After the deep thrash on the moors above Greenock I didn't fancy another lonesome snow slog so soon.Didn't really know where the hell I was going this time (Alex still working nights again) but sometimes these can turn out the best of days because they are spontaneous in nature and so it proved.
Took the back roads to Fintry then went a walk over the Kippen Muir from the high point of the B822 looking for interesting views.The wildlife was suffering in this weather,a dead crow beside the road then a dead sheep half covered in new snow,legs sticking out like all those ungathered climbers on Mount Everest.
His mate was still alive though and still had eyes to watch me taking this picture.Trudged back from here following sheep tracks though the snow for this other classic, often overlooked,favourite on the same ridge. Stronend.A great hill done from Fintry through the beautiful grounds of Culcreuch which has a nice tearoom and bar built into the dungeon in the castle.
A third picture of Fintry landscape presented itself near here.It was a glorious freezing day and I would soon be back at work so I was intent on enjoying myself in perfect conditions.
The sheep here had their hoofs the right way up I was pleased to see.
Next drove on and parked in Callander.It didn`t have too much snow here on the streets but boy was it icy.The overspill ( summer) car park could have passed for an ice rink.Put the crampons on five minutes into a romp up Callander Craig,the steep wooded escarpment above the town which is one of my favourite easy walks.Been up this dozens of times,still enjoyable as it has so many different paths.Raced up" the craigs" the left hand edge route up to the summit.From here you can walk to Bracklin falls and then down to Callander again by several routes.
Didn`t do this today as it would have been too dark for pictures by the time I got there.
Chatted to a couple of women on the summit then suddenly realized that it was turning into a fine sunset and I was too far east to capture it.Damn!
Raced down the way I`d come, still on crampons, and was down at the car 10 mintues later.Knackered!
Where to go? I didn`t have much time.Trundled off and headed for the nearest western spot I could get too before the best colours faded.
I must admit I`m baffled by sunsets.I know the basics,light refraction,ice crystals, dust etc but as to how you can predict a good one in advance and what colours it will be is still something of a mystery at this point.Still, not a bad effort.
Arrived at the Lake of Menteith just as the best colours were starting.With no room left to park,spaces taken by skaters and locals I made fast work with the spade to dig a slot for my car then it was off onto the ice to join the lucky few watching one of the best sunsets of the year.
It was such a vivid colour my normally ok camera couldn't really capture it in its true glory.It had more subtle colours in it as well, not just red and yellow.
There were loads of folk out on the ice , walking in the distance even out to the island in the middle.Skaters,families with kids, other photographers.Brilliant stuff.
The next night as luck would have it I was getting my messages for a change in Clydebank when I noticed it was going to be an equally good sunset here.I rushed down to the Clyde at Clydebank College to take this pair of pics.
There is a nightly unheralded wildlife spectacle that occurs here in winter.Everyone knows about starlings at dusk but seagulls fly in every morning up the Clyde from their roost out in the open sea near Dunoon to feed in the parks and gardens of winter Glasgow then fly out again each evening.If you stand on the Erskine bridge at dusk you can see thousands of V squadrons fly over.An amazing sight.I now don't grudge them stealing greedily from the swans and ducks when you see how hard their journey is every day.
P.S.I`ve found its better to keep walking from one end and back purposfully if you are up on the Erskine Bridge of an evening.With its sad history of jumpers off this incredible man made viewpoint if you linger in the one spot too long you may get a visit from the police asking what your intentions are.