I had a cracking day, parking up at Hartside, a spot used by loads of people, quite often to visit Linhope Spout. I headed off in that direction to start with but turned off over the grouse fells skirting Ritto Hill and on to High Cantle. Obviously at this stage the 2 main species showing were Red Grouse and Red-legged Partridge, with the grouse lifting at regular intervals from the heather with the "old Ticker" being tested on more than one occasion. You know birds will be flying up from cover but you still get a shock every now and again when one.... or twenty lift from under your feet as they burst into the air. Its a lot quieter up here now with Curlew and Lapwing both missing. A lack of Skylarks is also noticeable but still plenty Meadow Pipits keeping an eye on you as you pass through their patch.
On dropping down to the valley and the river, now the House Martins and Swallows appear as you start coming across some dwellings. A few more Meadow Pipits, Grey and Pied Wagtails and a lone Common Sandpiper were all seen "messing about on the river", but overall it was quiet so my attention switched to the butterflies that had started to catch my eye on the clumps of thistles now lining the riverbank. Signs of the oncoming of autumn showing here with flower heads starting to turn to thistledown in a number of cases and the insects having to search for the nectar.
The sun had broken out around midday and by mid afternoon it had become a glorious day and had made for a tranquil return as i sauntered along in the sunshine coming back via Alnhamoor to Hartside. The fact that i only bumped into 8 people while out made for a superb day. My day out had taken me 15.5 km. with an ascent of 515 metres the highest point being 482 metres at High Cantle.