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.

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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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8th October – northern lights!

Apologies to anyone who has already seen these photos on my Facebook page, but I am still so excited to share them!

Last night I caught a mention on Twitter that there was a chance of seeing the northern lights.  At about 9.15 I looked out of our back windows in the hope of seeing a vague greenish glow, which is pretty much all we can reasonably expect with our levels of light pollution.

But what I saw took my breath away – not just a greenish glow but brilliant curtains and spotlights, shooting up and then fading, and from the left a big ball of dazzling greenish light that travelled sideways like an enormous fireball and then faded away.    To the right, the sky was visibly tinged with red.

Colin got the camera – luckily – while I got a chair and stood on it outside, much to the delight of Purdey who will now expect me to do it every night.   The display lasted maybe 10 minutes, and then faded to a dull glow.   We watched for a good hour, but I think we had just caught it at its peak.   I still can’t quite believe what we saw.

The solar storm is still ongoing, apparently, so I’ll be looking out tonight as well.   There are regular updates at www.spaceweather.com and Aurora Watch UK.

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5th October – from Glen Douglas to Loch Caolisport

Ellary (39)Yesterday was supposed to be the last fine day of this wonderful Indian summer, and so we decided to make the most of it.   Plus, our newsletters are arriving from the printers later this week, and then it will be all hands on deck, stuffing envelopes.   No more excuse needed.

We headed up Loch Lomond, and then turned off at Inverlussa, on a minor road which winds its way over Glen Douglas and drops down to Loch Long.   Then up the Rest and Be Thankful and down to Loch Fyne, through Inveraray and on to Lochgilphead, before turning south down Kintyre.

About half an hour later, we were sitting by the quiet waters of Loch Caolisport.   This is a lovely sea loch that cuts into the long finger of Kintyre, creating a pebbly beach near Ellary and a stretch of dusky sand just north of Ormsary.   Curlews were feeding and calling, and a few oystercatchers were lazily watching the tide go out.   It was beautiful.

Glen Douglas…

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Near Ellary on Loch Caolisport…

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Beach near Ormsary…

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Photos copyright © Colin & Jo Woolf

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