Saturday, October 01, 2016

Start of Autumn in Scotland

So, right now we're living in Hamilton and have sufficiently settled to enable me to catch-up with some blogging.  We picked Hamilton from the map because of its connections (road North and South, rail to Glasgow) and absent any other specific information.

Our first home was a very small flat, rented by the day in the South-West of the town, just off the motorway and close to Chatelherault Country Park.   Our first weekend there the sun was shining so we walked down for an explore:

Scotland seems to do tourism really rather well.   They have free leaflets and brochures and Visit Scotland offices dotted about and it's inviting and friendly, as indeed are all the people we've met thus far, a pleasant change to the colder more distant and hurried English culture.

The walk into the Country Park meanders along a pleasant river valley which is also a Nature Reserve and home to a family of dippers.   We literally left our flat, walked to the edge of town, turned a corner and saw Dippers!

The Country Park is enormous with views of the whole valley including Hamilton, Motherwell and their conurbations.

Our next spare weekend we headed further afield, picking Inveraray.  We had though about Fort William but as it was still holiday season the hotels were all full, so B&B in Inveraray it was.

After a pleasant drive we started off walking through town and generally exploring, this is the war memorial on the edge of Loch Fyne:

We didn't visit the castle, only paid to park and used the parking ticket to offset a light lunch, which was a good deal, then climbed the hill/folly for cracking views back down into Inveraray.  We kept bumping into people carrying coats and had ourselves turned away from a garden not 10 miles from the town due to rain but all was sunshine and heat, as evidenced by this Scotch Argus nectaring:

Our walk into town for dinner enabled us to enjoy the evening light over the Loch:

After a great dinner at the pizzeria in town and a reasonable night's sleep the morning was beautiful, well worth taking a few pictures of the cloud reflected over an unusually still Loch:

With Inveraray as a backdrop:

We enjoyed further views and scenery as we headed to the two RSPB reserves on the other side of Loch Lomond, quite a drive:

The first is brand new and still mostly a muddy track and fields, the second at Inversnaid is down a single track road and basically you just explore the area.   We opted for the upland walk:

Seeing Meadow Pipits all around the trail:

Faded Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary:

Scotch Argus:

An amazing landscape:

Pretty waterfalls (the ground was quite boggy in parts):

It's a lovely spot and I suspect you can walk for miles and miles without meeting another soul.  We've even invested in a decent GPS to facilitate walking, hiking and hill walking,

The route back took us through Stirling, a city we need to visit more thoroughly, i couldn't resist a quick picture of the Wallace Monument when we stopped for fuel:

Aside from the challenges of moving, repeatedly, being isolated from our friends and family we have already enjoyed the start of our time in Scotland and look forward to exploring the place much more thoroughly in the coming years!


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