THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

5 June 2014

SCOTLAND - PART 1


Transmission resumed after two weeks: a mixture of bliss away and frantic packing and travel beforehand and endless unpacking and catching up with everything from my mum to the insurance claim from you know what on our return. So sorry it's been so long. I've started writing this on Wednesday and have been editing down 600 photos over the past few days. Scotland already seems like a long time ago but perhaps posting about it will make it real again. The replacement camera arrived at noon on the Friday and was packed in the van unopened. M left for Glasgow at 1.00am on Saturday and OB and I woke to find the house empty of dogs and toothpaste. I drove us to Bristol Airport, congratulating myself on how early we were as I turned off the M5 motorway, only to discover it was another 45 minutes away on an endlessly winding A road whose number I have blanked from my memory. We were still well on time and parked, got the bus to the terminal, singular, with OB's excitement rising at the idea of his first flight. Quite a nice little airport..............


Because it's been so long since I flew (1998), I was not used to the security and had forgotten most of those airporty things that frequent travellers will know. I stupidly thought that we had to wait till our flight had boarding written next to it before we could go through security and saunter down to our gate at our leisure. As we wandered through the duty free perfumery with OB saying loudly,

"What is that disgusting smell?"

I heard an announcement:

"Last call for flight ****** to Glasgow boarding at gate 14"

Oh dear. We ran. I've been suffering from mild sciatica for the last couple of months and was wincing and grumbling away whilst my ten year old son laughed at me and sprinted ahead. We made it just as the queue of people walked out onto the tarmac. Phew. However, things were about to get worse. As we sat in our seats, OB's excitement started to turn into something else which wasn't helped by the emergency procedures demonstration. Tending to take things literally, he was also editing out the ifs and asking:

"Will be be crashing into the sea?"
"When are the oxygen masks come down?"

I thought I'd reassured him and he seemed fine as we took off, if a little hysterical. As soon as the seat belt light went out he said:

"I need a poo"

Of course he did and just prior to the extortionate drinks and snacks trolley started its crawl down the aisle. OB emerged looking green about the gills and was clearly suffering with the cabin pressure. We squeezed past the trolley, much to the irritation of the cabin crew............just wait till they visit the recently vacated lavatory. 

For the remainder of the flight, OB was hyperventilating with the blind pulled down, convinced he was going to throw up but panicking every time I reached for the jauntily stripy sick bag. He refused to swallow so the pressure must have been horrendous poor boy. Getting off that plane was a huge relief for both of us and getting into a van for a two hour drive was an unlikely relief. The dogs were delighted to see us; poor M was exhausted and strung out on coffee and pro-plus after his 14 hour ordeal, but just happy to see us safe on the ground and we headed to our destination: Lochgoilhead. On the way there I managed a few pictures from the van:





And at last we arrived some 600 miles from home. This is our view from the garden. Amazing:



We did a little of the unpacking and then walked down to the village to explore and have a well earned drink at the pub: 






Jack became the first of either dogs to swim....ever. Loch Goil is a sea loch, hence the seaweed and tidal nature.


Oyster catcher:


Heron:


Herring Gulls:



When we started to look more closely at our house, there were a few issues. I think the hope is that its occupants will be so blown away by the spectacular views, that they will overlook the dirty laundry in the wardrobe, the extremely dodgy wiring, the slightly worrying stain on the sheet on my side of the bed, the two tumblers and one half pint glass meant to serve four people and too many other things to mention. M works for a holiday letting company whose standards are extremely high, so we were probably the owners' nightmare guests, but even so. The beds, despite the lack of bedside tables, were actually comfortable, so that was brilliant. Don't get me wrong, we had the best holiday I've had in many years, and at least we didn't have to worry about the dogs messing up the place....cleanliness was a big issue too!

After breakfast on the first morning I took the dogs up the lane which ran parallel with the loch. The second house along from our modest bungalow had this fantastic viewing gallery:


Eventually, we reached this little beach. It was slightly misty that day with dramatic clouds sitting just above the tops of the mountains. 





When I got back, OB was out on the lake in our little kayak which we could launch from the end of the garden:


I joined them on the pebbly beach and met this Scald Crow (thanks to A Heron's View http://aheronsview.blogspot.co.uk/ for the correct ID and the following info) or Hooded Crow, mostly found in northern areas of cooler climes. In Irish mythology, the Morrigan, or phantom queen, would shape shift into a Scald Crow to take up the persona of Badbh (the war goddess who took the form of a crow) to scavenge the battlefields.


