Saturday 27 October 2012

Distant Dolphins

We couldn't get close enough. With hindsight we should have got the canoe out on the loch or driven round to the other side where the majority of dolphins seemed to be. It's difficult to take my word for it as my only photo of the dolphins is a blurry white line! But there were over a hundred of them in the loch last week and they swam past our back garden (albeit on the far side of the loch) and spent the day fishing and playing and staying out of reach of the camera. You can see a better photo here courtesy of The Stornoway Gazette featured on john-humphries blog.
While the dolphins, and this poor sheep, I'd backed into a corner, weren't keen  to appear on my blog, one of the black sheep that  live up the lane was very willing, and went to a great deal of trouble with her appearance.
It was a perfect day for dolphin spotting - if only they'd been closer! The locals said they couldn't remember having seen a pod of dolphins of that size coming right into the loch before.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

blue and orange - mainly

A big full on beautiful day. The wonderful contrasts of Autumn sun in the Scottish Highlands. We walked to Loch Dubh Dam, situated up in the hills to the north of Ullapool. The loch sits on a plateau and commands wonderful views over the surrounding area. The dam is just visible at the far end of the loch and from there further down the hill two more dams have been built in order to generate renewable energy. I can't describe the silence and the feeling of being transported to another place. Apart from the occasional 'plop' as a fish showed its head out of the water, or a bird, taking off, startled by our presence there was total and absolute quiet. It's so rare that when you hear it, it really is deafening!
The plan was to walk to the first dam returning back to the track on the same side. We stuck together in our usual style ie. Niels being way ahead, me, being way behind trying to straighten the camera on a rock or just standing, with my mouth open!  I became aware while admiring the stunning views from the dam, that I hadn't seen Niels for a while and that the sun was going down. I walked on until there was a fork in the track and I was in doubt which way to go. I took the sensible option and retraced my steps back along the side of the loch to where I knew if needed I could make my way back down to the car by the light of the moon! Finally after an age I saw in the distance in the rapidly failing light a tiny moving figure coming towards me. The wanderer apologised saying he was sure I was following behind, before realising he'd mislaid not only his lovely wife but his walking pole too. 
PS. The story has a happy ending! Not only was Niels reunited with his lovely wife he was reunited with his walking pole! Yesterday we returned to the place he was convinced he'd last used his stick. Eventually, after looking in all the places where it wasn't we spotted it on the second dam leaning patiently against the rail waiting to be picked up! Can you spot it? I was so preoccupied trying to shield the sun from the camera that I didn't see it until I put the camera down!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

A Soggy Afternoon

Lael Forest Garden is especially beautiful in the autumn and, as it happens, in the rain too! Which is just as well, as the afternoon spent there was particularly wet and soggy. I spent some time on my hands and knees, (I wish they were padded and waterproof - my knees that is) trying to peer under mushrooms. The forest trees stand tall and in order (some of the time) but down on the forest floor chaos rules and there is a world in miniature. Moss, carpets everything in its path that doesn't move, in a spongy blanket of bright green, it creeps over walls, fallen trees and stones.
Walking back to the car, the camera managed to take a picture by itself - I couldn't have done it, I'm still learning about panning and capturing movement, it seems the camera will do it for me?  I included the photo because I wanted to write how we sped off home and picked up a takeaway pizza on the way - but that would be silly (the nearest pizza takeaway is in excess of fifty miles) and anyway somebody had already got to the pizza first and had a bite.
When we got home which is only a few miles from the forest, the sun was shining, showing off the wonderful russet and ginger colours of autumn.

Sunday 14 October 2012

slip sliding into winter

Each morning the view across the loch is different. Autumn has truly arrived, darker mornings. The wonderful long days of summer long gone. Sometimes we walk along the lane - I think Niels is looking at his kindle! Now, sometimes in the evening we light the fire and feel cosy and try to look forward to the long dark evenings with the wind and rain lashing at the windows! Though having said that, slightly tongue in cheek, there really is something wonderfully secure and cosy about  being in doors while a storm rages outside - providing the roof tiles and chimney stay in place!
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