Sunday, 1 May 2016

Ben Rinnes. Braes of Glenlivet. Moray. Spring Flowers.

                                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
Spring takes roughly a month to travel at sea level from the south coast of England to the north of Scotland, a mainland distance of roughly 600 miles but with more time added on for every 500 feet of height.
Back in sheltered parts of Glasgow it was in full swing with a variety of blooms growing in the parks and gardens near me. A lovely red tulip above.
A nice border display that caught my eye.
This was in a raised tub on the street outside the entrance of a Glasgow park. No goddess can match Persephone at her best. The Eleusinian Mysteries indeed as I've just spent an hour on google image search trying to work out every variety shown here. An incredibly rich and complex display and one of the best I've seen in such a small area. Worth a full screen view.
Usual cascade of scented blossom in the parks.
Meanwhile three amigos were heading north, passing under the cliffs of Kinnoull Hill beside Perth at an ungodly hour of the morning.
As we approached Glenshee the higher peaks sported snow but the ski area itself was bare of substantial runs, a situation that is probably reversed now with sizable dumps of the white stuff since then over the various resorts.
Lochnagar, 1155 metres, 3,789 feet, was still plastered however and it's steep frowning glories beloved of poet Lord Byron were still firmly locked in winters grip.
Our destination this time was the wide open vastness of  Moray and Ben Rinnes, a Corbett in this Grampian region and one of the highest peaks in the district at 841 metres, 2,759 feet.
A small car park and several layby spots reached along the minor road through Glen Rinnes soon had us at the start and an easy but strenuous ascent followed up a good, well maintained track.
The summit in view halfway up.
Blue mountain hares could be spotted among the boulders and the ground conditions up here on the north east coast appeared much drier than the soggy western seaboard which gets twice the annual rainfall of the east.
Although Moray is fairly fertile low down in the glens and straths, the underlying granite bedrock is never far from the surface and you really get a feel for that once up on the heights as many of the mountains in the north east have summits composed of granite tors. The team this time consisted of myself, David and Alex. They were unintentionally colour coordinated for this trip in matching attire and reminded me of Tweedledum and Tweedledee which must make me Alice in the middle, I suppose. Well, I'd rather be Alice than the Red Queen.
Ben Rinnes is a case in point with an easy tor on its high point.

And another, more substantial, example further down the ridge-line.
A view over to the Cairngorms, a high mountain plateau containing most of Scotland's 4000 foot plus peaks with Ben Nevis, the highest prominence in the UK at 1,346 meres, 4,414 feet being the only west coast example, along with its nearby satellite peaks of Aonach Beag, Anoach Mor and Carn Mor Dearg to make that elite summit list.
The dry climate and bare slopes seems to suit this small game bird, which was originally imported from around the Mediterranean region and the well drained golden granite landscape here appears to be to its liking. It's a red legged partridge and a beautifully marked little creature. Exotic and mysterious, perfectly summed up by the well known Christmas list of luxury items .. "and a partridge in a pear tree."
You can see here why it's the last to be sung about. In 40 years of hill tramping and exploring this is the best photo I've managed to get of this quiet shy enigma as it's well known but rarely seen, silently bobbing around between the heather clumps, largely unknown to the general public except in a shop window, hanging upside down, or as a posh meal on a plate.
I think you will agree it's as colourful and wonderful as any parrot or bird of paradise.

As it's a colourful post here's a very colourful video indeed.
This Alice is not the one from the book however. She is much darker having been unjustly committed to 'the hospital for the criminally insane' as a child and when she eventually gets out it's 'no more miss nice girl' as she is determined to seek revenge on the people who left her there to rot. An unusual, more adult, twist on the familiar children's story but fantastic graphics and superbly detailed artwork in a range of different styles. Worth a watch full screen to visit the beautiful kingdom and characters created within. Short (trailer) but not so sweet. More psychosis- less sugar.


Ian Johnston said...

Good to see you've managed up to the northeast Bob - by coincidence we were very near Ben Rinnes today; quite a bit of snow on the summit area. Did you manage to sample some of the local liquid produce?!

Kind Regards

Carol said...

That's a long drive for a day walk!

Never seen any kind of partridge before - beautiful bird.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Ian,
I did drink some malt but only in a bothy when my vodka ran out and Alex kindly shared some of his as he had too much and didn't want to be hungover the next day for his other Corbett ascent.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol.
Who said it was a day trip :o)
Part two arriving soon.

Linda said...

Such an absolutely gorgeous series! I feel as though I am right there with you. Thank you so much for sharing.

Rosemary said...

Thank you for your visit to my blog and your kind comments - I have only ever seen a hare once in its snow white winter coat and that was on the Tomintoul Pass whilst heading up to Aberdeen.
Lovely to see that red legged Partridge - what an attractive bird.

Linda W. said...

Lovely photo of the colorful partridge. Another great climb!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda.
I try and create a colourful world with every post as that's my personal taste. I'm not keen on grey as a backdrop.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
The mountain hares don't seem to turn brown at high levels so they are either white or grey/blue any time I've noticed them which blends in more with the boulders and barren landscape on the heights.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Linda W,
Yes, I was really chuffed to get that shot. As you know yourself so many times you see something exciting and just as you bring the camera out it's off. Happens all the time with jays in woods here. 15 years of trying to get a really good close up of them and still zero.

Anabel Marsh said...

I like your approach to the weather! Great shot of the partridge too. I await more posts with interest - thanks for visiting The Glasgow Gallivanter (well, I think it was you, there was no url. If not, I'm happy to discover you anyway).

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Thanks for dropping in. Yes, it was me, Bob, a fellow citizen of the tartan metropolis. Alex, my hill-walking mate, had been looking at your blog and thought I would like it.

Neil said...

Gosh, that was a long way to travel for a day's walk, Bob. Nice hill though, I've climbed it a few times over the years. Never seen a red legged partridge though, probably too busy looking at scenery!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil,
It wasn't a day walk but a two day trip... second day still to come and you will know the next hill as well.

Neil said...

Ah yes. Distinctive country!