ALL PHOTOS BEST VIEWED FULL SCREEN
The Lang Craigs, seen here, as a long broken wall of cliff and grass could lay claim to being "A Garden", though not in the formal sense. I remember reading an information board which used to sit beside Overtoun House that informed the reader that the Lang Craigs had been enhanced as a wild garden with paths laid out across the steep terraces underneath the main cliffs and a staircase leading to the top. The remains of these faint trails are still here but heavily overgrown with vegetation in places. A faint path travels along the top of these cliffs as a wonderful and easy balcony trail, which is not overgrown and a joy to walk along at any time of year.
Just a thought. Apart from looking beautiful we are trying to save bees in rapid decline and this forest of flowers is alive with wild bees. Thousands of them. A buzzing army. More bumble bees and other species of insect than I have ever seen in one place at one time. More than the oilseed fields where honeybees had been placed in the fields to make honey and improve pollination for humans presumably. No bumbles were there. Only honeybees (and presumably pesticides.) Any specks in the photos above are wild bees flying around but they proved mighty hard to capture in full flight. This place must be a major feeding area for every type of wild bee for miles around. Fortunately, bumble bees, even ones the size of my thumb are gentle giants and will only sting you if you harm them or they feel threatened. I even had a few land on my tee shirt and head to check me out as I moved up through the flower forest but no stings this time for a happy Bobby. I was no threat to these guys. No pesticides or other problems here to make bees sick? I'm obviously not privy to the plans of the woodland trust or that of the Overtoun Estate but I hope they save these terraced slopes as they are now and see them as a tourist asset rather than something that has to be eradicated and removed.
"Hey! Hands off- it's oor ****** rock!" (West Dunbartonshire's irate population.)
It's a good location for a film shoot.
A panorama of Dumbarton, the River Clyde and Port Glasgow. (Inverclyde district)
The formal back garden, which is private within the stonework but is easily viewed in full detail from outside the boundary.
A large laburnum tree on the minor road leading up to the estate. Many of these beautiful trees have been lost in the last few decades, cut down by home and land owners unwilling to take the risk that they might be sued if children swallow the seeds which are poisonous. Every age and society has its own customs, pros and cons which can shape the landscape around us. Another endangered species? There used to be half a dozen large specimens like this one in gardens around me... all have disappeared in the last ten years. Steady work for tree surgeons or experienced landscape gardeners.
Like all my posts I wouldn't want this area to get too popular but it's a fine line between popularity and total obscurity which is much harder to judge. I have visited this estate over many decades and there were times when the house was completely boarded up and abandoned and the car park was not a safe place to leave your car for any length of time. Now it seems to have a bright future once again
and the car park is well visited during the day by locals, dog walkers, and a mixed range of tourists.
I'm not hopeful though after looking at the woodland trust's own website which lists these flowers as highly invasive and their removal as "desirable."
Another woodland they own, called somewhat ironically Rhododendron Wood by locals is having its rhododendrons taken out to "improve" the wood. For who exactly?
So... see the full glory of the Lang Craigs Rhododendrons while you can. Nothing is forever.