, there were still plenty to be seen.

They were a little past their best but there was a lot of variety and colour….

golf course fungus panel 1

…and both old and new were to be seen along with other varieties.

golf course fungus panel 2

This was the top toadstool of the day in my opinion.

golf course fungus star

While I was on the course, I took a moment to admire the wonderful new 7th tee, built since my golfing days….

seventh tee

…and the old shelter for benighted golfers on stormy days, still standing after many years but only just.

shelter on golf course

I left the course and headed for the open hill.

I had passed this way last in the middle of the dry spell and the wall at the gate onto the hill had had very little lichen or moss but the recent rains had got things going again…

lichen on moss at top of Kirk wynd

…and both lichen and moss were thriving.

The skies clouded over as I walked along the track to the quarry so I have taken the liberty of ‘zinging up’ the pictures that I took along the way a bit as otherwise the skies looked very dull in the images and the results didn’t reflect the pleasure that I got from the scenery.

My route took me along the hill with views up the Ewes Valley to the north…

 

view of ewes from whita

…past the town….

view of Langholm from Whita

…over the wall at the quarries…

wall and stile at quarry

…and down into the woods….

oak wood path

…which gave me some welcome shelter from the stiff breeze.

oak wood near round house

I walked down to the river at the Skippers Bridge and stopped for the obligatory picture opportunity.

Skippers bridge Sept 18

It is a tall bridge when viewed from the upstream side as can be seen by the tiny figure crossing it in the shot above.

Peering through arch of the bridge, I thought that the river was looking at its best.

Esk below skippers

(Not zinged up at all)

The recent storms have left a lot of broken trees and branches around and I saw a couple on my walk today.

fallen trees

I walked along the Beechy Plains on my way home and in the rather gloomy woods beside the river, I saw both script lichen and fungus…

Easton's walk

…of various sorts.

fungsu on tree stump

I ended my walk with a visit to our corner shop.  It really is on a corner.

corner shop

Mrs Tootlepedal had brought back a slice or two of a delicious sponge cake from the Buccleuch Centre and I ate them with a cup of tea while I rested for a while after battling the breeze.

Then I started the task of sanding down the garage doors which are going to be painted.  Luckily this didn’t require any great skill and I was able to get on with it while Mrs Tootlepedal did some shopping.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do front-of-house for a ballet screening and on this occasion, I left her to it and spent time messing about with the photo editor instead.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.  There are a lot of them about.

flying chaffimnch sept 18

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone’s niece Hilary.  It is of an Egyptian Vulture.  It was taken at Zurich Zoo on Saturday and makes Mr Grumpy look like a little ray of sunshine.

It is of an Egyptian Vulture. Taken at Zurich Zoo on Saturday.

Little rays of sunshine were in short supply here today as this was the view when we got up.

snowy garden

It wasn’t even good quality snow, just a soggy flump which turned to slush as it fell.

wet snow

It snowed quite a lot more during the day without adding to the sum total of snow on the ground at all.

Sandy came round for coffee as we are going to give an illustrated talk about the Archive Group in Canonbie tomorrow and we had to settle the details.  After he left, I walked through the slush up to the Archive Centre and made some copies of a DVD of the History of the Mills and Railway in Langholm.  We are going to show the DVD tomorrow and with luck, we might sell a copy or two for funds.

I had a look at the birds when I got back but things were still pretty gloomy.

goldfinch

The snow hadn’t stopped birds arriving but there weren’t very many.

busy feeder snow

I was pleased to see a couple of greenfinches.

greenfinches

After lunch, there was a moment when the sun came out so I put on my wellies and went for a short walk.

Whita snow

The hills looked better with a hint of sun on them…

snowy monument

…and if I had been feeling better, I would have rushed up to the monument while the going was good.

As it was, the recovery is still a work in progress so I settled for a very slow walk at a low level, taking my puffer before I set out and creeping up the only hill on my route.

Although it was very slushy rather than crisp, there was still a scenic view or two to be had.

Langholm Bridge snow

Sadly the sun didn’t make much of an effort and it soon clouded over.

Snowy scene

But snow brightens things up.

Ewesbank stream

It was an odd sort of walk.  There were fairly snowy bits….

