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Posts Tagged ‘Whita Hill’

Today’s guest picture comes from cyclist and Lake District lover Paul. He sent me this picture to show that the sun doesn’t always shine on Buttermere.

The sun certainly shone here in Langholm today, and once again watering was needed in the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal spotted strange goings on on one of the paths off the middle lawn. Liverworts were up to something.

A bit of research told me that these umbrellas are female flowers of the liverwort. They are very tiny and credit goes to Mrs Tootlepedal for spotting them.

I just had time to check that the decking oil on the new bench had dried out over night…

…before it was time to join the street coffee morning. We had a busy time as we were joined by various passers by (at a safe distance) as we sipped and chatted.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal went in to do some business on the computer and I had a traditional garden wander.

The usual suspects were enjoying the sunshine….

…and a variegated hosta caught my eye.

The state of the rhododendrons depends on whether they were flowering before the frost came. The pink one has one flower in action for every two or three killed by the frost…

…while the later deep red one, is pretty well untouched.

The less said about the poor azaleas, plums and apples the better. And the walnut tree suffered badly with all the early leaves blackened. We are keeping our fingers crossed that enough late leaves arrive to keep it healthy. (Late news: Mrs Tootlepedal came in this evening saying that she might have seen one surviving plum.)

I was so tired by my wandering in the hot sun, that I sat on the newly oiled bench and admired the view of our shady front door for a while.

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted sunflowers on each side of the path. I look forward to photographing them in due course.

I went out to look at the poorly fuchsia against the back wall of the house but my eye was irresistibly drawn to those shocking poppies again.

Our neighbour Charlotte, who was nearby while tending the flowers with which she decorates a bicycle attached to our new bridge, suggested a that a shot of the centre of the flower would be good thing. I am always anxious to please.

After lunch, bacon, tomato and lettuce rolls again, we dealt with the fading fuchsia on the back wall, and nine tenths or more of the bush got the chop, leaving a few promising green shoots to carry on.

In spite of the hot sunshine, Mrs Tootlepedal was happy to go for a walk and we thought that a stroll up the road to the moor might be a good way to spend the afternoon. The thermometer by the house said that it was 66°F in the shade so we dressed appropriately, donned a hat and cap respectively, put a small bottle of water in my bag and set out hoping that we hadn’t bitten off more than we could chew.

We were happy to spot an oyster catcher with its child on a rock in the river…

…surrounded by oddly green water. The river is very low still.

We walked along the Lamb Hill until we came to the Newcastleton road and then headed uphill at a very steady rate, cheered by a gentle cooling breeze as we got higher up the hill.

We passed a group of men erecting large scaffolding structures at each side of the road where the power lines cross it. By the time that we passed them again on our way back down, they had finished the structures and pulled a safety net across the road.

I hope that I am in the right place at the right time when they come to renew the actual power lines themselves.

We took advantage of two handily placed benches beside the road to have sensible rests as we climbed the hill. I liked this view of sinuous walls from the first one.

Although it was a sunny day, it was also a bit hazy and the light wasn’t at all good for taking landscape pictures, being very flat indeed, so although there were good views from the second bench, I didn’t take pictures of my favourite subject, the Ewes Valley.

When we got to the White Yett, we went on a few yards over the summit so that we could look down into the Little Tarras Valley in the hope of seeing interesting birds.

Our hopes were dashed and all we saw was bog cotton waving in the gentle breeze.

At my suggestion, we followed one of the Langholm Walks routes for a few hundred yards up the line of a wall to the north of the road…

…making for a minor summit in the hope of good views along the ridge. We got an interesting and unusual view of the track from the White Yett up to the monument when we looked back…

…but the minor summit proved to be very minor and the only view we got was of the next minor summit just along the ridge.

Mrs Tootlepedal sat for a moment on a convenient tussock with her binoculars in hand in the hope of seeing interesting birds….

…while I looked in the other direction to see if there was a landscape to be seen in the haze.

There wasn’t a landscape but there was an interesting bird, probably a short eared owl, hunting over the rough ground. Sadly the light was too poor to let my camera get a good focus on the bird against a dull background, however hard I tried…

…but we got a fine flying display for a while before the bird disappeared over the edge of the hill and we started for home.

