Saturday, 1 March 2014

Last days of Winter (Day 41 - 50)

Officially these are the last 10 days of winter but forgive me it I don't put away my warmer clothes just yet, last years snow at the end of March is still fresh in my memory!  I don't seem to have got quite as wet in the last few days and have managed to time my dog walks quite well.
Day 41 - Swans at Lamlash
The swans at Lamlash seem to grown in number and can usually be found around the pier. Up close these really are huge birds with an average wingspan of 7 foot. They are very strong birds but not aggressive, however they will vigorously defend their territory and nests! Being a coward, I tend to give them a lot of room.
Day 42 - Dyemill footbridge (one of 3)
A few minutes from my house is the Dyemill Forestry area.  I spend quite a lot of time walking this area and can go miles along the tracks.  So it becomes the 'usual' dog walk and as such I tend to take it for granted. In fact it is one of the prettiest walks around with several waterfalls and footbridges, along with a large variety of flora.  It has already provided several photo opportunities for this project and I'm sure that will continue.
Day 43 - Part of the Crozier Sculpture
On another walk, this one near Brodick, a selection of sculptures by Tim Pomeroy can be found along the trail.  At the moment parts of the walk are cordoned off due to the high winds and loose branches above the path, but other areas have been opened up as restrictions on a plant disease have been lifted. Winter is a great time to find and view the sculptures as the plants have died back so they are easy to view.  This one is called 'Crozier' and was inspired from newly unfolding fern and bishops crooks.
Day 44 - Hazel Catkins
On Saturday I noticed some catkins - they actually looked like they had been there a while.  Tree identification is not my strongest subject, but I think this could be Hazel as the catkins tend to be out between January and March. Catkins are often called 'lambs tails' and I don't think this needs any explanation.
Day 45 - Fun on a quad bike
Sunday it turned out nice so I went off on a longer walk and met several people along the way.  It's good to see the Forestry Commission tracks being used for recreation and these included, walkers, dog walkers, horse riders and a small group of quad bikers.  I know some people don't like the quad bikers being on the tracks, but I like to see young people out and about and on the tracks they are not churning up less robust paths.  This group were well aware of me and my dogs and passed with care.
Day 46 - View from the Dougarie Estate office
Most folk don't enjoy Monday mornings - something to do with going to work - but I have a lovely drive to an office with a view.  My hours are flexible as I work for several different businesses as well as my own - but I try to keep people in regular slots (keeps my brain less cluttered) and Monday every hour is booked and I know it's a long day.
Day 47 - Tulip stems
Oh dear, one of those days.  I'd reset my camera and formatted the card, and clicked off a quick shot to test a new setting then went out and left the camera behind (It happens to the best of us)! So ended up using the test shot of tulip stems.
Day 48 - Dogs on Sannox beach
A quick walk on the sandy beach at Sannox before a meeting and we were joined by a lovely dog that lived nearby and belongs to one of my photographic students so is well used to posing for a camera.
Day 49 - River Iorsa low level walk
On the west side of the island a range of low level walks can be found.  One of these is along the River Iorsa, along a rough track, crossing fords, right up to a boat house at Loch Iorsa. As the ford was very high we only went as far as that before turning round and enjoying the sunshine and views on the way back.
Day 50 - Rhododendron leaves 
And yesterday, day 50, I took a walk from Cladach through the woodland and Cnocan Gorge.  The giant rhododendron are starting to flower in huge swathes of pink and purple and I was totally distracted by the amount of colour around, rusty orange, vibrant greens and fresh pinks dominated the walk, all made better by sheens of rainwater and the odd glimpse of sunlight!

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