Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Wednesday 2.1.2019

Much more benign day: cold but not bitter and miraculously still, such that even the grasses seemed frozen in place.

The sun, which the BBC had been saying all day we were bathed in, eventually emerged from under the clouds at about half two, bathing everything in a golden glow and casting long shadows.

Later as the sun went down, the clouds dispersed and we`re in for an icy night. Light the candles, stoke the fire, start that new book* and make the most of winter.

*Just finished The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. What an absolutely cracking yarn - and perfect for this time of year.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Tuesday 01.01.2019

Bitter wind out there today, it felt like the first real bite of winter as we trudged up the road and round the woods. Stayed dry but dull and we seemed to be the only ones out there.
Perhaps more of a shock because mostly the Festive Season has been all about mild temperatures and sunshine. Christmas Eve had been wall-to-wall sunshine and though Christmas Day itself started cloudier we decided on a walk up Bennachie anyway, from the Rowantree car park which affords a boskier, gentler climb than some of the other starting points.

The day was positively balmy, despite the cloud, and the views spurred us on.

Mither Tap is soon in view on this route

and the effort rewarded once at the top.

Briefly, very briefly, considered going on, the path to Oxen Craig beckoning

but hey, it was Christmas Day, presents to open and meals to cook, so we headed back down as the sun finally emerged.

And so, with a few work days in between,holiday walking has been about mild temperatures, wintry silhouettes,magical skies and an almost mysterious stillness in the air.....

......which may account for the re-emergence of unicorns.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Sunday 23/12/2018

More of the same today: a little colder and greyer, the clouds slightly lower with the odd spit and spot of rain but still mild enough to be more like a Cotswold winter`s day than the sort of thing we expect in these northern climes.
Just taken a last stroll outside, the moon veiled by cloud, next door`s shimmering Christmas lights casting pale shadows and moths everywhere. All a little bit mystical.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Saturday 22.12.2018

A soft winter`s afternoon, crisp enough underfoot but still and quiet, the fast disappearing sun casting long shadows beneath a sky of pastel blues and pinks turning to gold as we returned.

And on the way down the road, a murmuration of starlings swirling over the fields. It really is an amazing sight....and halfway through the display a smaller band - a mumurette? - joined them in a manoeuvre that made the Red Arrows look like clumsy amateurs.

The RSPB explain it thus:
"We think that starlings do it for many reasons. Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands. They also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas."

Of course they could have been simply having fun. :)

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sunday 16.12.18

So, as the song goes, what a difference a day makes. Set off twenty or so minutes later than yesterday, crisp and still, plenty of light left even though the sun had already sunk below the trees on the horizon.
A soft rosy sky saw us home
and yesterday was just a distant memory.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Saturday 15.12.18

Storm Deirdre did her best to knock us over on the open road but once in the woods it was all sound and not much fury. No point taking either camera or binoculars - too gloomy even at half 2 for taking pictures and what birds that were out flashed past in an instant.

In amongst the trees it was simply, deliciously,exhilarating. Branches whipped backwards and forwards in a noisy, demonic sort of dance,while at the same time, for all their writhing and flailing, protecting us from the blast.

That caught us again full on as we stepped out once more onto the road, past singing gates and wailing wires, stumbling into the house breathless but invigorated. And as I write Deirdre is still making a lot of fuss but is due to depart overnight. Bit of a shame really.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Wednesday 5.12.2018

"Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone" always buzzes round in the head on days like this. Twenty past 2 on a completely still winter afternoon, the sun already below the clouds on the horizon,

grasses frozen into icy white immobility

and the cry of a suddenly disturbed pheasant the only sound echoing across the silence.

A long weekend`s house-sitting and dog-walking afforded the chance to enjoy different landscapes, along old railway-line paths bounded by trees and water

and up onto the local fell (The Campsies) in surprisingly warm December sunshine.

Good company
and all this only a dozen miles or so from the centre of Glasgow.