I did see a more static bird on the way down but it was hiding behind some long grass.

The light breeze kept blowing and the haze thickened as we went back down the hill with the result that it wasn’t nearly as hot as we had feared. All the same, a five mile walk with a bit of climbing on a warm day is still quite hard work so we were more than ready for a cup of tea when we got home.

The most surprising and beautiful thing that we encountered on the walk was this bank of wild flowers beside the path from the Lamb Hill down to the Drove Road.

The yellow and orange colours were provided by Welsh Poppies. The orange ones were very striking…

…and Mrs Tootlepedal pocketed a few seed heads as we went past.

The day seemed to have been too hot for the garden birds and the level of seed in the feeder had hardly gone down at all by the time that we got home but a rook did its best to lower the level later in the evening.

According to the forecast, we are going to have a week more of warm, dry and sunny weather so I watered the front lawn while I was preparing the evening meal. It looks as though this will be a regular task, very unusual for May.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Footnote: While I have been writing this post, the lighting wizards have been lighting up the monument on the top of Whita Hill again. This is their version of clapping for the NHS. They are having fun.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  Meeting a stranger while out on a recent walk, he engaged him in polite but socially distanced conversation but found him rather uncommunicative.

bruce's friend

I had a disturbing morning.  We had arranged a visit from our bench supplier to discuss a modification to the new bench and he arrived at nine in the morning.  This seriously upset my normal routine of letting breakfast, the newspapers and the crossword run almost seamlessly into getting dressed just before coffee time.  As a result of being dressed and shaved so promptly, I had two hours of wandering around wondering what I was supposed to do before we even got to coffee.

I did go out and look at flowers.   They were not hard to see.

six flowers

It was another decidedly chilly morning with a brisk wind so although we had our customary socially distanced street coffee morning with ginger biscuits, it didn’t last as long as usual, even in the sunshine.

Someone remarked that our tulips are nearing the end of the road, but they are not going out without a final show.

four old poppies

The droplets on the petals are not rain but more of the endless watering that we are doing every day.

New flowers are coming to replace the tulips so we won’t be wanting for colour.

iris, cornflower, geranium, polemonium

My favourite flower of the moment is the aquilegia.

aquilegia close up

There was plenty of bird action today with the feeder appealing to goldfinches and siskins…

siskins and goldfinches

…and an assortment of other birds posing round the garden.

blackbird, jackdaw, thrush and pigeon

The birds that were making the most noise were baby sparrows clamouring for attention from their parents.

sparrows feeding babies

A young blackbird was less successful.

_20S9629

After lunch, I went for a cycle ride.  This was a surprise to me, as the brisk chilly wind in the morning had been enough to make me think of having a day off.  It had warmed up under the sun though, and the wind had eased off quite a bit by the afternoon with the result that taking a spin up the main road north of the town felt like the right thing to do.

This was a good decision, with the Ewes valley looking at its best…

ewes valley view

…and Ewes Kirk, pretty as a picture when framed by green leaves.

ewes church

I was cycling into the wind so i wasn’t unhappy to pause to enjoy the view…

view from A7

…and I think that you may well agree that there might be worse roads to be cycling up.

A7 near Unthank

There was a bit more traffic than there has been lately but it was still pretty peaceful.

I cycled 15 miles north into the wind, and this brought me to the bottom of the hill that has this strange conical monument to the local poet and minister Henry Scott Riddell on it.

ridell monument

The people who spoil views with power lines have done superb work here!  And yes, that is a gull perching on the very top of the monument.

The return journey, with the wind behind, was glorious.

At one stage I was bicycling up a gentle hill though wooded country at exactly the same speed as the wind was blowing.  There was no a whisper of wind in my ears. The road surface was newly laid and silky smooth.  My bike has a superior hub gear and a belt drive so it has none of that loud clanking that goes with a chain and derailleur gear.  There was no traffic.

The upshot of these happy coincidences was that for a good few hundred yards, I was pedalling along in complete silence, in a world of my own, entirely at peace.

