Tuesday, 9 October 2012


I haven't checked the charts but somewhere over Britain must be the line where two weather systems are meeting. My parents on holiday in Dorset are having all the symptoms of a low pressure front. They're particularly enjoying the rain. In Stirling this was our fourth day in the row of skies passing for summer: calm and blue. But clear skies, particularly at night, give the air an added bite. Winter is settling in. It can be seen in the paleness of the blue and the skeins of geese crossing over, daily. Curiously no Redwings yet.
I walked over the bridge across the loch just before the sunset, pausing to take a picture. If I wasn't busy I would've waited for the sun to drop fully to reveal the rich colours that are just forming, waiting to paint that line of wispy cloud. It'll do though. The pre-sunset is better than no sunset at all.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Two Variations


A second consecutive day of sun; this time spent knee deep in the medieval poetry of Chaucer.

‘Nor other cure canstow noon for me.        
Eek I nil not be cured, I wol deye;
What knowe I of the quene Niobe?
Lat be thyne olde ensaumples, I thee preye.'

Indeed. The sky was a faded blue and I reclined on my bed, looking out the window. Wispy clouds and the occasional leaf rolled through on the gentle breeze. This is October. This is traditionally the season that should be spent digging fingernails into palms in stiff easterly winds by the coast, waiting for that unusual looking warbler to reappear (and to inevitably be just a Chiffchaff). This is the third week university slump though; my Hamlet phase when the uses of the outside world seem weary, stale, flat and unprofitable to me.

I pull myself together by five. By half five I’m out and walking up, but west not east. Instead of to the mountains, my regular route, I head along a road with a short hedge by a field that banks steeply downslope. I wasn’t the only one with the idea. The sun drops between the edges of the Hills of Touch and the Trossachs here. The Carse of Lecropt is bathed in cool shade with the stippled halos of trees catching the last rays of the sun. The hills are distant and grey and black.

 By half six the sun has sunk below the horizon. The other watchers leave, oddly, as the sun sinks, content with what they have seen. As the sun carries on its orbit below the horizon the colours get more vivid. The clouds, hitherto patchy, congeal into a giant mass; they burn orange-red, briefly, then disappear into dusk.
 (And twenty minutes later)


Eventually September rains itself out; eventually I get my required reading done. The afternoon, never productive time for me, was to be spent on a wild goose chase in the carse. This is never a particularly reliable target. You can walk down any country lane here one winter’s day and stumble across giant flocks that you’ll never find again in the same place, but you’ll never give up trying to find them there…

In the end, one small flock of Siskin in a hedge was hardly what I wanted for a seven mile walk. Feet aching and thighs on fire, and the first thing I find on getting back to my room in the flat was an orange sky outside. Walking east at dusk has its downsides. The crows that roost in the trees by the loch spread themselves against the sky, fold like origami and shoot off behind the other flats. Just in time for a quick shower of rain. Five minutes later the sky turns orange, grey, blue and yellow.

It seems very Scottish this photo. Nothing can quite escape the fingerprints of the rain.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Light and dark.

 Light, deciduous. Dark, evergreen.


(Aka: Geranium robertianum)

Simple Pleasures

I spent my afternoon with the Ravens. They tumbled off the hillside and into thermals, I merely sat on rocks and watched.

The king of crows.

They have a special flight style, I think, using all of their body to flip from gliding thermal to thermal, and to tumble off over cliffs and moors. It's not just the way that Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws fly from the wing, but the way a Raven gently twists its tail. It's... elegant, if that word doesn't seem too incongruous when applied to a beast of a bird that will take out the eyes of a new born lamb*.

To the west, showers rolled south over the carse, from the Trossachs to precipitate over the city.