A walk in the sunshine

A gorgeous spring day for a walk along the River Ken

We finally made a circuit of the dyke walk that extends through marshland in the Upper Ken, on the border of the Galloway Forest. There we watched a crow/jackdaw/raven dive-bombing a red kite, over and over again. Eventually, it seemed that the red kite agreed to divert its soaring flight away from the black bird’s territory as their engagement finished.

We walked through a glade of willows, their pussy willow flowers laden with pollen for the bees to re-distribute. I felt a bit homesick for the willow whips that are growing, or at least persevering, down in the boggy bit on the high fellside of Sparty Lea. A sign suggested that we might see willow tits among the branches, and we certainly heard some enchanting birdsong but we didn’t make out a characteristic black cap. Next time, we agreed, we’d try to remember to bring the binoculars.

The blackthorn blossom was really splendid, as the bushes aren’t trimmed along the path, and their branches were laden with bright white flowers. When ours back in Sparty get bushier, I shall hope to be able to let them straggle out so that the blossoms (and later the sloe berries!) will appear.

It wasn’t really a nature walk, though it was a delight to amble along gently. Rather it was an attempt to complete the circuit we’d first investigated back in an earlier reconnoitre of the village. We’d walked to near the mid-point from each direction, but we hadn’t quite made the entire circuit around, until yesterday. There couldn’t have been a more perfect day to be putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

These enchanted weeks away from our beloved smallholding feel like a kind of fortuitous retirement bliss, as we explore our home-away-from-home holiday cottage. We’re getting comfortable with most of the downsizing that we’ve accomplished, but it will be great too to be back in the larger place. There errands beckon: lawn mowing; chicken patch re-configuration; willow whip assessment; last of the past season’s potatoes to harvest. Some of the mid-to-late-spring duties are yet to accomplish.

Meanwhile, a gentle stroll in the bright sunshine has been a special kind of relaxed joy.

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