And then there was the rush down hill for the last ten miles of the trip, accomplished in just over half an hour.  What fun for an old man.

After a slightly unsatisfactory Zoom meeting bedevilled by technological mysteries and a very satisfying meal of scrambled eggs, baked beans and fried potatoes, the second shock to my well drilled lockdown life occurred.

The powers that be have decreed that we may now go out more than once a day for exercise, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the White Yett car park and walked up to the monument.

track to monument

We had coats and gloves with us but while the sun was out, it was warm enough to keep the gloves in our pockets.

Mrs Tootlepedal scanned the moorland for signs of harriers and thought that she could see a couple of them flying in the distance below us…

view of tarras from whita

…but we were totally unprepared to see a bird of prey sitting on a fence not far in front of us.

Although it sat and let us watch it for some time, it was too far away for a definite identification, but looking at the picture when we got home, we think that it was a short eared owl rather than a hen harrier.

short eared owl

When we got to the monument, the view over the town was a reward for the climb…

langholm late evening from whita

…but Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t come up here to see local views.  Her ambition was to take advantage of the currently unpolluted skies to see if she could see the Isle of Man, eighty miles away.

Quite amazingly, she could.  It wasn’t the clearest sighting but with her binoculars, the island could be seen.  She gave me a go, and I could see it too.

My camera was quite a bit less sucessful!!

iom

It’s out there somewhere.

It had better luck looking at the Lake District hills which are a lot closer than the Isle of Man.

lake district

The sun had gone behind clouds by the time that we walked back down the hill and it had got quite chilly.  A sheep suggested that we shouldn’t hang about.

sheep on whita

The shades of night were falling fast as we got back to the car.

evening view from white yett

Thanks to the wonders of technology, we are in constant communication with our families so we will be quite happy to remain very vigilant and homebound for the foreseeable future whatever the government may say.  The second daily outing for exercise will be welcome though.

The flying bird of the day is a lark which we saw on our way down the hill this evening.

lark in sky

You don’t believe me?  Here it is.

lark close up

You can spot it in the middle of the big picture just below the line of blue sky if you look very, very carefully!

In the end, it was not the early rise or the second walk that was the biggest surprise of the day.  It was putting that failed picture of the view towards the Isle of Man into the photo editor and finding out what the camera had really seen.

iom contrast

Now that was a surprise.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  On one of his permitted walks, he found a friend.

deniis rabbit

As far as light for taking photographs went, it was a day of two halves with some good sunshine to start off.  This brought the best out of the tulips…

tulips and azaleas

…and got us quite excited about the coming of the age of azaleas.

In a break with tradition, the street coffee morning never got going as our neighbour Liz was out on a longer walk than she had intended and Mrs Tootlepedal was on a conference call regarding the proposed moorland buy out.  (There will be no living with her now that she has been on a conference call.)   I chatted with Margaret, the other participant for a while, and then we gave up.

As well as colour in the garden there are promising green shoots too.  The hostas are coming, the ferns are chatting and the alliums are getting ready to burst out.

three green garden things

I sieved some more compost.  I am reaping the benefit of trying to cut things up well before putting them in Bin A last year and doing my best to layer green and brown materials.  The present material in Bin C and D is the easiest to sieve that I have ever achieved.  (The dry spell helps too.)

I then scarified the front lawn and managed to take some pictures to record the results.

A run over the lawn with the electric scarifier left a lot of loose moss on the surface.  I raked it up into two heaps of a good size and Mrs Tootle[pedal took the moss away and made use of of it….

scarifying the front lawn

…leaving the lawn still looking rough.  I ran over it with the mower and collected another wheelbarrow load of moss which went in a bin.  The process left the lawn looking like this.

scarified lawn

(I mowed round in ever decreasing squares until I met myself coming back in the middle.)

There is still plenty of moss left in the lawn….to say the least.

I had time to appreciate the apple blossom…

apple blossom

…before going in for lunch and a chance to watch the birds at the feeder.

A rook was a surprise.

rook on bird feeder

…and two argumentative goldfinches were a delight.

super goldfinch

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal persuaded me to accompany her on a circular walk round Whita Hill.

