Another trip up north from a few weeks back (mid January I think) this time exploring the Glen Roy area north of Fort William,a region which has some nice remote bothies in a very wild empty landscape.
Walked in Friday night in the dark with fuel for the fire split between three of us.No Alex this time,he was busy elsewhere that particular weekend.The temperature was well below freezing but clear and crisp.Still needed the GPS to find the bothy though as its hidden on a dark hillside even one covered in snow.
Good night was spent in the bothy which has a wood burning stove.Normally I`m not a fan of these contraptions as nothing beats an open coal fire to gather round but this one was unusual in that you could open the door from time to time for a look see without it dying on you.
It takes away some of the magic without an open fire if the focal point is a warm but shut tight lump of metal.
Even with candles bothies can be dark places without the cosy glow of a fireplace.
Mind you its a lot better than no fire at all when the temperature is minus -12 outside.
Morning was clear and sparkling.Jules and Scott ,my bothy companions,headed back to the car via the hills above the bothy while I was happy tidying up then walking out along the glen with good views of the parallel roads.
These tide mark lines were formed during the last ice age when a glacier blocked the natural flow of water creating a large deep dam.Eventually it melted leaving tidemarks like in a bathtub.
Seen a large flock of snow buntings on the walk out,dancing between the hollows and ridges with their tinkling musical song.No pictures, far too restless and flighty over open ground.If you haven't seen them think sparrows with white breast and wing patterns.Mind you its a long time since I seen a large flock of sparrows.Them and starlings used to be a common sight in their thousands in my childhood but due to a number of factors you are lucky to see them in any numbers now.
I can remember going into Glasgow city centre at Christmas time and hearing huge numbers of birds above warming themselves on the strings of Christmas lights.Most cities then had close on a million birds each every winter.Its a bit sad to see them so few in number nowadays
When I got back to Glasgow found this wee bird in the local park.For some spring will not arrive.
On the bright side `,m a taddy daddy again as another amphibian `maybe even the same one) has dumped its load of spawn in my pond for the second year running.Yippee! A summer spent among the little froggy folk again!
On the way back in recent trips I,ve been taking an interest in all the roadside sculptures springing up.Most of these are by Glasgow based artist Andy Scott who has been active for years with works as far afield as Australia as I found out with one of his works."The loaded dog" planted outside the Whyalla vet surgery in South Australia.I`ve always admired his projects starting with the heavy horse on the M8.
Captured this recent example at Cumbernauld. She`s called" Arria" after the original Gaelic meaning of Cumbernauld as the coming together of waters.As anyone whose paid a visit to this new town on a wet windswept day can testify ,the name is apt as it sits high on its ridge.
He`s an exciting artist with a lot of different public projects coming out over the next few years.
This is not one of his but a good likeness of our former MP and First Minister Donald Dewar.Unusually for a politician he was well liked by most folk,maybe this is why the kids find him irresistible for late night high jinks even when he stands on a lofty plinth.It could only be Glasgow!
Here`s one of Scotts pics from their day on the hills above the bothy....