A day out with my friend Anne and the first time we had managed to visit each other since the Covid 19 lockdown. This is Levengrove Park in Dumbarton which always has beautiful flower displays that change with the seasons. It also has a surreal quality to it, like a Roald Dahl film set, with its exotic mix of palm trees, different shaped pines and multi coloured flowers.
A flower throne fit for any queen.
Colour mix. Poppy, Cornflower, Daisy.
Over the past few years a big impact addition to most parks has been wildflower strips to help the bees and other flying insects as numbers have dropped alarmingly. So we were surprised and delighted to find long strips of giant Ox-eye daisies in Levengrove Park, a recent new arrival. I have noticed though that previous wildflower plantings only last one season in full, rich condition- by the second yearly flowering other weeds have succeeded in smothering most of the flowers and by the third year most have disappeared. So you really have to sow new beds/strips every year to get the full benefit sadly.
Clover is another flower that bees adore, it even smells like honey, yet it can be a vigorous hard to eradicate weed if you want a perfect green lawn. I love them all.
Ants on a child's discarded orange here. Natural recycling.
Cornflower and bumble bee.
Dumbarton Rock and Castle.
A Garden of Delights. Levengrove Park. One of the real gems of Dumbarton.
Dumbarton to Balloch cycletrack and walkway. River Leven View.
Looking in the other direction, towards the Clyde Estuary and Dumbarton Rock.
Levengrove Park in full summer flourish.
A grove of many different hues.
Beauty in abundance. In any walk I am drawn to perfection... and colour... and sparkle... in this world.
But I did remember to keep a three metre distance from my companion at all times.....even though it was hard :) Not on my part though... a fully extended walking pole held at arms length made a convenient prodding device if Anne or anyone else came too close, needing a gentle reminder, and I was more than happy to use it.
( I had an inexplicable bruised foot resulting in a painful limp yet no idea how it occurred, almost overnight. In fact it's so inexplicable and weirdly sudden one might suspect someone else to be sticking pins in a doppelganger doll with carefree abandon.... and who would fashion such a tiny creature of evil intent one wonders!!?? Obviously a miscreant versed in the dark arts and illicit alchemy as in 2020 on this good flat earth mere scientific advancement or informed medical suggestions as to a cause or possible remedy for any illness are never to be trusted)
Such a lovely place. One of my favourite local parks to limp about in.
But enough of that... on-wards up the walkway towards Balloch following the River Leven. Forward painful foot and heed no smirking female advice to rest up! Very occasionally seals swim up here from the sea until they find themselves in Loch Lomond. They have to return after a few days however as they can't live in freshwater for very long and get sick if they stay.
Further upstream you come to the Leven Swamp, a brackish marshy area and flood plain. This is a water safety valve. Even though it meanders in loops the River Leven is the only outlet for the vast Loch Lomond. It is one of the shortest rivers in Scotland but also one of the fastest in spate with very powerful currents after flooding. When this happens this outlying marsh fills out to capacity and even the walkway/ cycle-track is underwater and impassable.
In calm conditions though it is beautiful and fairly wild. Freedom fighter ( or terrorist, depending on nationality/ political interests/ point of view)...Robert the Bruce spent the last three years of his life here in a purpose built mansion house with its own small dock and canal near Renton, a retirement gift. In calm weather you could go duck hunting, fishing, boating, or visit friends.. as the river, at high tide, leads out to the Clyde Coast and the open sea. Not a bad place to end up after years of fighting to free Scotland from English rule.
As it's a colourful post here's a colourful video to match it. One of the most spectacular and poetic wildlife compilations you will see anywhere and a classic six minute song The Beatles would have been very pleased to write and prize highly in their own back catalogue. Best watched full screen... for full effect of course.