This is Walk 10 of the Langholm Walks Project and the website says: It is on road and good tracks. Boots not needed in dry weather.  It adds: A long circular walk round Whita Hill. It is pleasant walking with a good variety of environments as you go round. At the far corner of the walk there is a real feeling of remoteness.

This is all true.

The only potential fly in the ointment was the appearance of some dark clouds in sky as we set off.

blossom and clouds esk

They held off as we walked up the track to Broomholmshiels and as I have walked this way a couple of time recently and put a lot of pictures in posts, I held off taking any pictures on this part of the walk….

…except this one.  The light was right.

yellow nettle

…oh, and this one too.

juniper

When we got to Broomholmshiels the clouds were covering more and more of the sky…

clouds over whita

…and by the time that we got to the bird hide, a few hundred yards up the road, the sun had gone for the day and it turned rather gloomy.

The larch trees at the bird hide have been felled and the hide looks rather lonely now with a forestry track where the glade used to be.

bird hide trees felled

However, the road down to the Tarras Water from the hide looks as inviting as ever and we continued our walk.

road from bird hide

We walked through a delightful wood on our way to the bridge over the river and having crossed over, we passed a small forest of horsetail and a boulder well covered with lichen…

birch horsetail lichen

…on our way up to Cronksbank.

As we went up the hill, we looked left over the Tarras Water to Rashiel and Whita…

view of rashiel and whita

…and straight ahead up the Little Tarras Water Valley…

little tarras valley from bottom

…before coming to the well sheltered farmhouse at Cronksbank itself.

cronksbank

We followed the track to Peterburn where we had a choice between crossing the Tarras Water again by a bridge or using the ford.

We chose the bridge…

perterburn bridge

…which was just as well, as the ford would have entailed us getting very wet shoes or taking  our shoes and socks off and paddling.  The water has not warmed up yet!

perterburn ford

Once across the water, we got to that remote corner of the walk….

view of the moor from middlemoss road

…and had to walk up this steady hill track to get to the road back to Langholm.

 

road from Middlemoss

We had an excuse to stop for a breather when we met the local farmer on his quad bike on his way to check on the lambs.  He was in a very cheerful mood as the recent spell of good weather has been perfect for his lambing season.

We were able to look back down the Little Tarras Water Valley towards Cronksbank as we walked along the road to the White Yett …

little tarras valley from top

…but the light was very poor by now and I couldn’t do the landscape justice.  Mrs Tootlepedal was hoping to see hen harriers in the sky on this section of our walk but although we saw several grouse and two curlews, we didn’t see any harriers.

We walked back down the hill enjoying trees, lambs and tiny bridges…

trees lambs and mini birdge

…and then turned across the hill to get to the top of the golf course and the Kirk Wynd.

A burst of white blossom among the gorse just before the gate was a pleasant surprise..

gorse and blossom

…but the Wynd itself has been so savagely cleared of growth of all sorts, that it is rather dull to walk down.

The steep slopes back into the town slowed us down as we find going down more troublesome than going up these days, but we finally made it to the suspension bridge where we were greeted by the welcome sight of swallows, both perching on the electric wires…swallows

..and flashing to and fro under the bridge as we crossed it.  I will have to come back with my bird camera to try to get a picture of them in better light.

This was a nine mile walk with a fair bit of up and down in it, the furthest we have walked for many years, so we were more than pleased to sit down to a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit or two when we got in.  We had a feeling of a job well done.

Between us, we had enough strength left to cook and eat an evening meal but we may well be a bit creaky tomorrow.  As it is due to rain at last, this may not matter too much.

The flying birds of the day are two goldfinches going this way and that.

two flying goldfinches

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s permitted walk today.   He was pleased to see such cheerful blossom.

blossom andrew

We had cheerful flowers in the garden here today.  They were pleased to see the sunshine on another rather chilly day with an east wind sweeping down from the far north.

two tulips

I went out to view them after my standard start for the day (another good crossword helped pass the time)

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed a coffee and some of my ginger biscuits in physically distanced but socially integrated conversation with our neighbours, while I did some daffodil dead heading in the garden.

