Friday, 30 June 2017

30 Days Wild. The last ten days

Since June 21st I have not managed any trips to especially wild places. But there is no shortage of wild nature in the town if you look around. On one evening wild nature came to visit us, as a large mouse scampered across our second floor carpet. Since we are moving out in a few days it is hard to get too bothered. I was pleased, on the 25th, to see a dunnock (hedge sparrow they are sometimes called) on the path. They are such elegant small birds; this one was surprisingly trusting. I got within a couple of metres before it hopped into the undergrowth.

I went to the small garden of our new property to do a bit of weeding. A beautiful mayfly settled on my glasses. It was about a centimetre long and was one of the ones with two tail-streamers. There will be a small patch of wild-life garden, and I have already made a small log-pile. There will not be room for a compost heap, so I have put a cylinder of wire netting and filled it with leaves and such like as a habitat for those creatures who like such things. On Mothers' Day (March) at church we gave out little packages of wild flower seeds. I found a suitable strip for mine and they are now coming into flower.

Not far from where we live is Saughton Park. This is a remarkable example of what a local authority can do, given a dedicated team.

The park has expanses of grass for football. There is a play-park for little children and a thriving skateboard park. But bringing wild nature into the city is a big part of the venture. The strips of tree alongside the roads that border the park are thick and tangled. There are some larger clumps too, and glades. A lot of thought has obviously gone into setting these up.

Fortunately there is a map of the whole area, so you can easily see the extent and variety of the project.

The formal gardens are very splendid. I have only photographed one patch out of several. But there are also beds of wild flower annuals that were sown by local children.

You will see on the map that the site has one special bonus. It includes a stretch of the Water of Leith. It rained heavily here on Thursday, so the torrent is quite spectacular.

In fact the team are just starting work on a major development of the site so as to take the project further. I wonder what photos I shall be able to post next year.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

30 Days Wild: The next ten days

During the days June 11th to June 20th I was lucky to get two days out in seriously wild hills. I was lucky, too, that on neither day was it intolerably hot.

On Wednesday June 14th I drove to the Manor Valley, near Peebles, and climbed up onto the hills to the west. Almost at once my camera ran out of battery, but I did do a sketch on the top from which I made a painting a few days later.

I need to repaint it slightly lighter, but I think it gives the idea of the Border hills stretching away, range after range.

I started and finished in the Manor Valley, a most quiet and remote-feeling spot. If you have read "The Island of Sheep" by John Buchan you will recognise the Laver Valley. The Manor Valley was his model; though it does not have a laird's castle at its head. This photo, before my battery ran out, gives an idea of the place.

Looking down the Posso Glen, across the Manor Valley
I was especially pleased to see Cloudberry, and Dwarf Cornel.

The other mountain day was Carn Liath, above Blair Atholl, with a church walking group. There was a strong, buffeting wind and we had a great day. On this stretch of wild country there was a wonderful selection of flowering plants, and good lichens and mosses too.

Round leaved sundew

I'm afraid I'm not sure what this orchid is.

When I was a boy we only saw Butterwort on summer holidays, by which time only the star of leaves was left. Now I can see the deep blue flowers. I took many other flower photos, but I shall ration them for you.

Back in town there is no shortage of wild nature. It is a question of noticing it.

Elder tree

And of course we can keep reading about it.

Plantlife magazine
But I think the best thing I saw for 30 Days Wild was not wild at all, but a piece of stone-work. Drink in this photo.

Inscription in Writers' Court, Edinburgh

Saturday, 10 June 2017

30 Days Wild 2017. The first ten.

As luck would have it my wildest day during the last fortnight was on the last day of May, so it doesn't count. But Ben Lui deserves a photo.
May 31

Since then I have not had the chance to go out of town, but it has been good to notice how much wild nature is all round us.
June 1st

 Our nearest bit of wild nature is Edinburgh's river, the Water of Leith. It had shrunk during May with a prolonged spell of no rain.

But then we had torrential rain for a short time on Monday and heavy rain all day on Tuesday. What a difference.
June 6th
June 8th

Last year I was able to photograph my own wild garden on most days. Now we are in a 2nd floor tenement, temporarily. But in Edinburgh there is no problem finding where others have made patches of wild flowers. This is the Hermitage and Braid Hills Local Nature Reserve.
June 10th  
June 5th
Whereas this luxuriant burst of wild nature is on the slope between the Castle and Princes Street Gardens.

And finally, when you are enjoying the wild this month, don't forget that as well a looking down and around, also look up.
June 4th