Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Bridges of the Forth and the ‘Kidnapped’ Inn

Recently I travelled to Queensferry with my friend and our kick-scooters. Since I bought my scooter it has cause much discussion and some laughter, I might add, but I have encouraged some friends to buy one as well.

We travelled on the CrossCountry train from Motherwell to Edinburgh Waverley and took a bus to Queensferry. Our journey on this day would take us over the Forth Road Bridge on our kick-scooters to North Queensferry to get some spectacular views of the Forth Rail Bridge.

Forth Road Bridge

The Forth Road Bridge was opened on 4 September 1964 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was the largest suspension bridge in Europe at the time of opening. The total length is 2.5km including the approaches to the bridge. It joins South Queensferry with North Queensferry over the River Forth.

Forth Road Bridge

Forth Road Bridge

Side view of the Bridge

Forth Road Bridge

Forth Road Bridge

View of the Rail Bridge from The Forth Road Bridge.

Forth Rail Bridge

Forth Rail Bridge from the Road Bridge

The Road Bridge from North Queensferry

Forth Road Bridge from North Queensferry

Forth Road Bridge from North Queensferry

There are two lanes on the bridge which slopes upwards at the centre with cycle lanes and a footpath on both sides it. Most people will walk on the Rail
Bridge side rather than on the other side, which only gives views of the Royal Naval Dockyards at Rosyth.

As we ‘scootered’ over the Bridge we stopped to look over at the scenery. The cyclelane/footpath was fairly busy with both cyclists and walkers and the two of us on kick-scooters! Some trains could be seen travelling on the Rail Bridge either going to Edinburgh or Fife.

Kingdom of Fife and North Queensferry

At the other side of the Bridge we were in the Kingdom of Fife and decided to make the short trip down to North Queensferry to view the bridges from the other side of the River Forth. The sun was overhead and making photography difficult.

St Mary’s Episcopal Church

We then travelled back over the Bridge to South Queensferry to view some of the significant buildings in the town. The oldest building is St Mary’s Episcopal Church, also known as the Priory Church, which was built for the Carmelite Order of friars in the 1450s.

St Mary's Episcopal Church

St Mary’s Episcopal Church

It is the only medieval Carmelite church still in use in the British Isles, and is a category A listed building. After the Scottish Reformation of 1560 it was used as a parish church until 1635. It has been used as a place of worship since 1890 when it was reconsecrated for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Town of South Queensferry

The town has an old-world feel to it as most of the buildings are very old and have not been modernised. The road is cobbled, which adds to the character of the town.

South Queensferry

South Queensferry

More views of the High Street

South Queensferry

South Queensferry

Jubilee Clock

The Jubilee Clock in the High Street was another feature which caught our eye. It is situated in the Tolbooth and dates from the 17th century. The clock commemorates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee which was on the 20 and 21 June 1887.

Jubilee Clock

Jubilee Clock South Queensferry

High Street Houses

The houses in the High Street were mainly terraced and brightly painted and retained their original character.

Travelling along the footpath, we were able to get great views of both bridges and the towns on the other side of the Forth.

The Forth Bridges

The Forth Bridges

South Queensferry Harbour

The small harbour is used by two ferry companies who operate a service to Inchcolm Island. We took The Maid of the Forth to Inchcolm Island and this will be the subject of my next article

Hawes Inn

Hawes Inn

Hawes Inn where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote ‘Kidnapped’

This 16th century inn was made famous by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who was inspired to write his classic novel ‘Kidnapped’ while staying in room 13 in 1886.

The inn is situated almost below the Forth Rail bridge and RLS’s affection for South Queensferry is reflected in his character’s words on his return from the Highlands: “It was a fairly built burgh, the houses of good stone, many slated…it put me to shame for foul tatters”.

Another Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, mentioned the inn ‘The Antiquary’ who called it ‘a very decent sort of place’.

The inn retains its old -world appearance – the owners once tried to upgrade it in 2001 but it caused such a rumpus that they decided to leave it as it was!