Later on, I clipped and sawed the remains  of the pruned lilac and added the logs to our tidy log store.  I didn’t go so far as to wash the bricks again today (though they needed it) but contented myself with a gentle brush.

And of course, I kept an eye open for birds…

dunnock blackbird goldfinch

…and bees.

red tailed bee

The daffodils are fading but the trout lilies are taking their place with some verve.

daffodil and trout lily

The star of the garden today for me was this freshly flowering Amalanchier.

Amalanchier

Seeing the ducks in the dam behind the house, I put a little bird seed into the flow and this attracted their attention.

female mallard dam

Mrs Tootlepedal made some tasty green lentil soup for lunch with chicken stock from the recent roast chicken.  There is no doubt that real stock is an improvement on commercial stock pots but we can’t eat chicken all the time just to make stock.

After lunch, I idled round the garden a bit and then went for a walk.

In spite of the nippy wind, it was a good day for a walk and as I wanted to get in a view or two, I resolved to walk  up to the monument on top of Whita Hill.

My route took me onto the golf course where I found an old friend.

oyster catcher on golf course

It wasn’t a brilliantly blue sky day but the light was interesting…

view of ewes valley from golf course

…and although there were plenty of clouds about, I seemed to walk under the sun the whole time.

two trees from golf course

I got on to the open hill at the top of the golf course and took the track up the Birnie Braes which is followed by the horses on Common Riding day.

It was very dry and peaceful today.

birnie braes path

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that is it described as a road 20 feet wide in old documents  but the road has has fallen into disuse and the current path goes to one side of it.

I took this route as it offers a gentler gradient as it goes diagonally across the contours rather than the direct path which goes straight up to the summit.  When it gets to the shoulder of the hill, it joins the vehicle track from the road to the monument and a handy seat has been placed there.

The seat is modest…

seat on whita track

…but the views for a person who sits on it are magnificent.

views from seat on whita track

Looking down to my left, I could see a glimpse of the road up the Wauchope valley which i had followed on my walk on Tuesday.

view of wauchope valley from whita

I arrived at the top of the hill (355m) and paused to enjoy the view…

view from monument

…and inspect the monument, which has some fine algae at the bottom but is pretty clean further up.

monument views

The keen wind made sure that I didn’t hang around too long and I was soon on my way down again, going towards the road and enjoying the contrast between pastoral land on the left of the wall ahead of me and old grouse moor on the right.

view of grouse and sheep moor

I didn’t take the vehicle track back down but followed a charming path through the heather, used by mountain cyclists.

path down whita

There are plenty of cairns to be seen all over the hill and I have put three of them here and a look at one page of the MacDiarmid memorial too.

three cairns and a memorial

When I had passed the MacDiarmid memorial, I followed the road down to the bottom of the hill, passing this unusual tree…

tree copshaw road

…and a delightfully sinuous wall…

sinuous wall copshaw road

…on the way.

On approaching the  town, instead of taking the direct route home, I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed across the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge in the hope of seeing interesting birds.  I heard a lot of tweets but didn’t see any birds, interesting or otherwise.

However, I was rewarded by this refreshing sight so I wasn’t complaining.

Castleholm trees

My walk ended up at just under five miles and was very satisfying, a joy to the eye, a tonic for the spirit and some healthy exercise too.  Who could ask for anything more?

The mince and tatties made a welcome second appearance for our tea and as I went out and pulled some rhubarb, stewed it and made some custard, we ate like kings and queens to round off as good a lockdown day as we could wish for.

The flying bird of the day is a passing gull.

flying gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  It shows a view of her garden from an upstairs room.  She tells me that her grass is left long to encourage wildlife and it has been sown with wildflowers which she hopes will appear later in the year.

venetia's garden

After yesterday’s glorious warm weather, it rained overnight and today was colder and even windier at times than yesterday.  But it didn’t rain.

This didn’t discourage the tadpoles who are now into independent swimming.

tadpoles on lily leaf

The tulips weren’t very keen on opening wide though, but they still added interest to the garden along with a very pale fritillary…

six garden flowers

…while pulmonaria, lamium and berberis added more discreet colour.

