9th January – first snow

The first snow of the year fell last night, coming down in huge flakes as we drove home from Stirling.

Just on the corner of our road – a few yards from our house – a woodcock was furtively poking around on the snow-covered grass.   We couldn’t believe our eyes! Having put the car in the drive, Colin grabbed his camera and went to take a closer look.   The little guy must have come down with the cold weather, and was possibly just looking for somewhere to feed.   We left him alone after that, and I hope that he eventually made it up into the woodlands at the back, where there’s plenty of soft ground.

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This morning the snow was still here, but a cold fog had come down, giving an air of mystery (well, you have to make the best of it!)   So I trudged up through the woods at the back of the house, to see what I could find.   A quiet, white world, broken by the occasional plopping of snow from branches.  The distinct smell of fox, and some sweetly cheeping finches – possibly redpolls – in the highest trees.

I’m not sure how long this is going to last, but it makes a welcome change from months of endless rain and wind.

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Scots pine

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Alder catkins

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Hawthorn

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Hazel

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Happy Christmas!

Linlithgow in snow (9)

A very HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all my followers on Jo’s Journal  

I haven’t been quite so active on here of late, but that’s partly because I’ve been busy with my other blogs, The Hazel Tree and Explorers of the RSGS.  Plus, it feels as if it has been raining since October, and we have barely poked our heads out of the door!  I hope to bring you lots of photos in the spring but meanwhile I wish you all the best over the festive season and a very happy New Year.   

PS:  If you’re interested, I’ll be publishing a review of 2015 on The Hazel Tree just after Christmas.

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3rd November – Loch Lubnaig to Loch Creran

Loch Lubnaig (2)Autumn has arrived in a blaze of colour, and on Sunday morning we were in the perfect place to enjoy it.

The lochs above Callander and up into Glen Ogle were completely still, mirroring the larches and evergreen firs that flank the hillsides around Ben Ledi.   Ribbons of mist were lifting wraith-like into a clear blue sky, but lingering in hollows just long enough to wrap the dying leaves in a shroud of diamonds.

Loch Lubnaig…Loch Lubnaig (1)Loch Lubnaig (3)

Glen Ogle…Glen Orchy (1)Glen Orchy (2)Lochan above Glen OrchyLochan (2)

We were meeting Leonie and Andrew by Loch Creran, a few miles north of Oban, for a walk in Sutherland’s Grove.   This is a lovely path through the Barcaldine Forest, following the Abhainn Teithil Burn as it tumbles down the hillside from a reservoir.

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It was warm enough to eat a picnic lunch on a bench under the trees.  Glorious weather for November!

As we were driving home, out of the corner of my eye I saw the shape of Kilchurn Castle with the last glow of sunset behind it.  Hurriedly parking the car, we climbed over a gate and stood by the railway track that skirts Loch Awe.   The cold was seeping in from the water, bringing with it a blanket of white mist that flowed silently over the ground and chilled our legs to the bone.   Another frost.   And when the darkness came it revealed millions of stars.

Loch Creran (Jo) 23Photos copyright ©  Colin & Jo Woolf

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