Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Spring in Scotland #2: The Best, Part 1

      We are just into our last week of our spring 2019 Scotland trip and in typical Scottish fashion the weather has turned not so nice. Yesterday we played golf in heavy showers and 25 mph winds. Today we played in heavy clouds with no rain or wind—a better day. Tomorrow it’s back to rain again. but the inside time gives me a chance to organize my more than a thousand photos into a meaningful blog post (or in this instance, two posts). I’ve tried to pick photos that characterize both Scotland and our trip. This “Best Of” is presented in categories, starting with some village images. 
Construction in Dunblane

We love the villages, the small towns, far more than the cities. Places like Crieff (our home base), Aviemore, Comrie, Boat of Garten, Grantown-on-Spey, Stonehaven, and many others are where the Scots walk daily to shops and cafes, much as you’d see in the 1950s in the states. We find there are always interesting things to see in the villages.
Horse and buggy in Kingussie

How much is that haggis in the window?

Peterhead Pub Patron

This could be any village in Scotland.

And this could be any village road in Scotland.

A special type of village is the seaside village or harbour. Scotland’s harbours come in all sizes [Thanks ,Mr Obvious, for that startling information.] from the small village harbour like Crail to the large fishing ports at Peterhead, Fraserburgh, and Aberdeen. Even though I don’t enjoy being on almost any size boat, the vessels are always good photo targets.
Crail Harbour on Fife

Fraserburgh Harbour

Gardenstown, a clearance village

Fraserburgh with large fishing boats.

Sea Pinks and Buchaness Lighthouse

Rainbow over Stonehaven Harbour

Buchaness Lighhouse in the fog

On this trip we had several encounters of the wildlife kind that couldn’t be photographed. For instance, on one trip home from a golf club social event we came within a couple of feet of hitting a rather large red deer. There was also the time near Cruden Bay when a large owl flew across the road right in front of us. Can’t have a camera on everything, but there were many sightings of Scottish fauna (mostly foul) where we could get photos.


Oystercatcher at St Andrews Botanical Garden

Hairy Coo at Balgove Larder in St Andrews

At the St Andrews Botanical Garden

Pheasant Hen

The last category for this first part of The Best of the trip involves the life of the traveler--a little bit about how we live on the road.
A Good Shopping Trip

In self-catering we turned the lounge into a drying room.

A relaxing afternoon snack

The white bait and calamari are pretty good at Anstruther Fish Bar.

NEXT: Of course, Part 2.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Spring in Scotland #1: Scotland in Bloom

Fields at St Fillans.

     Scotland had a lovely couple of weeks around Easter (and everyone we meet tells us so), even though the weather now is like December (raining 38ºF with 20+mph winds for a wind chill of 0ºC) we are seeing some lovely blooms. I thought I would catalog the Scotland show in this post. Sorry I am, says Yoda, that I don't know the names of all the flowers, but I can at least tell you where we spied them.
The Rhoddy to the right of the 2nd green at St Fillans GC adds a splash of color.

     Branklyn Garden is a two acre garden in the city of Perth that was once a residential garden and is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The garden is lovely anytime, but it's particularly fetching in the spring when the Himalayan Blue Poppies are in full show. We usually make one or two visits each trip.
Steps leading to residential garden in Perth on the walk from the parking lot to Branklyn Gardens.

Yellow Poppy


The view from the gardens down to the city of Perth.

Himalayan Blue Poppy

     Scotland has a village competition every year selecting the best flowered villages. One of perennial winners of Scotland in Bloom is the tourist village of Pitlochry. From the looks of things their chances are good again this year.

     To get to Pitlochry from where we stay in Crieff we have to climb into the Highland foothills through Sma'Glen. There we easily see signs of spring.

Roman Bridge in Glen Lyon in the Highlands above Sma'Glen.
     A pleasant short hike at the edge of the Highlands, even in showery weather, is to the Hermitage. The hike is fairly flat and only a third of a mile, but the rewards are well worth it. The falls on the River Braan are best viewed from Ossian's Hall, a view station built in the 18th C. by the Duke of Atholl.
Bramble Berry

Fiddlehead Ferns

     Another place to find Scotland in Bloom is in its cemeteries and kirkyards. The flowers are sometimes the cut kind, but often plantings absolutely blossom with life.
At Comrie cemetery.

In the cemetery at Wester Fowlis.
     There are many more places we've found Scotland in Bloom this spring even in the few days we've been here, but these don't fit in neat categories--they just are lovely all the same.

Endangered Cowslips

     And, of course, there are some things that just aren't ready to bloom.
Hedge at Elcho Castle.

NEXT: Who knows what we'll find.