Tag Archives: Wildlife

Durisdeer Hills

Durisdeer church

Readers with an excellent memory or fabulous text searching techniques will remember a walk from August 2010 where we were unimpressed with some Donalds near Durisdeer but thought the other hills in the area would make a much better day out.  Well, today we were back to find out, and to play around in some of that white stuff you’re meant to get in winter but which seems pretty scarce this year 1. Continue reading


  1. Probably caused by the BBC’s “It’s going to be another great year for Scottish skiing” report they did when Cairngorm had a snow flurry back in November.

In the Bleak Mid-winter

Dipper, © Brian Orr


I always find this time of year a bit grim: grey skies, incessant rain, Cliff Richard on infinite loop, school choirs torturing some awful carol, TV Christmas specials recorded in July, adverts for perfume, a shortage of sprouts.  But things are about to get better…

As it is the Winter Solstice, Jazz and I were up at the Standing Stones to welcome the sun back.  Jazz had even brought along a Bonio to sacrifice to its first rays. Sadly we were treated to the solar equivalent of an 7W energy-saving light-bulb that could barely pierce the gloom.    Continue reading

The Source of the Mighty Banvie Burn

Afternoon sun, Glen Banvie

The Banvie Burn starts in the hills above Blair Atholl and in its 8km life passes through some gorgeous scenery before it joins the River Garry. Every time we are up in Blair Atholl we always have at least one walk along its banks and it must qualify for my prize of “most frequent riverine lunch-stop” award. Today the weather looked favourable for a decent saunter into the Atholl hills following part of the old Minigaig Pass with the goal of discovering the source of the Mighty Banvie Burn. Continue reading

Mullwharchar and Dungeon

Loch Enoch with Mullwharchar beyond

Mullwharchar apparently comes from the Gaelic meall na h-adhairce meaning “big lump of granite sitting in the middle of nowhere” (I’m paraphrasing here).   It’s the remoteness rather than its height that makes this a challenge (although it is a Donald).  No matter which way in, it’s a slog.  Jazz and I did a reconnaissance back in January using the route over the Wolf Slock and thought a trek in from Glentrool would be the better bet.  Well, today was the judge – and, guess what, we were right – just. Continue reading

Carn Liath and Forest Lodge, Glen Tilt

Approach to Carn Liath from Loch Moraig

The missus and I have been going on holiday to Blair Atholl for over 20 years and every time we go up the Killiecrankie by-pass we see Carn Liath towering ahead of us and I say “I really must do that someday” and then never do.  Well, a bit of heavy rain gave me the chance.  The original plan was to walk from Blair Atholl through Glen Tilt to Deeside.  This was abandoned after I read I’d have to cross a ford that was dangerous with the river in spate: Carn Liath became the back-up plan. Continue reading

Jazz gets a new Tick

Now if you thought I was talking about a little parasite then shame on you!  I’ll have you know that she has immaculate personal grooming. 1   No, it’s a birding term meaning that she has added a new species to her growing list: Water Rail. Today we were up at the SWT Knockshinnoch reserve in New Cumnock before a wander around an icy Glenafton. Continue reading


  1. Thanks Dad, I’ll lie for you some time too.

Rhubarb Crumble doesn’t make you Immortal

Culzean Castle

Jazz and I headed down to Maidens for our regular walk around Culzean, the NTS jewel on the Ayrshire coast.  As it was Christmas Eve and lovely weather I had expected the place to be heaving but we had the place to ourselves: there was no-one on Maidens or Croy beaches and we met only 2 people and 5 dogs in Culzean.  Perfect. For a while. Continue reading

Cairns of Queensberry

Forest of Ae from Wee Queensberry

Queensberry is a Donald and was the last in the Thornhill area that we needed to do.  It looked pretty dull from neighbouring hills so it was left.  Mistake. Although the hill itself isn’t great, the walk has lots of interest – in particular the cairns. It is also on the edge of the lovely Forest of Ae and we got great views over this expanse of wilderness in the late afternoon sunshine. Continue reading