Forth Rail Bridge

The 2.5 km Forth Railway Bridge was the world’s first major steel bridge. Construction began in 1883 by Tancred–Arrol and was formally completed on 4 March 1890 when HRH Edward Prince of Wales tapped into place a ‘golden’ rivet.

The main crossing comprises tubular struts and lattice-girder ties in three double-cantilevers each connected by 105m of ‘suspended’ girder spans resting on cantilever ends secured by man-sized pins. The outside double-cantilever shoreward ends carry weights of about 1000 tonnes to counter-balance half the weight of the suspended span and live load.

Forth Rail Bridge

Forth Rail Bridge

‘Bikers Cove’

Before leaving for home, we had a cup of tea at the ‘Bikers Cove’ cafe just next to the Hawes Inn. Our kick-scooters looked a bit out of place as the other ‘wheels’ were Harley Davidson’s, Honda Gold Wings and some BMW’s.

Bikers Cove

Bikers Cove

It had been a great day with a cloudless blue sky, bright sunshine and temperatures of 23c. What more could you ask for?

Further Information

South Queensferry is Eight miles northwest of Edinburgh city centre located at the southern end of the two mighty Forth Bridges.

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Inchcailloch – Loch Lomond

Went on a trip with the my friends from the Scottish Wildlife Trust today to Inchcailloch on Loch lomond.

The weather was lovely and quite warm and helped make it a day to remember. Thanks to Sheila and Robin who picked me up from Hyndland Station in Glasgow and drove me to Balmaha and saved me a trek there by public transport.

Balmaha

At Balmaha we met the other members of the group and took the ferry to the island. It was only a 6 minute journey and a nice and smooth one.

Inchcailloch Island from Balmaha

Inchcailloch Island from Balmaha

Inchcailloch

Inchcailloch is one of the larger islands on loch Lomond near Balmaha on the south of the Loch. The name  means “Isle of the old woman” or “Isle of the Coweled Woman” after Saint Kentigerna who came to Scotland from Ireland in 717AD to preach and spread Christianity.

The Pier is on the north of the island and we walked in an anti-clockwise direction round the island. The Bluebells were in bloom and covered large areas of the island.

‘Dung Beetles’

There were also large numbers of beetles on the footpath called ‘Dung Beetles’ which play an important role in agriculture. They bury and consuming dung, and as a result, they improve  soil structure. They also protect livestock by removing the dung which could provide a habitat for pests. On the island there are Fallow Deer and the Dung Beetles help protect them.

Dung Beetles

Dung Beetles

Inchcailloch Graveyard

There is a graveyard on the north of the Island and the remains of a church which was built in the 12th century and dedicated to St Kentigerna. Until the 18th Century, people from the mainland rowed across  for worship and to bury their dead.

‘Coffin Valley’

The church was abandoned in 1670 but the graveyard was used until 1947. The path leading to the graveyard was known as ‘Coffin Valley’ as the dead were carried here on their way to the graveyard.

Inchcailloch Graveyard

Inchcailloch Graveyard

The Graveyard was used by the Clan MacGregor and some of Rob Roy’s ancestors are buried there.

Old Farmhouse

To our left was Loch Lomond, but it were obscured by the trees. On the way to the beach at Port Bawn, on the south of the island, we passed the remains of an old farmhouse which was last inhabited in around 1770.

Remains of an Old Farmhouse

Remains of an Old Farmhouse

Industrial Revolution

In the late 18th Century the land was planted with oak trees for the production of Pyroligineous Acid which was used in industry to soften the leather belts used to drive machinery. Processing the oak bark was carried out at the Liquor Works, at Balmaha which is  now the Highland Way Inn.

Port Bawn

At Port Bawn we stopped on the beach for lunch. It was quite busy – the weather had got warmer and it was very pleasant. Walk leader, Ruth, brought some home made flapjacks, which were excellent. An Osprey was seen catching a fish in the Loch and taking it to feed its young.

Summit of Inchcailloch

We then proceeded to the highest point of the Island, at 85 meters, to get fabulous views of Ben Lomond, Bein Bhreac, BeinnDubh Conic Hill, Inchfad Island and Glen Luss. Some walkers could be seen on Conic Hill and there were many small sailing boats on the Loch.

