Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Lichen’

Two days ago, hoping for a spot of sunshine, I checked the BBC weather website and discovered that the town of Callander was going to be bathed in sunshine all afternoon.

The forecast promised me a high of 5 degrees C, soaring above the 3s and 4s of further north.

Somehow I got it into my head that this equated to a fine summer’s day, and I scooped up delightful assistant no.1 and sped off towards the Trossachs*.

On the way we stopped at the splendid Gloagburn Farm Shop and Cafe for a little sustenance.

Gloagburn is home to some of the finest scones to be found anywhere on Earth (I admit I haven’t tested this terribly extensively in global terms, but all the same I feel quite confident about my assertion).

We both chose fruit scones (the delightful assistant requesting one with a ‘shiny top’), I had tea and the delightful assistant had coffee:

I could not have been more pleased with my scone’s stretch marks:

Or, indeed, the frolicsome crockery:

Refreshed and completely satisfied by our repast we tootled off Trossachswards, arriving in Callander in time for a health giving stroll before luncheon.

The sun, which had shone for a while on the journey just before Callander, had retreated behind cloud when we arrived, but nonetheless there were plenty of people out and about taking the air and enjoying riverside walks:

My glamorous assistant and I wrapped up in our woolly hats and scarves, and loped off in a westerly direction along the banks of the River Teith.

A short way along the path, a signpost indicated that if we were considering taking a dip, this would be the ideal spot in which to do it:

Despite the encouragement, there were no bathers present.

A little further on there were no pipers either:

Although most of the trees along the riverside were deciduous, and therefore bare of leaves at this time of year, there was some nice fluffy lichen to be seen:
The delightful assistant likes to say that although lacking greenery in the winter, when trees are leafless it allows you to see their beautiful shapes:
There were signs of spring in the form of a few clumps of cheerful snowdrops:
Our walk took us over a metal bridge and along a level path with snowy Ben Ledi in the background:
Given the amount of time I’ve spent in Scotland, i.e. practically my whole life, you would think I’d have a handle on the weather by now. I even had it spelled out to me in black and white by the BBC, and yet I was surprised by the fact that it wasn’t a warm, balmy summer’s day in Callander. I confess I was fooled by the robust-looking number ‘5’ on the weather chart and I allowed it to give me false hopes.

I must remind myself that unless the temperature gets into the double figures, and preferably above 20 degrees C, it is not going to feel like summer.

When we’d walked our appetites up, we returned to the town for lunch in a tearoom I’d never been to before. I’ll save the details for another post, but here’s a wee taster:
*The Trossachs is the name given to the area of countryside in which Callander nestles so prettily.

Read Full Post »

After taking tea in Cupar the other day, my delightful assistant and I stumbled upon an attractive and interesting little hamlet, tucked away off a main road.

I was driving through it, slowly taking in its charm but not particularly intending to stop (the weather wasn’t terribly pleasant), when I saw something that isn’t very common in Scotland – a house with a thatched roof:

Thatched roof in Collessie

They do pop up here and there, but I think of this style of roofing as more of an English thing.

First I spotted the one above, and then I saw another:

Another thatched roof in Collessie

I don’t know if Collessie has ever been used as a location for films or TV dramas but I think it definitely has potential.

Collessie

It even has a little stream running under the road:

Collessie burn

There are some interesting old buildings, including this one which has tiny high up windows and a collection of pots, sticks and ornaments outside. It also has a thatched roof:

Interesting building in Collessie

The delightful assistant thought that Collessie could be listed on this blog as an Intriguing Sight, and we were certainly intrigued by the white dome-shaped structure below, which had logs stored in the lower part. I wondered if it might be an oven of some sort:

Curious domed structure

I don’t know quite why I find this next point so satisfying, but it gladdens my heart when I see buildings that can be accessed at different levels front and back:

Different levels in Collessie

We were walking up a little hill through Collessie, at the top of which stood a fine looking church. The churchyard dates back to the 12th century, although the present church was constructed in 1838. Apparently, this building was built because the previous one had started to sink into the graveyard, causing a dampness that was disagreeable to the congregation.

Collessie Kirk

Rather curiously, the churchyard wall had a yellow building stuck into it:

Sir James Melville's tomb

A plaque on the wall next to it declared the yellow building to be the tomb of Sir James Melville (1535-1617) and described him as “a distinguished soldier, courtier and diplomat during the 16th century”. At the age of 14 he was sent to France to attend a young Mary Queen of Scots, later serving both her and her son, James VI, in Scotland.

Sir James Melville plaque

I did try to enter the tomb but the door was locked. I know you can’t generally get inside graves and coffins, but somehow the idea of him being locked inside that building seemed a bit sinister to me.

The locked tomb

We didn’t spend much time in the graveyard, because it was rather chilly, but I did notice one particular gravestone. The white lichen on some of the petals and the yellow on the stamens seemed fittingly positioned:

Lichen on gravestone

If you ever happen to be driving along the A91 between Cupar and Auchtermuchty, I recommend the slight detour that takes you through the delightful hamlet of Collessie.

The detour also takes you past another church, Monimail Parish, just along the road from Collessie. Although, as with Collessie, we couldn’t get into the building itself, we walked all round the church at Monimail and noted that it was very well cared for. Every door was painted in black gloss and all the handles and lock plates were neatly touched up in gold paint.

Monimail Parish Church painted nicely

Monimail Parish Church

Read Full Post »

The autumn colours in Perthshire are particularly good this year and, thinking that the Scottish Borders would be putting on a similarly spectacular show, I took the delightful assistants down there for a gawp at the weekend.

We were most surprised to find that, despite being further south, it felt like winter rather than autumn in the Borders. Many of the trees were completely bare and most of the leaves that were left on the trees were well past their flame-grilled best.

However, I’m happy to say that at our destination of Dawyck Botanic Gardens, nature’s loveliness was abounding:

A couple of beech trees had curious wrappings round their trunks:

There was a poem, entitled The Bandaged Trees, attached to one of the trunks, but I found it a tad depressing so I won’t burden you with it.

Looking up into the trees was beautiful with the sunlight on the leaves:

Dawyck (more or less pronounced Daw-ik) is a beautiful place to walk around, and even though there were a lot of cars in the car park, we met very few people as we strolled through the gardens.

Here are a couple of tiny assistants perched atop a lovely bridge:

The air smelled very fresh and I took lots of deep breaths. The amount of lichen on the trees was perhaps a good indicator of just how pollution-free the atmosphere was. Some of the birches looked as if they were dressed in furs and feather boas:

Bits of the garden were in the shade and quite frosty, an ideal hiding place for ice nymphs and frost elves. Apparently, if you run backwards making chirpy little whistling noises they sometimes pop out. I tried this, but I didn’t see any. Mind you, I find that trying to stay upright while running backwards takes up most of my concentration.

My camera battery died just past this bench,

which was a pity as I had been hoping to take photos of the lunch we had after our walk.

However, I wouldn’t like to sign off without a small morsel to share with you, so here’s a Christmas pudding scone* I made yesterday instead:

*so called because it was inspired by Christmas pudding, and contains sultanas, mixed peel, slivered almonds, cherries, dates, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and treacle, as well as the standard scone ingredients

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,725 other followers

%d bloggers like this: