11th September – Glen Coe, Glen Etive and Ballachulish

Glen Coe 21On Sunday we had a jaunt over towards the west, to Ballachulish and Appin, and our route took us through the wonderful scenery of Glen Coe.

We were last over that way in May this year, but the fresh greens are now tinged with gold and bronze.   The tourist traffic was out in force, with many cars and several coaches crammed into the few lay-bys along the Glen itself.

Glen Coe 11

Glen Coe leads eventually to Loch Linnhe which is a wide sea loch, and here we found a small pebbly beach to idle away a blissful hour.   It was warm in the sun, and the gentle waves seemed to be coming straight across from the blue hills of Morvern.

Ballachulish beach 73

Ballachulish beach 29On the way back, we decided to take a detour down Glen Etive, an offshoot of Glen Coe, which neither Colin nor I had ever been down before.   The road is a dead end, following the glen with its pretty waterfalls and woodlands for about 15 miles before culminating at the head of Loch Etive.

Glen Etive - Stob DeargIf the scenery of Glen Etive looks familiar, that could be because it was used in the filming of the latest Bond movie, ‘Skyfall';   it’s the location of Bond’s ancestral home, to which he and M flee from danger in his impractical but undeniably gorgeous Aston Martin.

I was looking through our photos and trying to work out where they took the iconic photo of Daniel Craig and Judi Dench posing against the backdrop of brooding hills, but I can’t quite work it out.   Anyhow, Colin invented his own movie, called ‘Bogfall’, when he leaped over a roadside ditch to photograph some moss.   The ground, as you may have guessed, welcomed him with ample squishiness and he spent the rest of the day with a very wet and very black leg.  I was photographing something else at the time, or else I would have got it on video.   Those waterproof trousers are higher up his list now!

Once again, we arrived back home with some lovely photos.   I wonder why on Earth we’ve never been down Glen Etive before!    It must be one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland.   We are truly lucky to have such spectacular landscapes within easy reach.

Waterfall, Glen Etive 20Waterfall, Glen Etive 32Grave Etive and Orchy - Jo 232Grave Etive and Orchy - Jo 205Grave Etive and Orchy - Jo 249

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5th September – Bracklinn Falls, in the rain

When Verity was here last week, we made several trips out to take advantage of the good weather.   But Thursday morning was wet, and the forecast didn’t promise any change.  Where could we go?

We decided to take a look at the Bracklinn Falls, near Callander.   Colin and I had never been there, but if there’s a good time for looking at waterfalls it’s got to be after heavy rain!

In the outskirts of Callander, you turn off onto a narrow road that heads up into the forestry.   There’s a car park, and you have to walk the last mile or so to the falls.

Bracklin Falls - Jo 6Heavy showers were coming over, and the trees were dripping;   colours of moss and bark were intense, and droplets trembled on bracken fronds and grasses.   The woodlands were dark but not unwelcoming.

Bracklin Falls - Colin 1

Bracklin Falls - Colin 141Bracklin Falls - Jo 16Colin spent a while photographing flowers and fungi, and there was certainly a huge variety, all gleaming with moisture from the rain.   A party of people passed us on the way there, and they also passed us on their way back, before we had even reached the falls!    Meanwhile Colin had got two very wet knees and was remembering just why he needs a good pair of waterproof trousers.

Occasionally the clouds parted to reveal a glimpse of blue sky, but it was soon swallowed up by the next shower.   As we neared the falls we could hear a continuous roar, and we realised that they were going to be spectacular.

The path runs alongside the river for a while, allowing you dizzying views of the water.  A bit further on, a beautifully designed bridge spans the falls, and you can stand and be mesmerised by the sight.   The water was peat-coloured, and frothing like boiling syrup.

Bracklinn 1

Bracklin Falls - Verity 9

Bracklin Falls - Jo 102

That's a white trainer down there on the rock, just to give an idea of scale!

That’s a white trainer down there on the rock, just to give an idea of scale!

I’ve discovered that photographing waterfalls isn’t as easy as it sounds, partly because it’s quite difficult to give a sense of scale.   Although we took loads of pics I also took some videos, and I’m going to post those here, too.   Apart from anything else, they convey the noise!

Bracklin Falls - Jo 101

Bracklin Falls - Colin 41

Back at the car, we got out our little camping gas stove and enjoyed a cup of tea in the gloriously wet woodlands.   Tea always tastes better outdoors!

Photos copyright © Colin & Jo Woolf and Verity Sansom

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3rd September – The Hazel Tree calendars have arrived!

The Hazel Tree CalendarsMy calendars for The Hazel Tree arrived today, and they look brilliant!   I’m going to start despatching them tomorrow.

  • Beautiful photographs of the wildlife, history and landscapes of Scotland (not forgetting Purdey, and there’s a crossword at the back!)
  • Size:    Just over A4 when folded, opening out to 19″ x 13½”
  • Spiral bound, with a hole for hanging
  • Moon phases and plenty of room for appointments and notes
  • Price:   £12 plus postage and packing (£3 in UK;   overseas postage is calculated at checkout)
  • If I sell over 100 calendars, I will make a donation of £100 to Trees for Life, which supports the habitats and wildlife of the Caledonian Forest

They’re available on Colin’s website and my Etsy shop.   If you’d like to order several, you can use the discount code CAL2015 so you’re only charged postage for one.

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