View from Top of Inchcailloch

View from Top of Inchcailloch

Glen Luss can be seen to the left  in the photograph below.

Loch Lomond and Glen Luss

Loch Lomond and Glen Luss

The islands of Torrinch, Creinch and  Inchmurrin can be seen in the photograph below. Inchmurrin is the largest island on Loch lomond.

Islands of Torrinch, Creinch and  Inchmurrin

Islands of Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin

Conic Hill

Conic Hill is a sharp little summit rising above Balmaha. Right on the Highland Boundary Fault, this short hillwalk offers truly fantastic views over Loch Lomond and its many islands.

Conic Hill

Conic Hill

Birds and Plants

On the walk we saw a Tawney Owl, a Woodpecker, male and female Crossbills, Wood Warblers, Wren, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Canada Geese and Tree Pippit.  There were also some interesting flowers such as the Yellow Pimpernel, Bitter Watercress, Wood Sorrell and Climbing Corydalis.

Highland Boundary Fault

The Highland Boundary Fault is a strike-slip fault that traverses Scotland from Arran and Helensburgh on the west coast to Stonehaven in the east. It separates two distinctly different physiographic and geological terranes – the Highlands from the Lowlands.

‘Pudding Stone’

The loch islands of Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch, and Inchcailloch all form part of the Highland Boundary Fault. On Inchcailloch could be seen ‘pudding stone’ or conglomerate which was formed more than 400 million years ago when rivers flowed down from mountains and brought sand, silt and pebbles with it. These solidified to create ‘pudding stone’ or conglomerate.

Conglomerate or Pudding Stone

Conglomerate or Pudding Stone

A good example of conglomerate was seen on the path down towards the Pier at the end of our walk. The ferry came at 16.00 as agreed to take us back to Balmaha.

Ferry Home

Ferry to Balmaha

It had been a fabulous day out thanks to our leader Ruth and all the SWT members of the group who provided such interesting information about the island and its wildlife.

Further Information:
Scottish Wildlife Trust:
www.swt.org.uk

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
www.lochlomond-trossachs.org

Balmaha Boatyard (MacFarlane & Son)
http://www.balmahaboatyard.co.uk

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Greylag Geese and Chicks

Walking round Strathclyde Park in Motherwell I spotted these Greylag Geese and chicks.

Greylag Geese

‘Lets all go for a Swim’

Geese and chicks on grass beside the Loch

Greylag Geese

‘Follow me to the Loch’

Across the footpath

Greylag Geese

‘Across this busy footpath’

Into the water

Greylag Geese

‘Into the Loch for a Swim’

Swimming in the Loch

Greylag Geese

‘Swim nicely. There are people watching you’

It was lovely to watch.

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Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is situated in the east of the city, north of High Street next to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. It is an important Christian building because it was the only cathedral in Scotland which was not destroyed at the Scottish Reformation in 1560. It is also known as  St Kentigern’s or St Mungo’s Cathedral.

Pre-Reformation

It dates from before the Scottish Reformation and was the main Roman Catholic church of the Archdiocese of Glasgow before 1560. It was consecrated on 6th July 1197. The final pre-Reformation custodian was Archbishop James Beaton who fled to Paris in 1560, taking with him the Cathedral’s relics and valuable ornamentation.

NB: The Reformation refers to the group of individuals who objected to the doctrines, rituals, and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church and was led in Scotland by John Knox.

Post-Reformation

John Knox stressed the importance of bible teaching and preaching and the large cathedral buildings were not required. Glasgow Cathedral remained intact because it was used to house three seperate congregations.

The building is currently maintained by the Government and is still used as a place of worship by the Church of Scotland.

Diamond Jubilee Service

On June 4th Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend a Jubilee Thanksgiving Service at the Cathedral. There are special pews in the Cathedral for members of the Royal Family.

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

St Mungo’s Tomb

The interior of the Cathedral has many small rooms and memorials. The main memorial is of St Mungo – this was a great centre of Christian pilgrimage until the Scottish Reformation. His remains are said to still rest in the crypt.

