Monday, 30 March 2020

Making the most of things

I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to bring you any more scenic pictures of the Scottish Highlands for the time being at least. New government orders are that we're to start walks from our home in the city and avoid all 'non-essential' travel. Apparently driving me inland to the hills is deemed 'non-essential', but Gail says I'm not to moan, lots of folk are having a much harder time than we are just now. And it's true, we do have plenty of nice open spaces, reachable on two or four legs, to explore.

So on Saturday morning Gail led me through Duthie Park, across the King George VI Bridge over the River Dee, up Provost Watt Drive in Kincorth to an area of heathland known locally as 'The Gramps'.

What did we see?

In the park, lots of runners, and some past their peak crocuses.

Along Provost Watt Drive, examples of Aberdeen's unlovely 1960s housing schemes.

From the Gramps, a fine view north across the city and environs,

Then a wildlife pond scummy with frog spawn.

Blue sky appeared momentarily,

Then a storm moved across and, with faces battered by hailstones, we hastened home, photography forgotten.

Gail and I want to send love and (virtual) hugs to our blogging friends all over the world. And please, to those of my fellow pups who, like me, live in a single human household, do allow your human to give you extra cuddles as they'll be needing you more than ever for company.

Friday, 27 March 2020


We're keeping things virus free today.

Last weekend, I misheard Gail, imagining she was proposing a walk to see some crumbs. Strange, I thought, but anything related to cookies gets my vote. Let's go!

Well it turns out the word she said was 'Krummholz' and although sadly this has nothing to do with foodables, the subject does at least fit the bill for Arty, Jakey and Rosy's Nature Friday bloghop.

Have a look at the Scots pine trees I encountered on my hike around the Beinn Eighe NNR Mountain Trail (this outing also featured on Tuesday's post).

At the base of the slope they stand tall and straight. 

Pausing for breath as one ascends the steep gradient, one notices that where the forest thins out the pines have more space to spread their branches.

And finally you reach the tree line, where the poor pines struggle to survive in thin soils and are constantly buffeted by strong and freezing winds, and they grow all twisted and stunted. This vegetation is the aforementioned 'Krummholz', which is German for 'crumpled wood'. 

We were lucky on this hike. For once, the breeze was gentle, as the more observant of you will have deduced from the 'at rest' setting of my flappy little ears.

Happy Nature Friday folks!

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

A mountain walk inspires a haiku for our times

Upwards through soft pines,
To snow and a darkening chill.
So sudden a change.

PS A word from Gail: Bertie and I made a quick trip across to Torridon at the weekend for a long planned meeting with a builder to discuss upgrading the cottage (more on that in due course). Before returning home to Aberdeen we went for a hike round the Beinn Eighe Mountain Trail, a viciously steep but always exhilarating circuit, climbing from near sea level to 550 m. At the upper level we encountered more snow and ice than anticipated and the going was borderline 'adventurous'. We only saw two other people on the trail. You've no idea how much better I felt after this little expedition to the sub-arctic and back! Such a sense of freedom. I'll admit that, much as I understand their necessity, I am not at all looking forward to the movement restrictions which as of last night are being imposed in the UK.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Social Distancing Survival Kit

One bicycle and one dog.

PS Gail hid the 'one bottle of whisky' when taking the photograph...