Thursday, 27 May 2010

Peaks of the Far North West

Earlier this month we drove up to the far north west of Scotland. It was the first time I had seen the magnificent peaks of Assynt in close proximity.

We had planned to hiked Stac Polliadh at the end of the first day, but the weather had turned and we were both pretty tired, so decided if the next day was better then we would do it. Unfortunately, my other half was fighting a cold and with a four hour drive back home in front of him, we decided to do a couple of shorter walks. As soon as we can get back up, we shall be doing Stac Pollaidh!

Despite low cloud, we did manage glimpses of Suilven, etc. I took the following photos between 5.30 and 6.30am!

Stac Pollaidh
Stac Pollaidh and Cul Beag

Cul Mor, Stac Polliadh, Cul Beag, Beinn an Eoin - approx 5.30am
Stac Pollaidh
Stac Polliadh, Cul Beag, Beinn an Eoin
Stac Pollaidh
Looking back at the hillsSuilven

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Corrieshalloch Gorge & Falls of Measach

This is an incredibly impressive gorge near Ullapool. A walk across the suspension bridge or onto the viewing platform is not recommended for those with no head for heights - I could just about stomach it!

This sheer-sided gorge drops 61m (200 ft), with the Falls of Measach falling 46m (150 ft).

Rogie Falls, Highlands

Rogie Falls is in Torrachilty Forest, near Contin, west of Inverness.

I nice woodland trail leads you to the Blackwater River. Following the riverside path, you soon see Rogie Falls. The best view was from the suspension bridge.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Norman's Law, Fife

A walk up Norman's Law in northern Fife. The hill is 285 m (935 ft).

There were a lot of buzzards flying about and the bluebells were starting to open.

I'm sure this calf is smiling!

View of the Tay bridgesDistant Grampian mountains
View to East and West Lomond from the summit

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bird & Wildlife Watching in the Far North West

On 5th May we travelled up to the far north west of Scotland, stopping in various locations for some lovely walks. I was very lucky to see some great birds and wildlife.

The day's wildlife watching started as we were driving north along the A9. I spotted an Osprey flying above the River Tay and parallel to the road. A really good view of it.

Next, I spotted a red kite close to the road driving near Muir of Ord, Inverness-shire. Last time I drove along that way I also had a good view of a kite.

We then did a forest walk just north of Contin. I spotted what I thought was a mouse running up the tree, then saw it was a treecreeper. It was just a few feet from me, I quickly got out the camera and would've had a cracking shot of it but I didn't have the right setting on and it wouldn't focus (typical!)... changed the setting, then my dog went over to the tree and the treecreeper moved to a tree further up! So I didn't get my photo.

Once we reached the north west, we found a beautiful spot at Achnahaird and I was able to watch Black-Throated, Red-Throated and Great Northern (a first for me) Divers as well as a couple of Red-Breasted Mergansers. Because we were parked higher than the sea and remained in the car watching, they often came in quite close by.

I forgot my bird guide, though, so had to try and identify what turned out to be the Great Northern Diver from some photos once I got home.

There was also a wheatear and pied wagtail, both of which kept approaching the car.

The following day during a walk in Little Assynt area, I heard my first cuckoos of the year - there were two calling to each other. A flock of geese also flew overhead, close enough to hear their wings beating.

As well as the bird life, there were plenty of Red Deer at dawn as we drove around from 5.30am onwards. I spotted three running across the sand of the bay.

It was a wonderful couple of days.

Some photos - how I wish I had a better zoom though!

Black-Throated Diver
Great Northern Diver
This creature's life seems to be going around in circles!Female and male Red-Breasted Mergansers
Red Deer by the roadside
And running across the bay
Geese flying overhead
All text and photographs copyright Karen Hartnell and may not be reproduced in any way.

Ben Vorlich, Perthshire

On Friday I hiked up Ben Vorlich in Perthshire. Ben Vorlich is a munro, rising to 985 m (3231 ft), and it's been on my 'To Do' list for a long time, having viewed it from my walks in the Ochil Hills on many occasions. This was my 25th Munro.

My otherhalf hiked this one and it's neighbour, Stuc a Chroin, a few years ago when they were in winter's grip, but I'm glad to say that the snow was now only to be found in a few spots upon the hill. My Labrador was pleased to see a nice patch of snow by the summit as he likes nothing better than rolling in it!

It was a beautiful sunny day, with a keen NE wind. The views were pretty clear, stretching across to Ben Nevis.

Ben Vorlich
Looking across to Ben Lawers
Stob Binnein and Ben MoreLooking up to the summitStanding by the summit trig point looking across to the cairn
Corbie enjoying a roll in the snow, with Stuc a'Chroin behindLooking back towards the trig point Ben Nevis
Spotted this lamb feeding as we neared the end of the walk

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Walk in the Evening Sunlight

Have just been out to take some photos of the lovely evening here - blue sky, sunshine and a hot air balloon passed overhead.