The current motto of  Glasgow City ‘Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of His word and the praising of His name‘ often abbreviated to ‘Let Glasgow flourish‘ was inspired by St Mungo’s original call “Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word”.

Tomb of St Mungo

Tomb of St Mungo

St Mungo (or Saint Kentigern) was the late 6th century apostle of the Kingdom of Strathclyde and patron saint and founder of the city of Glasgow.

The cloth covering the tomb (which is used as a communion table) was designed by Malcolm Lochead who currently teaches Design at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The design is based on the rhyme concerning the miracles  of Saint Mungo:

Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam

The patchwork cloth uses fifty shades of silk dupion in patches  ranging from half an inch by two inches to two inches square.  The front of the cloth  represents the warmth of the Church with an image of a tree (Mungo) a burning bush (Church of Scotland) and the cranes of the ship yards which
made Glasgow great.

The east face represents the river Clyde with a silver bell and a fish to representing Saint Mungo. Fifty-four members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Embroiderers’ Guild created the embrodery.

The above image shows the east face of the tomb.

Glasgow City Crest

Glasgow City Crest

The above photograph shows the miracles of St Mungo on top of a lamp-post outside the Cathedral.

The Quire

This dates from the middle of the 13th century. The great East Window was added in 1951 and shows the writers of the Gospels, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. The Gospels are the first four books of the New Testament in the Christian Bible and document the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ.

The seating is arranged with the pews facing east in the manner of Reformed worship. The pews were originally installed between 1851-1856 and were refashioned in 1957 with donations from members of the public and businesses.

The Quire (Facing East)

The Quire (Facing East)

The ceiling of the Quire has oak carvings .

Oak Ceiling of the Quire

Oak Ceiling of the Quire

Blacadder’s Aisle

Blacadder’s Aisle has a ceiling of which contains the finest examples of carved bosses in Scotland. Blacadder was Archbishop between 1483 and 1508. After the Reformation, the Aisle was the burying place of Ministers of the Cathedral.

Blacadder's Aisle Ceiling

Blacadder’s Aisle Ceiling

The Aisle is still used as a place of worship today.

Blacadder Aisle

Blacadder Aisle

The Aisle also has some beautiful stained glass depicting Biblical characters. The windows below depict the Mary being told by the Angel Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus Christ.

Stained Glass Window from Blacadder's Aisle

Stained Glass Window from Blacadder’s Aisle

The Law Monument

The 17th century monument of Archbishop James Law (1615-1632) almost completely conceals the windows in the Chapel of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence.

Archbishop Law was an Archbishop of Glasgow and was a generous benefactor to schools and hospitals in Glasgow.

Law Monument

Law Monument

The above are some highlights of Glasgow Cathedral. There are many more areas of the Cathedral to explore and spend time on. To appreciate the building and its history it is worth spending a few hours there.

Guided walks are also available where experienced guides will take visitors around the Cathedral and explaining the building and past events in more detail.

Further Details
Address: Glasgow Cathedral, Castle Street, Glasgow, G4
Opening Hours:
Between 09.30 and 17.30 April to September
Between 09.30 and 16.30 October to March

Web:
http://www.glasgowcathedral.org.uk/

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C’mon the ‘Well

Today I went to watch Motherwell FC (‘The Steelmen’) in their match against Dundee United at Fir Park, Motherwell. This was the last game of the season and tickets were only 5 British Pounds, rather than the usual 22 British Pounds.

Motherwell FC Crest

Motherwell FC Crest

The stadium was almost full and the atmosphere was nice and friendly. Motherwell prides itself in being a family-friendly club and there is never any trouble at their games. The football stadium is also known as ‘Fir Park’

Phil O’Donnell (1972-2007)

Our seats were in the Main Stand which was re-named the ‘Phil O’Donnell Stand’ after the late Motherwell and Celtic footballer who had a cardiac arrest in a match on 29th December, 2007 against Dundee United and died later in hospital.

