Sunday, 4 September 2016

Celebrating the Flowering of the Heather

The Japanese have a festival and take a holiday to celebrate cherry blossom time, and the Scottish highlands really should really make as much fuss over the flowering of the heather, usually through late August into September.  One of the best places around here for a promenade through the heather is Ockle, so we walked east from from the village this morning, following the track to Eilagadale, then turning south and climbing into increasingly rough land.

Sadly, it's not the vintage year for heather blossom we'd expected, and the weather was grey rather than the bright sunshine needed to make the best of the colour. Undeterred, we walked over the hills and down into the glen Allt Eas a Ghaidheil, the burn of the Gael's waterfall, where....

....we found that the local caterpillar population wasn't at all bothered about the heather flowering as long as the leaves were succulent.

For the next couple of kilometres we followed this beautiful little burn upstream, then turned west, climbing into land underlain by hard, metamorphosed sandstones, a bare and rough landscape....

....where one of today's weather features the BBC had warned us of - slow moving but heavy showers - sat over us for half an hour.

The area is littered with erratics, great lumps of rock torn up, moved, and then dumped by the glaciers that covered the area 10,000 and more years ago.

As we descended into the Ockle glen we were watched by this fox. He wasn't bothered by us, more curious, and only moved away with reluctance, stopping again to watch us before finally disappearing into the forestry.

By this time the weather was clearing out to sea over the Small Isles so we sat on one of the erratics and enjoyed a cheese, tomato and midge roll and watched as a breeze....

....began to roll the clouds away over Ben Hiant and the sun steadily came out.

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