We had a leisurely morning with a little sporadic gardening and time to watch birds, sometimes through the window, sometimes in the garden…

chaffinch, blackbird, sparrows, bee

…and sometimes while sitting in the warmth of the greenhouse like these two sparrows on the fence. Mrs Tootlepedal spotted the bee on the rosemary while we were in there too.

After some lawn edging, time wasting, music making, cooking, laughing at a poem which my friend the cello playing Mike had sent me and looking at promising tulips…

new tulip

…I went out for a late afternoon permitted walk.

The river is exceedingly low after weeks with little or no rain….

esk very low april

…but no one is currently wishing for more rain after February’s exceptional rainfall.  Or at least, not out loud.

I walked through the town and then up the Kirk Wynd and onto the golf course.  It is a good golf course because if you are playing badly, which I almost always was, there is a selection of fine views to take your mind off your foozled shots.

view f Potholm Hill ridge

The greens are getting some green back onto them after the greenkeeper’s dramatic treatment, and as there are no golfers on it, the course is looking very well maintained.

golf course green

I enjoyed a final view from the course…

view up ewes from golf course

…and walked out onto the open hill, passing gorse, lichen and fresh hawthorn leaves on my way.

lichen gorse hawthorn

From Whita Well, I followed the track along the contour of the hill.  It was a lovely day, although I couldn’t see the Lake District hills as the Solway plain was covered in mist.

track toi quarry

The lovely day got a little less lovely as I went along the track because the sunshine retreated up the valley….sunshine up the valley

…thanks to this annoying cloud which hovered straight above me, leaving sunshine to both the north and the south.

clouds over whits

Dropscone had been this way on a walk lately, and he told me that he would have sent me an arty picture of a pylon if only he had remembered to take his camera with him.

So this is for him.

whita pylon square

And this one too, as I didn’t know which angle he would have chosen.

whita pylonn diagonal

Looking  south from the pylon, I could only just make out the windfarm at Gretna which shows how hazy it was down there.

gretna windfarm from whita

That dark cloud over my head was soon blown away though, and I walked back down the hill  in glorious sunshine again as i went through a little birch wood that has grown up in recent years…

birch wood on Whita

..and the sun lit up the floor of the wood as I joined the main track back to the Round House and Langholm.

jenyy noble's wood

I turned down the opportunity of a sit down on the bench at the Round House…

roundhouse bench

…and walked down the track that goes through the little oak wood…

oaks below round house

…past this fine tree…

oak tree longwood

…and ontothe old railway line.  I got to the path that leads steeply down to the road at Skippers Bridge…

steps down walk 7

…and the bridge drew me into yet another photograph.

skippers bridge april

At this stage, I realised that I was going to be late for tea if I didn’t get a move on so I got a move on.

The tea arrived on the table just as I arrived home.

At about three and a half miles, it was another walk which packed a lot of variety into a short outing.

During the afternoon, I had prepared the dough for a set of lockdown teacakes. The supply of ginger biscuits has run out and we need something to cheer us up in these troubled times.

They went in the oven after our evening meal and came out looking like this.

lockdown tea cakes

We test drove one or two and they seemed pretty cheerful to us.

The flying bird of the day is a starling, whisking across the garden in the strong wind this afternoon. (Too fast for my camera.)

flying starling

 

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Today’s guest post is another from Joyce’s Bermuda collection.  As well as glorious beaches she visited the zoo at Flatt Island where she found this lovely lemur.

ring tailedlemur flatts village aquarium

When we woke up, we were very pleased to find the Norwegian weather forecast had been reliable and we had a second sunny day in succession.  What was even more satisfactory was that there was no sign of the strong winds with which we had been threatened so it was as good a day as one could reasonably expect in early February.

We had to wait in for the gas man to come and service our boiler so I had time to admire the smash and grab technique of the robin…

smash and grab robin

…and cycle to the corner shop, passing an oyster catcher on the way.

oyster catcher on gravel

When I got home again, there were starlings on every side.