The Phil O’Donnell stand is a wooden stand and the wooden seats were a bit warmer than the usual plastic ones. Today it was very cold, but fortunately I was wearing a windproof fleece jacket, woolly Motherwell hat and thick gloves. Many of the other fans were under-dressed for the weather as they could be seen shivering.

Start of the Match

Start of the Match

Claret and Amber

Motherwell colours are claret and amber, although the initial colours of the club were blue and white until the start of the 1913/14 season. It was often believed that these were the racing colours of Lord Hamilton of Dalziel, but later research proved this incorrect. The colours were probably influenced by Bradford City FA who won the FA cup in 1911.

Motherwell V Dundee Utd

Motherwell V Dundee Utd

European Nights at Fir Park Next Season

Motherwell have had a successful season after finishing third in the Scottish Premier League and gaining entry into next season’s Champion’s League. Big European nights will be back at Fir Park next season.

Manager Stuart McColl and his assistant Kenny Black and all the coaching and back-room staff have done a good job with the team.

Motherwell FC Stadium

Motherwell FC Stadium

Today’s Score: 2-0 to Dundee United

The game itself was a bit of a disappointment for the Motherwell fans who saw their team lose two easy goals from Johnny Russell and John Daly. Despite the long journey from Dundee, there were a large number of Dundee Utd fans at the game.

However, it was still a day to celebrate – the good league position and the entry into Europe.

Club Captain Stephen Craigan Retires

Club captain Stephen Craigan played his final game for the club after announcing his retiral from the game last week. The 35-year-old Northern Ireland international played for the club 378 times and will now begin a career in the media. He played for 75 minutes before being substituted.

Scottish Cup Triumphs

Motherwell have won the Scottish Cup on two occasions – in 1952 and 1991. Tragically, four players from the cup-winning side of 1991 died young. These were Davie Cooper, Phil O’Donnell, Jamie Dolan and Paul McGrillan.

‘The Steelmen’

Motherwell FC are also known as ‘The Steelmen’ as Motherwell was once the   steel production capital of Scotland. The large steelworks of  David Colville & Sons in the 19th and 20th centuries were re-named Ravenscraig in 1967 when the steelworks were nationalised by the Labour Government.

British Steel was created to manage the steelworks after nationalisation.  Ravenscraig was one of the largest steelworks in the world before it ceased production in 1992. Its closure marked the end of large-scale steel making in Scotland.

Next Season

Plenty to look forward to next season and hopefully ‘Well will progress in all competitions.

C’mon the ‘Well

Further Information:

Fir Park Stadium
Firpark Street
Motherwell
North Lanarkshire
Scotland
ML1 2QN

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Glasgow Necropolis – City of the Dead

In the 19th and 20th Centuries Glasgow was a prosperous city, its wealth created by trading with the West Indies and the Americas. It was also a major producer of heavy engineering, including ship-building.

Glasgow Necropolis

Early in the 19th Century a cemetery was built in the East of the City, adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral (also called St Mungo’s Cathedral) and the Royal Infirmary. The Glasgow Necropolis was built on a low, but very prominent hill and fifty thousand individuals are buried there. It was modelled on the Pere la Chaise cemetery in Paris

Many of the merchants who made Glasgow the ‘Second City of the British Empire’ are buried there.

Entrance to Glasgow Necropolis

Entrance to Glasgow Necropolis

Typically for the period, only a small percentage are named on monuments and not every grave has a stone. Approximately 3500 monuments exist there.

Ornate Entrance Gates

Ornate gates at the entrance to the Necropolis were erected in 1838 and lead to a bridge over a small river. The bridge was completed in 1833 and became known as the “Bridge of Sighs” because it was part of the route of funeral processions.

Entrance Gates at Glasgow Necropolis

Entrance Gates at Glasgow Necropolis

Between the main gates and the bridge are memorials to still-born children, the Korean War and Glaswegian recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Memorial to Stillborn Children

Memorial to Stillborn Children

Layout of the Necropolis

The cemetery was laid out as an informal park, as was common in Victorian cemeteries. Modern cemeteries have a grid layout. The paths of the cemetery lead to the top of the hill where most of the larger monuments are.