For the whole week, we were followed by a group of Mallards, more often than not snoozing in the sun. We were unbelievably lucky with the weather all week. It rained every day in Devon apparently and we saw virtually none.




On Monday, we were due to visit friends in Dunblane; a city whose fame for the terrible massacre in 1996 has been overtaken by its most famous resident, Andy Murray. There I experienced a ten minute rain deluge like nothing I've ever experienced before. I had to borrow clothes and came back looking like a scarecrow. Anyway, before we left, I took the dogs up the forest track behind the house which became our staple walk for the week. It was magical.


Look who we saw! Terrible picture but he ran off before I could get anything better. 





Just as I was coming home and the sun came out, I heard the sound of Siskins chattering in the trees nearby and then spotted this juvenile who stayed there obligingly for long enough for me to snap him.



That's enough for this time. I'm going to have to split the pictures into three lots. I love the new camera but I'll talk about that more at a later date. Next time......I go kayaking, we hire a boat and chug around the loch looking for seals and climb a mountain. So, until then, here is some lovely Sea Campion and the dogs investigating their new environment. Snippet really doesn't do water. 



50 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the beautiful photos of your trip...Scotland is the home of our ancestors (Killebrew) so it was of special interest to follow along! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I have ancestors too.....the Rose clan but I have no idea where they came from. It's a magical place.

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  2. What an amazing place to visit.
    The flight sounds pretty nightmarish. I bet the dogs were thrilled to visit another wonderful place to explore. I'd probably write notes for the holiday rentals place. Sounds as if most things could be rectified.
    Such splendid photos as ever.
    I look forward to the next batch.

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    1. I'm going to review it on trip advisor and hope they take heed. There really is no excuse for ring marks from cups on window sills....yuck.

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  3. That oddly marked Jackdaw as you referred to it is actually a Scald Crow or aka a Hooded Crow. Mostly found in northern areas of cooler climes.
    In mythology The Morrigan would shape shift into a scald crow to take up the persona of Badbh to scavenge the battlefields.

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    1. Thanks so much. I knew there would be someone clever out there! I'll amend immediately. By the way.....lots of Herons in flight in the next post.

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  4. Lovely pics with your new camera. Looks like you ahd a wonderful holiday

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    1. Love the camera and loved the trip!

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  5. Oh Em, so happy you got away for a Holiday. Looks wonderful !!! We need one so bad ourselves. xx

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    1. You really do. Puppies will put paid to that! xx

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  6. What a beautiful holiday. Your pictures are stunning.

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    1. Thanks Joanne. It was heavenly and we'll be back there in the next few years I think.

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  7. How wonderful that your new camera arrived at the last moment--your photos are amazing.
    The flight sounds horrendous!
    I don't enjoy flying--its rather claustrophobic when a plane is full and travelers are noisy--I'd rather have a long road trip.
    Scotland has always been one of the destinations on my wish list--not likely to become a reality at this point in life.

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    1. I feel the same way about so many places and blogging has been a real help in making them closer. Elizabeth's About New York blog is one that particularly helps as it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit but with M not flying, it's not looking great!

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  8. Absolutely glorious! You chose a fantastic location to stay in, cottage issues and journey aside. And what about that weather. Yes, it's been grim here. Must feel like you've come back to winter. Love the ducks and the red squirrel. We have four greys plaguing us at the moment. Four!

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    1. Four is bad indeed. It's actually glorious today and I'm sitting out in the garden writing this. Only a few areas I'm dissatisfied with which isn't bad but the columbines are starting to fall over which is the beginning of the midsummer droop!

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  9. It looks and sounds as though you had a wonderful time. I am so glad that you got away and got to relax, I hope that the journey home was OK. Lovely to have you back, to know how great it was for you! xx

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    1. The journey home was much better but I'll fill you in on that in PART 3! xx

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  10. Sounds like a lovely time once you got through the horrors of modern-day air travel. Your pictures are beautiful. Looking forward to the rest.

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    1. I won't be flying again for a while!

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  11. Wonderful photographs Em - lovely to see OB out on the loch in his canoe, enjoying himself and also to see the dogs in their element. I do hope your return flight was less dramatic.

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    1. It was a lot better Pat - thank you.