There was one on top of Irving’s holly tree and one  on top of the walnut tree …

starling on walnut and holly

…and when I went round the back of the house to investigate loud twittering, I found many more starlings in a bush at the back of Henry Street. (There were noisy sparrows in there too.)

starlings back henry street

While the gas boiler inspection was going on, I walked round the garden.

The crocuses had opened to greet the sunshine…

first open crocus

…and there were signs of life all over the place.

wallflower, euphorbia, crocus, magnolia

In defence of the often criticised service industries, I have to report that the gas engineer came on time, did the job cheerfully and quickly, and went on his way with a smile.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning at the computer on the proposed community land purchase business and she had more to do after lunch.  While she slaved away, I took the opportunity to test my cycling head to see if there was any dizziness still in it.

I got the slow bike out because it has wide handlebars for a steadier grip and it doesn’t have toe clips on the pedals so if I needed to stop quickly, I could put my foot down immediately.  I cycled at a very sensible pace so that I wouldn’t put pressure on my breathing. As a result, I enjoyed the outing.

It was still a lovely day…

field near Bloch

…and I stopped after three miles for a little rest and a chance to view a favourite cascade on the Wauchope Water.

I took a bird’s eye view from above…

Wauchope Schoolhouse cascade from above

…and a trout’s eye view from below.

Wauchope Schoolhouse cascade from below

I turned up the Cleuchfoot road and followed the Logan Water for a mile.

Logan Water

I looked politely at the lichen on the wall when I parked my bike for that photo.

wall lichen

In the end, I managed ten miles in just over an hour and got home without having to stop for a dizzy spell.  This was most satisfactory and if the weather stays friendly, I will try to go a little further tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her work by the time that I got back, and she kindly agreed to forgo a gardening opportunity and come for a walk with me instead.

We went along the Lamb Hill….

Lamb Hill tree

…and on to the road to Newcastleton.

There is a gap in the trees there which gives a fine view up the Ewes valley.  I like the way that the hills meet each other on the diagonal just as a child might draw hills in a colouring book..

view from Copshaw road

We walked up the road and then took the path across the lower slopes of Whita which leads to Whita Well.   We couldn’t see much ahead of us as we were walking straight into the sun but when we stopped and looked back, we were well rewarded for our little climb.

ewes valley from Whita

After a soggy start, the path across the hill became very acceptable.

grass path on Whita

Above us, we could see the monument pointing out where to look to find the moon.

monument and point

When we got to Whita Well, we came to the bench which kind people have put there for the convenience of elderly walkers who are in need of a sit down.

We sat down.

bench at whita well

We were well sheltered from the light breeze, and it was a great treat after so many damp and gloomy days to sit in the sun and take in the rays.

As we walked back down to the town, we passed a good show of gorse, though it wasn’t warm enough to generate the coconut scent that gorse has in summer.

gorse at whita well

We also passed this sign at the top of the golf course.

helicopter warning sign

It was laid flat on the ground though as the helicopter wasn’t flying today.

We got home after two and a half miles of quite hard work and were very happy to have a sit down, a cup of tea, and several slices of fruity malt loaf which doubtless more than made up for any calories we might have expended while going up the hill.

Although the atmospheric pressure is due to stay high tomorrow, we might find ourselves in some misty conditions and the temperature might be low enough for a morning frost.  Looking at the BBC weather forecast for the temperature in the afternoon, I find it is two degrees better than the Norwegian offering, so I will opt for the BBC this time.

The slow cooked lamb stew made a third and final appearance for tea, this time in the guise of a light curry with rice.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

A literal footnote:  Sandy has sent me a message to say that his operation has gone well.  Thank you for the kind wishes that you expressed.

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Today’s guest picture is another of Paul’s Lake District delights.  Knowing that I like bridges, he sent me this one of a the bridge at Rosthwaite in Borrowdale.

Rosthwaite in Borrowdale used

We had a chilly day here, but as it was above freezing and dry, we weren’t complaining.  I thought that it was too cold for cycling though and I spent an idle morning indoors.  I didn’t shift myself until Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her annual embroiderers’ lunch.

I had a couple of slices of bread and marmalade for my own lunch and set out for a walk.  There was a brisk wind blowing when I got out of the shelter of the town that made my decision to avoid cycling feel sensible.