The tallest monument in the cemetery is that of John Knox, Protestant Reformer, and many of the larger momuments are clustered around this statue.

John Knox Monument, Glasgow Necropolis

John Knox Monument, Glasgow Necropolis

While most of the monuments are of Christians, there are memorials to people of other faiths. Many of the memorials are intricately decorated and many display a Celtic Cross.

Close-up of Memorial

Close-up of Memorial

The cemetery is very popular with tourists as it is a provides an insight into the Glasgow merchants who made Glasgow a prosperous city.

Glasgow Necropolis

Glasgow Necropolis

From the top, there are excellent views of the City and Glasgow Cathedral.

In recent years there has been moves to get volunteers to help maintain the cemetery to avoid it falling into disrepair.

Famous Memorials

There are many famous people buried in the cemetery. Some of these are included below.

Scottish Poet William Miller

William Miller

William Miller

William Miller was a Scottish poet who lived most of his life at No.4 Ark Lane in Dennistoun. He was the author of the poem ‘Wee Willie Winkie’.  He died in 1872.

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?
Hey, Willie Winkie, are you coming in?
The cat is singing purring sounds to the sleeping hen,
The dog’s spread out on the floor, and doesn’t give a cheep,
But here’s a wakeful little boy who will not fall asleep!
Anything but sleep, you rogue! glowering like the moon,’
Rattling in an iron jug with an iron spoon,
Rumbling, tumbling round about, crowing like a cock,
Shrieking like I don’t know what, waking sleeping folk.
Hey, Willie Winkie – the child’s in a creel!
Wriggling from everyone’s knee like an eel,
Tugging at the cat’s ear, and confusing all her thrums
Hey, Willie Winkie – see, there he comes!”
Weary is the mother who has a dusty child,
A small short little child, who can’t run on his own,
Who always has a battle with sleep before he’ll close an eye
But a kiss from his rosy lips gives strength anew to me

Major Archibald Douglas Monteath

Major Archibald Douglas Monteath Mausoleum

Major Archibald Douglas Monteath Mausoleum

Major Archibald Douglas Monteath of the East India Company also has a memorial in the cemetery. He was alleged to have made his fortune by acquiring the gems being carried by an elephant of one of the Maharajah.

His monument is based on the Knights Templar Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Charles Clark Mackirdy Monument

Charles Clark Mackirdy Monument

Charles Clark Mackirdy

Charles Clark Mackirdy (1811-1891) was the owner of a large cotton spinning company. He lived at 5 Blythswood Square Glasgow till his death at 80 years of age and was buried on Christmas Eve in 1891.

His monument is based on the popular design of Lysicrates with a Corinthian rotunda boasting unusually fine granite detail.

The Necropolis is worth a visit when in Glasgow.

Further Information

Glasgow Necropolis

Opening Hours: 07.00 until Dusk.

Location
Glasgow Necropolis
Castle Street
(Main Gates are Behind St Mungos’s Mungo’s Museum of Religous Life and Art)

—————-

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Some Spring Images

Some images I took on a walk today. Spring is well established now and Summer will soon be here.

Bluebells

Bluebells (Latin name: Scilla nonscripta) bloom between April and June.

It is thought that they were named by the romantic poets of the 19th century, who felt they symbolised solitude and regret.

Bluebells

Bluebells

Bluebells grow closely together and look like a carpet.

Bluebell 'Carpet'

Bluebell ‘Carpet’

Japanese Flowering Cherry

Many trees have blossom on them which will disappear all too soon. The image below is of a Japanese Flowering Cherry tree which flowers in April and May. It is a very popular tree in Scotland.

Japanese Flowering Cherry Tree

Japanese Flowering Cherry Tree

Small Fir Tree

A small fir tree was seen (possibly a Balsum Fir) with the cones beginning to form.

Small Fir Tree

Small Fir Tree

It was good to get a close-up look at the immature cones. However, my own favourite was the Bluebells.

Dead Tree

Dead Tree

This tree may have been dead but was providing a home to some moss!

 

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