We awoke to see condensation on the bedroom window and in the condensation was the outline of a large bird that had collided with the window. To the left there also seems to be the outline of a smaller bird so we think this was probably a sparrow-hawk chasing a small bird from the bird table that is just outside in the garden. Click on the picture for a larger version.
In the top section of the garden there is an outcrop of bedrock that seemed like a good starting point for a bed for rockery and alpine plants. We dug out around the rocks then had a tour around some of the local plant nurseries to find plants to populate it. We went to Elmlea in Minigaff, Bayview Nursery in Wigtown and Claymoddie near Whithorn and came back with a nice selection of plants. We also added a few of the plants that we had brought from Aberdeen. It’s still looking a bit sparse this year but it should fill out nicely over the next year or so.
The long summer evenings in Scotland are good for enjoying the local countryside. Cally Woods are part of the grounds of Cally House (now the Cally Palace Hotel) and are managed as part of the Galloway Forest Park with some walking, biking and horse-riding trails and a healthy population of red squirrels. I went out there on my mountain bike last week enjoyed a ride around the the trails although some of them are a bit overgrown. There are some Rosnes Benches in these woods (see previous post) but they are hidden amongst the bracken and vegetation at this time of year and I could not find them.
The evening sun filtering through the trees.
Last weekend we went for a hike over the Clints of Dromore. The Clints form a rocky ridge overlooking the head of the Fleet Valley a few miles inland from Gatehouse of Fleet. The walking route is well way marked with wooden posts but the conditions underfoot are quite challenging with deep heather and quite a few boggy sections. Luckily we have had very little rain here in the last few weeks so the boggy sections were about as dry as they ever get. At the top of the first part of the ridge we came across an installation of “Rosnes Benches“. These benches can be found at a number of well-hidden locations around the Galloway Forest Park. The idea of the benches is to get people out into the countryside to experience the special atmosphere of selected locations. You can sit on them and admire the view or lie on them to watch the clouds float by.
We hiked on up and along the ridge and on the next section of the ridge we could see a sculpture called “Hush” by Matt Baker. You may need to click on the picture to see it in more detail.
From a distance it looks like a few boulders perched on the ridge but when you get up to it you can see that each boulder has a mouth carved out of it.
The sculpture’s title is carved into the bedrock nearby and is already blending in amongst the lichen. Gabrielle could not resist the sight of all of those lips puckering up, waiting to be kissed!
The route continues through increasingly rough terrain, indicated by marker posts strategically placed so that you can usually just see the next one as you reach east post. Eventually we reached the end of the ridge and dropped down to contour along beneath the Clints of Dromore and back to the line of the old railway track that took us back to our starting point.
Hanging from the side of an old railway cutting was another Matt Baker sculpture called “Ocean” and we also saw a newt lurking in a puddle on the track. There are three other sculptures in remote locations within the Cairnsmore Nature Reserve so we will have to plan another trip to the area later in the year.