Sunday 29 May 2022

The Skylark Road

Once a year i try to walk the old Drove road from Kerr wood to Old Irvine. This used to be open ground but in the last few years there has been extensive forestry planted and eventually it will be all trees on the north side of the road and on some parts of the south side. This is the start of my walk looking back towards Kerr with a collection of wind turbines in the background.
Half way along the walk is the only burn on the route.
This is the south side of the road and a perfect habitat for the many Skylarks that sang to me the entire time I was on the walk.
Another view of the south side of the track.
The long straight road looking back from Old Irvine. Not sure what these wild flowers are but Mike Tinker will eventually advise me.
Newly planted young trees on the north side of the road. At the moment it is still a perfect habitat for ground nesting birds and Skylarks in particular but in a few years time that habitat will be lost as the trees mature. 
Looking back towards my car parked at Kerr road end.
Some more mature trees with the wind turbines in the background
As straight as a die for about 1.75 miles 

More wild flowers and a view towards the hills of Cumbria

A selection of wild flowers.
The last remaining area on  the north side of the road now planted.
Looking north toward the Langholm Monument on Whita Hill

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Lower Tarras Valley and the end of a Coal Story

Today's Wednesday Walk was 3 of us for the first time in a while as Niall was able to join Tom and myself. We headed to The Laverock Bird Hide on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve and parked the car there for a 4 mile walk down the road to the Tarras Distillery and then along the Tarras River up to Rachiel Bridge and then back up the road to the Bird Hide. It had been a wet morning and the ground was very wet and boggy in places. This is one of the many Hawthorn bushes we encountered on the walk and they are looking at their best now with loads of blossom. 
An avenue of Hawthorn

The first of 2 wooden bridges we had to negotiate and this one is not in very great condition so it was one person at a time.
The suspension bridge further up the Tarras and this one is in excellent condition but tends to swing a bit if there is more than 1 person on it. The Tarras is running quite high after a few days of heavy rain. 
The River Tarras with a few trees still to come into full greenery
This is the marshy area next to Rachel Bridge and its an area I and others would like to see made into a pond as a feature in  the new Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. 
I walked this path on Sunday but now it is a burn.

Tom on the Suspension Bridge
The view looking up river from the Suspension Bridge
One of the several places we used to think there was a coal seam came out next to the river but Geologist Niall soon put us right and it is in fact just Shale.
Crossing another burn that has become a raging torrent. We all managed to cross without mishap but it was quite difficult and I did get wet feet. 
The best example of a seam od Shale in the banking.
Niall crosses the rickety bridge. Despite the very wet and boggy ground it was an enjoyable 4 mile walk. 

Monday 16 May 2022

A Week of Islands

Our week in the outer Hebrides started with a long 2 day journey and a stop in Fort William to break the journey. This is Island No. 1 and the bridge over to the Island of Skye. It is a very long island and it took almost 90 minutes to drive to the Ferry Terminal at Uig.
The Ferry Terminal at Uig. From there to Lochmaddy in North Uist it is an hour and three quarters Ferry crossing and the weather was perfect.
Island No. 2 North Uist and my first walk on our nearest beach on our first evening.
Another beach near the cottage and a perfect expanse of white sand.
Island No. 3 called Baleshare to the west of North Uist and this is the Causeway across to it.

This is John and Sandria on the huge barrier of loose pebbles next to the beach on Baleshare.
Island No 4 is Flodaigh which is the smallest island we visited. John was very impressed with this old Vauxhall car but decided it might cost a bit too much to repair.
The Causeway to Flodaigh
A thatched cottage on Flodaigh
Island No 5 is Benbecula and a fresh water Loch.

These are 2 panorama photographs on North Uist at a place called Sollas taken by John to show the magical colours of the sky and sea at the time he took them.
Island No 6 is Berneray and the causeway to it from North Uist.
This is Peat Cuttings just next to Berneray.
Island No 7 is Eriskay, the island featured in the film Whisky Galore and the Ferry arriving at Eriskay Ferry Terminal to take us to our next island Barra.
John and myself on a lovely viewpoint overlooking the harbour at Eriskay
Eriskay harbour.
Island No 8 is Barra and this photo taken by John is one of the nicest views on our week long holiday. This is the bay where the scheduled flight from Glasgow arrives. We watched the arrival of this flight just to the left of this.

The plane from Glasgow is just about to offload its passengers.
Island No 9 and our favourite one is Vatersay. This is the East Beach on the Isthmus that splits the island. 
This is the West Beach on the other side of the narrow Isthmus. It was a most enjoyable holiday despite the bad weather and I drove nearly 1000 miles in the week with a fair bit of them on single track roads. 

Friday 13 May 2022

An Aborted Attempt to Walk to Vallay Island

Our plan this morning was to walk to Vallay Island in the north of North Uist. This was the only day we could do it due to the tide times. It as blowing about 20mph gale when we started the 1.5 mile crossing to the Island. Unfortunately after about 20 minutes we hit a snag as there was a long and broad strip of water that was 18" deep in places with no way round it. We had to abort our attempt although if we had been wearing Wellies it would have been ok. Gaye and Sandria with the right gear on for this weather. When we got back to the car and drove a mile along the coast to a Coffee Caravan the weather took a turn for the worse with torrential rain and real stormy winds so we saved ourselves a soaking and a battering.
Vallay Island in the distance and you can just see the ruined house on the Island.
John with Gaye and Sandria before we set off.
A Thatched Cottage and outhouse just next to where we had our Coffee.
New Thatching on another Cottage
This was the bit that beat us. It would have gone over our boots.
Returning to the cars after aborting our walk.
Another starting picture before we realised it was not possible.
Gaye trying very hard not to show her disappointment at having to turn back on this adventurous walk.

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