Pathhead path

…with extensively snowy views to the left…

snowy whita

…but when I turned the corner at the end of the field, there was hardly a flake of snow to be seen.

path along top of woods

I was glad to have the shelter of the trees for the rest of my walk as it started to snow again and the wind got up so I would have been thoroughly wet if i had been in the open.

As it was, I kept my head down, admired a striking jelly fungus in the heart of the wood….

jelly fungus

…and got home, reasonably dry and content.

Even a short walk is lot to take on at the moment and I found myself fast asleep in front of the telly for most of the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening, I had to decide whether I was fit enough to sit through a live screening of Rigoletto from Covent Garden at the Buccleuch Centre.  Mrs Tootlepedal was not up for a night out yet so I hummed and hawed about going and in the end, at the very last moment, decided that it might be worth the trouble.

I make a lot of decisions of variable quality but this was one of the very best that I have made recently.

The first scene in this production is appalling, treating the audience as if they are incapable of any imagination and showing the actors no respect at all but thereafter, the brooding setting and singing of Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto and Lucy Crowe as Gilda transformed it into an evening of wonder and emotional satisfaction for me.

And when I came out, the town was carpeted with a fresh blanket of crisp white snow.

Henry Street in snow

The flying bird of the day was a tricky proposition and the only one that I could find was hiding.

busy feeder snow

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She had got up early to watch the starlings taking off from her local nature reserve but found that a swan had got up even earlier.

swan at dawn

I got up rather later than I meant to and found that Mrs Tootlepedal was already downstairs.  As it was her birthday, I took the opportunity to give her a present.  With characteristic skill and sensitivity, I had bought exactly the right gift for her, a book of woodcuts that have illustrated the Guardian newspaper’s nature notes over the years.

It is only fair to note that my ability to hit on exactly the present that she wanted may have been assisted by her telling me both the title and the author of the book.  It is the best way.

After breakfast, I made a venison stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and then Tony and Marianne, our visitors, kindly gave me a lift up to Whitshiels so that I could start a walk from there while they tried to find an old school friend of Tony’s.

I had to keep my eyes down more than I would have liked on my walk as it was quite icy and slippery underfoot in places but I was able to stop and look about.

I saw some old friends on my way round…

British soldier lichen and tree

A few lonely British soldier lichens on a  gate and a favourite tree.

ewes view

The view up the Ewes valley, topped off by some wispy clouds

Craig windfarm view

The view up the Esk valley showing how low the sun is at this time of year, with dark shadows a permanent feature.

ice art

There was not as much opportunity for arty ice shots as I had hoped.

Ewes view

And the cloud was still sitting on the Ewes Valley hills when I had a second look later on the walk.

Whita tree

The last time that I passed these trees, it was late afternoon.  They looked more cheerful but less dramatic this morning.

Esk and Ewes panorama

The views from the lower slopes of Whita are extensive. (Click to enlarge if you like.)

hawthorn

It may not have been a good year for cycling but it has been a great year for hawthorns.

frozen gate

The gate at the top of the golf course.

frozen puddle

A shot which summarises our recent weather very neatly.  A large puddle, frozen over.

third tee golfers

Hardy golfers peering anxiously into the sun to see where a drive up the third fairway had gone.

View from 1st tee

This was the view they would have had when they started their round on the 1st tee.

Caroline Street in sunshine

And this was the view that I had as I got to the end of my walk.

It was just a short walk as we had visitors but it was most enjoyable.  Cold and sunny but not too windy and firm under foot. Ideal.

When I got home, I made some coffee and then set up the camera at the kitchen window.  Tony tried his hand at catching a flying bird or two with success.

chaffinch and greenfinch Tony

I got too ambitious with a greenfinch close-up and missed the action…

busy feeder

…but when I pulled back a bit, I saw a goldfinch literally bending over backwards to be unwelcoming.

goldffinches

I settled for the quieter shot….

blackbird

…and found a robin keeping a weather eye out.

robin

After a snack, Tony and Marianne headed back to Edinburgh, aiming to get there while the light was still good as the road conditions might be tricky in places.  It was very kind of them to come down for a double birthday celebration.

And after a light lunch and some hard song practice (both hard practice of songs and practice of hard songs, since you ask), Mrs Tootlepedal and I headed off to Carlisle to have a sing with our Carlisle Community Choir.

The practice paid off but some of the songs are slightly beyond my level of competence and much more practice will be still be needed.

On our way home, as it was a birthday, we stopped and brought some chips from the chip shop to go with the venison stew.  This was an inspired choice as they turned out to be a perfect accompaniment for an excellent stew.  (I had bought a more expensive than usual cut of venison at our producers’ market, another good choice).

Our short spell of chilly dry weather has ended for the time being and rain is pattering on the windows again as I write this in the evening.

The flying bird of the day is a reliable chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture involves an elaborate play on words.  Whereas a recent guest picture showed a links in Spain where Dropscone played golf and photographed, today’s guest picture shows a lynx in Spain which Venetia saw and photographed.

lynx

We had another dry and sunny day today, the third without rain in a row.  We are beginning to worry that something has gone wrong with the weather.

For once, a sunny and clear morning was accompanied by proper low autumn temperatures and there was a touch of frost about when we got up.  There are still a few leaves left on the plum tree where this pigeon was perching.

pigeon

It was too cold for cycling but ideal for walking so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off for her monthly coffee morning with ex work colleagues, Sandy and I had a coffee at home and then set off for the White Yett and a walk up to the monument.

It was the sort of day when you might expect a little early morning mist in the river valleys  and as we got up the hill, there was a hint of some here and there.

Hint of mist in Esk valley

But it didn’t amount to much and the sky was crystal clear as we took the track up to the monument.

Track to Monument

The sun obligingly provided the monument with a halo as we drew near.

Monument with halo

We enjoyed the sunny view over Langholm.

Langholm

A sheep was enjoying the view too.

sheep enjoying view

However, there was a bit of mist to the west and as we got near the top of Whita Hill, we could see the remains of the nuclear power station at Chapel Cross looming up through it.

Chapelcross in mist

Further to the west, Criffel could just be seen above a strip of cloud running up the Nith estuary.

Criffel

And when we got to the top of the hill, we could see the Lake District hills in the distance across a whole sea of mist covering the Solway plain.

Solway covered in mist

The camera can’t do justice to the scene at all.

To the south,  banks of mist shrouded the hills beyond the Tarras valley.

Eden valley in mist

I took a couple of pictures to try to convey the sense of a brilliant white sea lapping at the rising ground towards us.

police mast and mist

We walked past the police mast and looked down from the edge of the hill.

Mist over Canonbie

It was a splendid sight and we were very pleased to have been in the right place at the right time to see it.

Even as we stood there, the mist was beginning to lift.

Mist lifting

And turning back, it was a different day…

Monument in sun

…with Langholm below us bathed in sunshine.

Langholm from Whita

As you can imagine, we took a lot of pictures and I had a very hard time picking out a few for this post and I am fairly sure that there are quite a few others which might have been better than ones that I have used.  The trouble is that when I have too much choice, my brain goes to mush and I make bad decisions.

Still, I liked this picture of the McDiarmid Memorial as we came back down towards the car.

McDiarmid memorial

And you can’t go wrong in my view with a couple of lichen pictures to round a walk off.

lichen boulderlichen boulder

I had a look at the garden when I got home to see if any flowers had survived the cold morning.

garden flowers

It was lunchtime by this time and once again, I put the camera up at the kitchen window to see what was happening at the feeder both while I was preparing the meal and relaxing after it.

A goldfinch and a great tit sized up the possibilities…

goldfinch and great tit

…and then came down for a snack….

_DSC8225

…while once again any amount of flying chaffinches whizzed to and fro.

flying chaffinches

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to continue working on her new path and I put on a good many layers of clothes and cycled off into a eager and nipping wind.

For the first time for several months, I thought that it was worth putting my overshoes on because cold feet can be a big problem when cycling.

Still, it was delightfully sunny even if it wasn’t very warm….

Bigholms road

…and I enjoyed a thirty mile ride, particularly as the wind behaved itself and after punishing me for the first twelve miles, stayed in position and blew me home for the next eighteen.  You can see that I had made a sound route choice.

I had time to go over a few songs for our Carlisle choir before tea so I felt that I had made good use of the day.  I am only sorry that because we were shooting into the sun, I couldn’t properly convey the spirit raising joy of the brilliant white sea of mist that greeted us on our morning walk.  The scene will remain in my memory for some time.

