We spent Monday morning at the cottage just enjoying the views and the amazing wildlife on our doorstep, we watched a female sparrowhawk chasing after a couple of Jays and a brief view of a Fox in a small field opposite.
photo of a female Sparrowhawk
In the afternoon we headed out to the nearby national nature reserve of Ben Lawers. Ben Lawers is actually a mountain and the highest in the southern highlands with the surrounding land of almost 4,500 hectares owned and managed by the National Trust. It is home to numerous rare plants and lichens and birds like the Raven and Ptarmigan can be seen around its slopes. We parked up and went for a walk, the views were really quite stunning as you can see from these photos:
We came across a flower by a wet area at the edge of the a path called Cross Leaved Heath which is a type of Heather. Also in the photo bottom left is Devils bit Scabious. Cross leaved Heath has been used in the production of Harris Tweed
Check out this link for more info: https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/species/cross-leaved-heath/
We opted not to walk to the summit though but stayed around the lower slopes and enjoyed what the reserve had to offer. It was a beautiful walk and the rain stayed away which is always a bonus.
The flowers in the last photo are Harebells. Did you know that If you dream about Harebells It is meant to symbolize True Love!
Check this link for more info on the Harebell. https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/plant-fungi-species/harebell
My wife having a rest at Ben Lawers nature reserve. After her previous big hill climb yesterday I was assured this was a much easier walk!
After we left Ben Lawers, we drove down the length of Loch Tay to the small village of Kenmore where we went for a short walk down to the river and explored the local church.
Even the local Ducks came to say hello
Check this link for more info on Kenmore https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/kenmore-p244521
The church (kirk of kenmore) looked quite different compared to some I have seen with the most amazing windows as you can see from the photos. Check this link for more info: https://taylyonchurches.org.uk/kenmore-kirk/
Back at the cottage, the wildlife continued to delight with the young Red Deer Stag in the garden and a female in the opposite field with one of this years youngsters. The trailcams were set near the feeders. Would I get to see the elusive Pine Marten?
I was up early the next morning to check the cameras but they were blank. Still no Pine Marten, but the Red Deer delighted us with its presence first thing. Today (Tuesday) we were off to Pitlochry with a short stop in the town of Aberfeldy which was made famous by Robert Burns who wrote a poem/song lyrics about the Birks (birch trees) of Aberfeldy. http://www.robertburns.org/works/182.shtml
Pitlochry is situated in the heart of the Perthshire countryside surrounded by stunning scenery, woodland, lochs and a river and is a busy tourist town where people often stop on their way further north. It is perhaps well known for the dam and the fish ladder which allows the Atlantic Salmon to swim upstream into Loch Faskally. We took a walk down to the dam, crossed to the fish ladder and along the river and back across the pedestrian suspension bridge.
Near to where we had parked was a lovely place called Heathergems situated off Blair Athol road. It was a fascinating factory/shop using a special process to turn heather into Jewellery that you will find nowhere else in the world. When you walk in, there was a seating area where you could watch a video about the making of 'Heathergems' The following link takes you to their website and the video.
Here is a link to a short video on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpY_GxaJhT8 and 2 more about the dam and the town itself. Definitely worth a visit when you have the time. https://pitlochrydam.com/ https://www.pitlochry.org/
Some photos of our time in Pitlochry:
From 1 Dam to another as we left and headed back towards Ben Lawers nature reserve. but first some chocolate was called for and a stop at the award winning Highland Chocolatier about 20 mins from Pitlochry. It was a fabulous place, as soon as you set foot inside you could smell the chocolate. Chocolate Truffles, Bars, Drinking Chocolate and many other gifts could be bought in the shop. I bought a bar of plain chocolate and I must admit it was one of the best bars of chocolate I have tasted. I highly recommend this company, Have a look at their website, place an order and see for yourself just how good it is. https://highlandchocolatier.com/
Further up the road at the nature reserve where we were yesterday was yet another loch and a Dam. Magnificent scenery all around. We walked up to the bottom of the dam, it was huge, even made me look small! See for yourself from my photos just how stunning this area is.
If you look closely at the last photo you can pick out me stood at the bottom of the dam.
Time now for a bit of a moffy interlude:
As you may well be aware from my previous blogs, I am quite mad about moths. For our Scottish holiday I bought my 50w Mercury Vapour light trap along to have a look at what moths I could find in the garden to go along with all the other wildlife that is here. I trapped on the 18th and 19th Sept, 1 night got rained off and the last night I caught absolutely nothing.
I recorded 10 species over the 2 nights. Here is a list of what I found:
Rosy Rustic, Spruce Carpet, Small Wainscot, Grey Pine Carpet, Dark Arches, Ear Moth species, Dark Marbled Carpet, Frosted Orange, Common Marbled Carpet and Pink Barred Sallow.
I hope you have enjoyed part 2 of a Scottish Adventure, come back for part 3 to see if I have finally seen a Pine Marten and find out what all the excitement was over some poo.