Monday, August 14, 2017

More exploring including the Isle of May

We've carried on exploring our local area and beyond here in Scotland.  One day we'd planned a hill walk but the weather looked ominous so we decided Plan B would be to visit Blackness Castle by walking from Bo'ness:


It's a very exploreable castle and quite photogenic too:


It's described as the 'ship that never sailed' due to the shape and location, alongside the water of the Forth.

We've also been walking up hills again.   I visited the NNR on Ben Lawers again and extended the visit by walking most of the way up Beinn Ghlas however there's one particular section of rock, stair-like, with extensive drops:



I explored off the path for a less steep way up on this particular section but couldn't find one and with time ticking on decided to head back down.   If i didn't have vertigo i'd have done a number of Munros by now.   The views on the ascent and descent were as usual breathtaking:


I then had a long pause around a small series of dental operations which thankfully were an outstanding success.   My thanks to the professionalism of the NHS and NHS dentistry in Scotland. 

Once i'd recovered it was time to head out again though the summer had passed in a blur it's now mid-August and already feeling Autumnal this far North.  I still however wanted to visit the Isle of May.  Having booked a day with an afternoon sailing i had spare time in the morning on the way to Anstruther so decided to stop first at South Queensferry:


And then North Queensferry to see and photograph the bridges over the Forth:















From there to a busy Anstruther, packed with tourists enjoying the sunshine and the beach.  I sought peace and quiet at the end of the harbour to enjoy my lunch:


Before boarding the May Princess and heading back out to the Isle of May.  The sea condition was frankly idyllic:


 We did land this time, unsurprisingly, and got to explore the now near-deserted Island.   The majority of the birds having left during the previous week.  That was a shame but it was still good to explore the place:


Not all the birds were gone.   Kitiwake fledglings were still roosting on the cliffs and the Island still hosted a number of gulls including these Lesser Black-backed Gulls


The freshwater reservoir was a popular spot for the Island's remaining inhabitants for bathing and drinking: 

I even saw a Red Admiral sunbathing on Ragwort:


The boat left after a few hours and we completed our circuit of the Island taking in 'The Bishop' rock formation on the way:


The next day we had guests arrive from Cornwall and had a great evening together before dragging them up to the Southern Highlands for some exploring.

We took in Loch Venachar, Loch Arkay, Loch Katrine before ascending Ben A'an, a short sharp ascent of only 1,500 feet but worth it, both for the views:




And because I finally managed a summit, it felt really good grabbing hold of the summit rock, i'd achieved something indeed we all had.

After lunch we rounded off the afternoon by visiting Rob Mulholland's 'Still' sculpture in Loch Earn:


It's a very eerie art installation and well worth a visit.   So that's me caught up for now then.... hopefully the arrival of some sunshine means more getting out and about, though the DIY is calling, still plenty of cold, dark days ahead...

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