Alison, my Friday evening orchestra, was not well so there were no sonatas today but I wasn’t entirely unhappy to have a quiet night in as the last few days seem to have been quite busy.

The flying bird of the day is one of the flotilla of chaffinches at full stretch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from the treasure trove of lovely pictures that my sister Mary took on her Lake District holiday.  This one was taken while she was having elevenses in Grange.

Having elevenses sitting outside a cafe in Grange

I have gone well over my self imposed picture limit today for which I apologise as I realise that readers are busy people with lives to lead but on this occasion I was overtaken by sunshine and couldn’t help it.

The morning was cool and breezy so I was happy to get up quite early (for me) and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before breakfast.  After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to weed the Kirk bridge with our friend Nancy.

I had a look round the garden after she had gone and spent quite a bit of time trying to get pictures of a bee on the comfrey.

bees

Although it was a rather subdued morning, some plants still managed to produce a bit of  zing.

japanese azalea and rhododendron

candelabra primula

Others were more refined.

lupin

Looking deep into a lupin.

But my favourite shot was this droplet bespangled web between two plants.

raindrops on web

I went down to watch the weeders at work and wielded a hoe myself for a while.  Then it was time to cycle home via the corner shop and make a cup of coffee for Mrs Tootlepedal who soon went off to Hawick for an Embroiderers’ Guild committee meeting.  She knows how to have fun.

After she had gone, I had another look round the garden.

New flowers are arriving and these two show that Mrs Tootlepedal likes flowers that others might keep out of their gardens as weeds.

hawkweed and foxglove

I had my lunch and settled down to some serious music practice.  I must say that trying to get everything sorted for two concerts at the end of the week is making my head hurt a bit but I am sticking in and hope to be reasonably ready when the time comes.

As a break from singing and tootling, I went back into the garden and did some therapeutic mowing, getting the drying green, the greenhouse grass and the front lawn done in one go.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back from Hawick, it was time for a cup of tea and a biscuit and as we drank and nibbled, we were very entertained by family life outside the kitchen window.

A blackbird was having a really hard time trying to feed a worm to a very large youngster.

blackbird feeding young

The youngster kept dropping the worm and after several fruitless attempts, the mother got fed up and flew off, leaving the youngster looking very disgruntled.

young blackbird

There were families of starlings about too.  Some posing prettily in the elder….

starlings

…and others making a mess of my lawn again.

starlings

I liked the sight of the youngster in the middle getting sound pecking advice from its mother.

After a grey day with occasional rain, things had now brightened up to such an extent that I was compelled to go out for a walk up a hill and as you can’t go for a walk up a hill without taking pictures, this accounts for today’s glut of photos.

Mrs Tootlepedal kindly drove along the road to Whitshiels and from there I walked three and a bit miles to the top of Whita Hill and back down to the town.  The first part of the route took me up a track and across fields with a lot to see as I went….

lichen, bugle, tormentil and an a pretty pick flower

The hillside was speckled with tormentil.

I would have stopped and taken some views at this point had it not been for the looming presence of a herd of cows…..

cows

…who looked curiously at me as I skulked round the edge of their pasture but decided that I was not worth a closer look. Phew.

I got much closer to another local resident.

sheep

Once up the track and across the fields, I joined the road and decided not to take advantage of this bench….

Copshaw road bench

…but pressed on to the White Yett and then up the track to the monument.

Monument

From the top of the hill, I phoned Mrs Tootlepedal to let her know that I had reached that point safely and although she was a mile away in the middle of the town….

Langholm

…I jumped about so vigorously that she could pick me out with the naked eye.

It was a good clear day by now and the view from the top is one of my favourites.

Ewes valley

Looking in the other direction, the view down to the Solway is now interrupted by the new windmills at Gretna.

Gretna Windmills

They were earning their keep in the brisk breeze today.

I had my walking poles with me and they were certainly very helpful in pushing me up the hill but they were even more helpful in stopping me falling down the hill. The track down the front of the hill is quite steep in places.

By the time that I had got down  to the golf course, I was back in hawthorn country…

hawthorns

hawthorns

…and they lined the track back to the town.

Kirk Wynd

A little patch of rhododendrons near the second green on the golf course provided a colourful contrast to the hawthorns.

