"Scottish Snippets"

"Colour Supplement"

7 April 2007

(Page 1)

Each week the Rampant Scotland Newsletter includes a number of photographs which illustrate the weather and the seasons, plus the flora and fauna of the current week around Scotland. There are often so many such graphics of Scottish subjects worth including that this separate "colour supplement" is created where some of the best pictures can be displayed in a larger format. Here is this week's crop of Scottish views.

Due to the exceptionally good weather, I visited Culzean Castle Country Park in Ayrshire three times in 8 days, taking lots of photographs there. So on this occasion the supplement has been expanded to two pages - there is a link to the second page after the last picture on this page.

Visitors to Culzean Castle - whether they have travelled by car or as in the days of the horse-drawn carriage - cannot fail to be impressed by the approach to Culzean Castle itself. The Kennedy family established a tower here in the 12th century and an L-shaped tower house was built in the 1590s. But it was not until the 18th century that the wealthy family, now known as the Earls of Cassillis, engaged Robert Adam to design this splendid castle, both inside and out.

There are a number of magnolias in the grounds of Culzean Castle Country Park. This pink specimen has to be the most impressive of them all, rising above a number of smaller ones. Apparently magnolias produce more flowers as they grow older - so this one must have been ancient!

A week after the picture above was taken, quite a number of the magnolia petals had already fallen to the ground. There is a slight hint of browning on the edge of this individual bloom.

Once we had spotted this unusual variety of daffodil growing in the woods, we found it had been planted in a number of different locations around Culzean Castle Country Park. Obviously someone on the National Trust for Scotland staff had taken a liking to its oddly shaped trumpet!

It was the rustling in the leaves that gave away the whereabouts of this tiny wood/field mouse. This was the type of mouse that Robert Burns wrote about in his poem "To A Mouse:

Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!

Although the mouse looks quite visible in this illustration, in the woodland gloom, it was hard to see through the camera viewfinder. Fortunately, its strategy of keeping still (useful when the sharp ears of an owl are nearby) meant that it stayed still for long enough for a few pictures - before bouncing away.

Many of the rhododendrons at Culzean must have been growing there for a very long time. But a number of newer varieties have also been planted in recent years, including this delightful pink one.

I'm convinced this chaffinch was psychotic! We noticed it fluttering beside car windows when we arrived. By the time we got back, ours was one of the few remaining cars in the car park. It pecked at its reflection in the overtaking mirror (both sides), perched on various parts of the car and was the boldest chaffinch I've come across. Initially I was amused and threw it some crumbs of bread. Then I realised the mess it was making with its "messages" on the car's paintwork, but it was reluctant to move away, even when I approached. Fortunately another car arrived - and it flew over to give it the same treatment!

Don't forget that there is a second page to the Colour Supplement this week. Click here for Page 2

If you want to look back at earlier editions of this Colour Supplement, there is an Index Page

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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