I’ve been home for a week now, and I’ve just about finished going through all my photos from our Scotland holiday. I can’t be arsed to write a day-by-day account of it now, so here are just a few highlights in pictures.
On the way up, this lasagne sandwich
caught my eye while we were stocking up on provisions at the last proper supermarket en route to Sutherland. It was duly purchased and eaten for lunch in a layby overlooking the Kyle of Sutherland. Verdict: 6/10 – a nice idea, but the meat was a bit tough.
I was delighted to find a colony of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries just down the road from Laxford Bridge – a new butterfly species for me. Being towards the end of the flight period, most were a bit tatty, but I managed to find this reasonable specimen, which kindly sat still for some photos.
The Fritillaries were in the boggy, grassy area on the right of this photo. About 20 were seen in total. There were also half a dozen Golden-ringed Dragonflies
zipping around this area.
itself was superb – massive (6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 sitting rooms, huge kitchen with Rayburn etc, etc), fantastic views overlooking Laxford River and completely hidden from the road by trees. This is another place which must get rarities in the autumn, being an oasis of trees in the middle of miles and miles of mountain and moorland. There is a record of Red-breasted Flycatcher from here a few years ago, which shows it does have potential. Breeding birds around the house included Spotted Flycatcher
; other birds seen from the house included Black-throated
and Red-throated Divers
on the river, Common Sandpiper
and Red-breasted Merganser
. We also found Otter
spraint not far from the house, but didn’t manage to see the actual animal. In case anyone was wondering, we didn’t have the whole house to ourselves; there were eight of us – me, Sophie, my parents, my brother, his wife and two kids.
The world-famous Lochinver Larder
pie shop has already made an appearance on Mark’s blog
, but just for the record, here are the photos again. If you’re a pie fan, it’s worth making the long trip north just for these.
The stunning beach at Balnakeil
on the north coast. Another area which has had a few rarities in the past. These photos make it look a nicer day than it really was!
Nearby is the John Lennon memorial
in Durness, where the Beatle spent his childhood holidays at the house of his cousin in Sangomore.
From the sublime to the ridiculous: this bizarre waxwork of that well-known Scot Mohammed Al MacFayed
greets visitors as they enter the gift shop at Falls of Shin. The falls are a brilliant place to see Salmon
leaping up the waterfalls as they return to their breeding grounds. No, I didn’t manage to get a photo of one.
We did a tour of the Glenmorangie
distillery at Tain, on the east coast, one day – great value at just £2.50 each, which included a generous-sized dram afterwards (at least a pub double), and then you got the £2.50 off any purchase over £16 from the shop! I was amused to see this plaque on the door:
On our last full day we went on a boat trip round Handa
island. You had to sit astride the seats like a motorbike, and also get dressed up in rather ridiculous waterproofs. I’ve got a photo of Sophie in these as well, but I’ll get into trouble if I put it on here! Having walked round Handa at the start of the holiday, it was fantastic to see the seabird cliffs from the bottom. The smell was even stronger down here too! The ride back to Scourie was fast and exhilarating, but the waterproofs were almost totally pointless – despite the speed of the boat and the heavy swell, there was virtually no spray at all.
I didn’t take many bird photos – apart from the first and last days it was generally grey and wet. Also my Sigma 150-500 seemed to be playing up the day we went to Handa, resulting in most of the photos I took that day being slightly out of focus. I think it was just the contacts, as after I cleaned them it seemed to be OK. Here are some of the better ones:
Finally, here’s a panorama of the view from the house in Achriesgill where my Granddad was born. One of my favourite views in Britain...