Golf course rhododendrons

I took a picture of the weed free Kirk Bridge as I passed….

Kirk Bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal and Nancy had done good work this morning.

…and arrived home feeling less tired and a lot more cheerful than I had been when i set out.

I did think about going out again after tea because the evening was so lovely….

Walnut tree

The walnut tree in the garden catching the evening sun

…but the call of music and photo editing kept me at home.

The forecast for tomorrow is for a fine, calm day.  I hope that it is right because it is the last day of the month and I would like to add a few miles to my monthly total for May.

 

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Today’s guest picture come from Mike Tinker.  Knowing my fondness for taking photos of pheasants, he sent me this picture to remind me of how they start out.

pheasant chicks

The planning for the day revolved around someone being at home to greet the gas man when he arrived to give our boiler its annual service.  Since we had been given a six hour window, this entailed quite a lot of hanging around, complicated by Mrs Tootlepedal spending two hours volunteering at the Buccleuch Centre and my anxiety to put a fine day to good use by cycling.

It was sunny but far too cold to cycle after breakfast so I was happy that I had arranged a dentist’s appointment followed by scone sampling with Dropscone over coffee. It had warmed up enough after coffee for Dropscone to go off to play golf while I walked round the garden…

azalea and tree peony

Things are busting out all over.

Elder lichen and moss

A garden in itself on an elder branch.

…and watched the birds.

We started in a yellowish sort of way with  siskins and a goldfinch…

siskin and goldfinch

…and then things got greener when a greenfinch arrived on the scene.

siskins and greenfinch

Greenfinches always look rather imperious even when they are sitting quietly in the plum tree.

greenfinches

Their motto might well be: Wha daur meddle wi’ me

A pair of blackbirds were busy feeding on the ground below the feeders.

blackbirds

They struck some good poses.

There was also a pair of robins and as they weren’t chasing each off the premises, they may be a couple which would be good.  I could only catch one of them at a time though.

robin

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre and I sat beside the phone in case the gasman called.  Some of the sitting was more metaphorical than actual as I made some dough for rolls in the breadmaker, hung out the washing and ate some soup and cheese for my lunch as well.

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned, I was already changed into my cycling gear and after a quick scout round the garden….

crocus and rhubarb

Progress

…I was soon cycling up the Wauchope road in chilly but windless conditions.  The sun was out and how ever much I may have been charmed by the bridges of Manchester, the views of Wauchopedale trumped them by far.

wauchopedale

This picture should enlarge a bit if you click on it.

I cycled to the top of Callister but didn’t want to get too far from home while the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service was waiting for the gasman so I turned, appropriately enough, at an entrance to one of the valves on the main natural gas pipeline into our town…

gas valve puddle

…which pretty accurately reflected our recent changeable weather.

Having climbed Callister to get to my turning point, I now had the pleasure of the gravity assisted return journey….

Callister

…back down the hill.

I stopped to admire the lichen on a concrete fence post beside the road a little further on.  It was glowing in the sunshine.

concrete lichen

I had done 15 miles by the time that I got back to Langholm and seeing that the gasman had arrived and was at work, I nipped back up the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse to add another six miles to my total.

I stopped on the way back to add to my collection of winter trees….

tree

…though at not much more than three metres in height, this one may be regarded as more of a bush than a tree perhaps.

On the other side of the road, the afternoon sun provided a very mellow gate scene for me.

Wauchope road gate

There was still enough light when I got home for Mrs Tootlepedal to point out first a robin and then a dunnock, both perching on a bush outside the kitchen window.

robin and dunnock

Although they were only a small distance apart on the same bush at the same time, the double portrait above shows them in typically contrasting style.  The robin likes to survey the world from on high while the dunnock likes to peer at it cautiously from a bit of cover.

I was just shaping the bread roll dough into rolls when Mike Tinker dropped by to see how we had done in the singing competition.  He stopped for a cup of tea while I went off for a relaxing soak in the bathtub.

As I looked out of my bedroom window, I could see some lovely evening light on Whita so I opened the Velux window and took a picture of the hill and the monument over the roofs of Henry Street.  Quite by accident, I included the window as well and rather liked the result.

reflections of henry street and whita

Since it was Shrove Tuesday, Mrs Tootlepedal made some delicious pancakes for our tea and when the rolls had risen and been baked,  the day came to a very satisfactory end.