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  12. Wonderful place yo visit. In fact beautiful.
    What a horrible trip but you all arrived, so that is good OB needed to swallow on the plane or chew gum.
    I adored the photo of OB in the kayak. Outstanding.
    I just realized that I have never seen a squirrel in your home photos. Do you not have them ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. We had many sucking sweeties to hand on the return flight!

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  13. What a post - humorous, wonderful shots of my lovely Scotland - we lived there for 5 years when first married. Disagreeable lodgings but with unbelievably great views - this post has it all. Strange to see your two dogs running around in a completely different environment, but looking totally at home.
    We shall be at Bristol airport in a couple of weeks, must make sure that I don't spend too much time in duty free.

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    1. I would live there like a shot but perhaps somewhere more moorland-ish!

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  14. Welcome home, it was worth waiting for your lovely pictures of Scotland especially with you. new camera. It almost felt as if I was back in Scotland looking at that amazing scenery. I'm sorry your accommodation didn't come up to scratch despite the views. I assume M doesn't have far to travel to work? I am familiar with that winding road to the airport, hope the plane journey was more relaxing. Sarah x

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    1. Not a long commute - no! He's very lucky. I'm wondering if I would have been better to come off at the next M5 junction and work out a different route....

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  15. Welcome back :) Its looks as though you have had a wonderful holiday. The photos are wonderful - so glad the replacement camera arrived on time. Great view from the garden of your holiday cottage. I've only been to Scotland a couple of times but loved it - you could walk or even drive for miles and miles and not see a soul! :) I'm looking forward to your next post :)

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    1. I'm so glad it arrived too - There's no way I would have been able to get the seals in the next post without it.

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  16. Loved seeing all the pictures of Scotland. I lived there for 4 years in the 70's. Beautiful place.

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    1. So many people are saying they used to live there - very interesting. Lovely to hear from you Happy One.

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  17. Great photos as always, Em! I particularly loved the snaps from the car, the first few shots of the lake (especially with the leafy boughs framing the shot), the Red Squirrel, the waterfalls and the Siskin. So basically, every photo! :)

    Had OB flown before? It is a surreal and strange experience for the human body, lots of people have issues with it. Flying out of Australia can be real tough as it takes a full day of flying to get to the UK or eastern North America and I just feel terrible afterwards!

    I look forward to more holiday snaps!

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    1. This was his first flight and, because I haven't for so long, I didn't warn him about the cabin pressure thing and never dreamed he would get air sick. Thank goodness it was only a 50 minute flight!

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  18. Wow, what spectacular views from your vacation home! I'm sorry the inside wasn't as nice as the views. I'd love to get out on that lake.

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    1. The view was awe inspiring.....I'm not going to use the 'a' word there, even though it would actually be used in its true sense!

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  19. Love the Hooded Crow and the Red Sq (so jealous of that- I've yet to see one). It looks a fantastic place- hope OB was OK after the flight. I know exactly how he feels... xx

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    1. He was just glad to get off onto firm ground. I couldn't believe the squirrel was just sitting there and another day, one ran across the road in front of us! xx

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  20. Welcome back Em. fantastic photos of Scotland of looks a lovely place you stayed in. OB presumably recovered happily after the flight, I think we all get nervous on a plane I have flying...
    Never knew M worked at holiday cottage place, does he want my views on 'Visit England' ;)

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  21. Brilliant Em. Love Scotland so much and I'm so glad you had a great time away and good weather.

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  22. Fantastic pics Em, it makes me want to head back north of the border :-)

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  23. Beautiful, beautiful, as ever. I love the way the heron's legs are the trailing edge of their flight; I have yet to capture one myself. My balance is just too poor for things over my head, darn it. So happy to have yours to look at.

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    1. I did come close to falling out of the boat at one point Joanne; that would have been seriously embarrassing.

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  24. Sounded a slightly hectic trip up there, but well worth it obviously. What a gorgeous area to be staying in. Love your photos, and what a great camera you must now have. Do you self focus the close ups of birds or does the camera do it for you?

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    1. I wanted this one because itvhas a manual focus option but I haven't had time to work it out yet. These were taken with the auto focus. Lucky it's a big bird!

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  25. What a wonderful holiday despite a less than perfect flight and some house 'issues'! It all looks magical ... how I would love to see a Pine Marten!

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    1. It was a really special three seconds.

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