Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Tinto. Dawyck Botanic Gardens.

A spur of the moment, last minute decision, on Friday Night saw me heading over to Ron's Saturday morning as a good  forecast was predicted for sun in selected parts of The Borders but cloudy with rain elsewhere. Alex was off Corbett bagging near Bridge of Orchy but he had a sunny day too.
We headed for Tinto and a very early start to beat the crowds as this is a popular hill at weekends. Nice to see some lambs at last.
I did this hill from Wiston to the south the last time a couple of years ago with Alex  and never met a soul on the ascent, climbing steeply up to the Pap Craig on a very faint path. Part of the reason for this is the lack of parking spaces on this southern side and we ended up stopping outside a YMCA type building with a huge wooden climbing frame which did seem as if it was meant for private parking but luckily it was deserted and all we could find.
This time we parked at the large purpose built car park at Fallburn near Thankerton but, although early to arrive, it was amazing how quickly it filled up with walkers. Jam packed an hour later. As Tinto is the highest hill in Central Scotland at 707metres or 2320 feet its a popular choice for a sunny day out at weekends. Much quieter mid week.
From this side its safe to say its not a faint path. Never been up this way before. Only the third ascent of this fine hill in 40 years, each time by a different route.
Its an easy and pleasant way up though and we met  loads of other walkers heading in the same direction. There had been a heavy and prolonged over night hailstone storm with a white blanket a couple of inches thick around the summit.

With a strong overhead sun throughout the day though this soon melted. The top photo with the lambs was taken on the way back and the hail had disappeared by that time.

As its an isolated summit on the southern edge of the central belt Tinto has great panoramas on a good day. Massive skies above that seem to stretch on forever.
Spotted this colourful Male Wheatear on the way down. A  much loved summer visitor that breeds here on the upland slopes but winters in Africa. Newly arrived in Scotland from its long annual journey where it hunts for insects, surrounded by the feet of elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and wildebeest. That's back in Africa by the way, not up Tinto.
After the hill we headed for the nearby Dawyck Botanic Gardens which lies in an upland bend of the River Tweed near Drumlzier. I actually thought we would be too late for the Spring display of flowers here in this wonderful sprawling garden but due to the unseasonal arctic temperatures and lingering snow on the mountains all around, Spring hadn't really sprung yet and not many daffodils and other early flowering plants were out. Very disappointing as it was £5.50 to get in. Gutted. Wah!!!!!
One of the few decent splashes of colour were these... Lords and Ladies. Slightly sinister plants that resemble  miniature triffids in some ways. Some parts of these are highly poisonous and attract flies and other insects to pollinate them. They have a host of peculiar names and have been responsible for the accidental poisoning of curious children for centuries. They have berries that look like beautiful luscious sweets straight  from Willie Wonka land but if you happen to swallow any of these berries children you will not be happy bunnies.

The old rustic chapel high on the hillside at Dawyck.
A microlite pilot. Anytime I see one of these I always think of the film and bouncy song 'Those magnificent men in their flying machines...they go up up up then they come down, down,  down....' And also the mysterious professor that lived in a high tower in Rubert the Bear stories who was always flying off over the woods and villages in a tiny plane. Great fun if the engine doesn't cut out :)
One of Boclair House in Bearsden on the way back. No real Spring happened but Summer is here at last. Seen the first house martins, butterflies and swallows flying around.

Video this week is a cracker that everyone should like. 'Hebrides. Islands on the edge' has been getting heavily plugged on the BBC recently. What stunned me most though was the brilliantly evocative song they used to promote the trailer. I just had to look it up.
Its Finlay Quaye, Beth Orton and William Orbit combining to create a slice of pure heaven on earth.. This short video for his classic song is as good as the hour long Hebrides first episode itself.
 Well worth a look in glorious full screen  HD. Enjoy.


Neil said...

I like Tinto, Bob. But it's very popular. Shame about the gardens. We don't seem to have had a spring at all this year. I enjoyed summer on Tuesday though. It's feeling autumnal already with the strong winds the last two days!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil.
Yup,unless the jet stream changes position we will be stuck in this cycle, continually sucking in fronts off the Atlantic.
Happy times ahead.

Carol said...

We tried to find a way up Tinto from the south from Wiston and probably parked where you did... but we couldn't see any start to the track. That was the ascent we really wanted to do though. Had similar weather to what the hill had just had before you got there by the look of it - we had sideways hail, lots of rain and sleet and a shockingly strong gale! Must try it again on a nicer day!

Spring really is late again this year isn't it? It was all systems go in Plockton a few days ago though - even the big trees were in full leaf and the flowers were well advanced. But Plockton pretty much has its own climate I think - lovely place :-)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol.
Cant remember how we found the path up Tinto from that direction. Alex is really good at doing his homework on the net for that sort of thing. Think we just went straight up from the lodge.
Not been in Plockton for years.
Used to be full of artists and daughters of well known rock stars
when I was up that way. JJ.
My mountaineering club were headed for Skye for the May Weekend then changed the venue to Northumbria after the forecast. Proved a wise move.
Although still windy and dull they got three days worth of rock climbing in.
I'm starting to think we might not get a conventional summer this year in Scotland. Late autumn- Winter is the new Summer now up here as the weather pattern is more settled then :(

The Glebe Blog said...

Some spectacular pictures on your previous post Bob. An associate of mine in England wrote and had his memoirs printed when he was 76, so I think I'll wait a couple of years. The most gritty will be my years at Scunthorpe's Steelworks (the setting of the book Get Carter).
I must climb Tinto one day. I pass it often enough.
Always liked Johnny Cash, got a few albums. If there's a god and heaven he was well prepared. Folsom Prison Blues will always be my favourite track of his. "but those people keep a movin, and thats what tortures me" what a line.
Love the music on Hebrides, love the filming too. High definition video cameras are at an almost perfect stage of development now. I've a feeling that the Home Hologram isn't too far away now.
A load of us are heading for the Mountains of Mourne on Monday, hope the weather bears up.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim.
Hope you got on ok over there in the M of M's and that the weather was kind to you.
Get Carter. Great film, great setting, great music.
Hebrides series for me has been a bit disappointing as I've seen most of it before in other nature programmes or in reality. I'd have been more interested if they'd shown some of the lesser known creatures up there.
Great title song though in 'Dice'. Still humming it.