The morning scones with the conversation and coffee had all been interesting, the washing had dried in the sun, the rolls had come out round and brown, the pancakes had been flat and tasty and the cycling had been most enjoyable and on top of all that, the gas boiler had survived for another year in fine condition.  All is good.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows the Royal Yacht Britannia.  It is parked in Leith as a visitor attraction and lies just outside the window of the soft play area attended by Matilda and her father.

Royal Yacht Britannia

We woke to what is traditionally described as a winter wonderland today.  In fact it wasn’t particularly wonderful as the snow was rather wet and slushy and it had all the makings of an inconvenience rather than a photographer’s delight.

Still, it did bring more than the usual amount of traffic to the feeder…

busy feeder

…including several siskins.

The heavy traffic led to some road rage incidents.

squabbling chaffinches

Sometimes the rude shouting…..

squabbling chaffinches

…provoked a rude response.

squabbling chaffinches

A little more light would have helped but the morning stayed rather grey and I had to wait until after lunch to take these action shots.

There were some peaceful moments…

flying chaffinch in snow

…where the snowy background helped me out.

There had been occasional snow showers in the morning but I got fed up and went out for a walk in the afternoon, hoping not to get too wet.  In the event, it turned out that I had chosen a good time and the clouds lifted off the hills soon after I started and the higher that I climbed up Meikleholm Hill, the bluer the sky became.

On my way up to the open hill, I passed a rather resigned looking horse…

horse

…but it wasn’t long before I could take a bare tree against a much more cheerful background.

tree in snow

The snow on the hill was more substantial than the snow in the town, the extra few hundred feet of altitude being enough to lower the temperature that necessary fraction…

Meikleholm in snow

…and I had the childish pleasure of feeling like an explorer as mine were the only footprints on the virgin snow as I climbed up the hill.

The wind was very nippy and I was really pleased when I finally found myself walking in sunshine.  The views were good too.

Meikleholm hill in snow

I got to the top of Meikleholm Hill and decided against pushing my luck and going on up Timpen.  I stopped at the gate and looked at the clouds behind the hill.  They looked restless…..

Gate on Meikleholm hill

…so I enjoyed the fence that marked the route up to the summit…

fence on Timpen

…but left it to itself and turned back down the hill.

It was pure happiness to be out on such a day in such a place.

Across the valley, Whita and the monument stood out against the grey sky behind.

Whita in snow

I had another look up the Esk valley to my left where the light was quite different…

Esk valley

The Esk valley north of the town: a click may give you a bigger picture

…and then looked back over the town.  The light really was very blue in that direction.

Whita Hill and Langholm in snow

You can see that every hill seemed to have a cloud behind it so it was obvious that it was one of those rare days when I was in absolutely in  the right place at the right time.

I came off the hill through a gate, which I naturally stopped to record…

Meikleholm gate

…and was soon out of the thick snow.  Looking back up the track to the hill, it was hard to believe that I had just come out of an all white landscape.

Track to meikleholm hill

Hoping to round off a good walk with a riverside bird or two, I walked down through the Galaside wood and came home over the sawmill brig, along the Kilngreen….

Kilngreen

Just a sprinkling of snow here

…complete with duck…

duck

…and then walked beside the Esk in the hope of seeing a dipper.  I spotted a dark shape on a rock ahead of me….

dipper in esk

…and scooted along in the hope of getting on its sunny side before it flew off.

dipper

Just made it.

My arrival home and the covering of the sun by the clouds coincided so I was more than pleased to have found such a good moment for a stroll.

Nevertheless, the three miles covered, much of it in quite strenuous underfoot conditions, made me equally pleased to be able to take the weight off my feet and enjoy a cup of tea and a jam butty.

I should have gone to Carlisle with Susan to play recorders in the evening but by mutual consent we decided that driving around on a snowy day in freezing temperatures and in the dark was probably not the most attractive proposition even with a tootle on offer and we cried off.

The forecast is for freezing temperatures and good sunshine tomorrow so be warned, there may be more snowy scenes to come.

Meantime, there is not leaf of the day but there is a flying chaffinch just catching a gust of wind.

flying chaffinch

 

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