I am trying to get a bit fitter as far as walking goes so I set off down the track beside the river at a good speed and didn’t stop for a mile.

I wasn’t going to stop when I got to Skippers Bridge but a glance over the parapet revealed an old friend standing beside the river, possibly looking at the same turbulent little cascade that I like.

heron at skipeprs

I crossed the bridge and walked along the road on the other side of the river, still heading downstream, until I left the river and walked up the hill towards the bird hide.

As always, walls and fence posts were rich with things to look at.

moss and lichen

This wall in particular is a favourite of mine as it is covered in moss and lichen…

mossy wall

…and ferns.  The ferns were covered in sporangia.

ferns on wall

I didn’t go as far up the road as the bird hide, but turned off at Broomholmshiels to head back home.

A bare tree caught my eye, and on this occasion, I didn’t mind the power lines behind it as they would be a help to me later on.

tree and power lines

Two sheep checked on my progress.

two blackfaced sheep

Normally, if I walk back to the town from Broomholmshiels, I  take a track that runs though oak and birch woods to the Round House, but there has been a lot of recent maintenance work on the pylons in our area and a new road has been built to give access to one of them.

You can see the woods for my usual route on the left in this picture.  I followed the new road up the hill to the right.new pylon track

On the open hill, the wind was very nippy and I looked around for a hint of sunshine.  it was brighter over there behind the trees….

bare trees broomholm track

…and there was a definite spot of sunshine straight ahead…

patch of sun

…but it remained grey where I was walking.  The new road soon ran out, and I followed the line of pylons on a well trodden walking path through the bracken.

path to pylon

It was refreshing to mind and soul to be out on the hill with good views and good conditions underfoot.  I was particularly pleased not to be over there….

stormy weather

…where they might have had sun but it looked as though there was a heavy rain shower too.

I lost track of the path for a while and found myself ploughing through heather and bracken for a few hundred yards.  This was hard going so I was happy when the town came into sight and gave me an excuse to stop and take a picture.

Langholm from pylon track

I caught up with the path again when I got to the stile over the wall at the quarries.  This stile is always welcome as not only it is a good photo opportunity, but it also signals that it is all downhill to get home from here.

stile on whita wall

Although it was a grey day, my walk wasn’t entirely devoid of colour as there was a mass of haws on the hawthorns near the quarry…

 

hawthorns on Whita

…and a good set of flowers on the gorse near the golf course.

gorse near golf course

I walked down the golf course passing the fifth green where the wind was bending the flagpole and extending the flag.

fifth green flag

I had taken enough pictures by now so I concentrated on not slipping over as I walked down the steep hill back into town and kept my camera in my pocket until I got to the Kirk Bridge where the Wauhope Water joins the Esk.

A year ago, this scene would have looked very different with all the water going under the left hand arch but a recent flood altered the deposition of the gravel and now both arches enjoy a share of the flow but with a good gravel bank dividing the water once it is through the bridge.

kirk brig

I had a walk round the garden when I got back and found that the St John’s Wort in the vegetable garden still has a good crop of berries on it.  I read that the berries are fleshy and not attractive to birds until they split and reveal the seeds.

st johns wort berries

When I went into the house, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had come back from her lunch and was watching horse racing on the telly so I sat down and watched a few races with her.

I was very pleased to find when I checked that I had walked five miles, some of it over rough ground and with quite a lot of uphill work in it too.  I had taken more or less exactly two hours.  This may not sound very far or fast, but considering that I was having quite a lot of difficulty in walking at all in the early months of the year because of sore feet, this was a great improvement.  Better shoes, good insoles and a regular routine of exercises have all helped the turn around.

All the same, I was quite tired and happily spent the rest of the afternoon and evening doing nothing more adventurous than cooking corn beef hash for tea and watching the final of Strictly Come Dancing with Mrs Tootlepedal.

What with one thing and another, I was never at the right place at the right time to catch a flying bird today and there were very few birds about anyway, so this fluffy greenfinch is standing in for the flying bird of the day today.

greenfinch

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