"Scottish Snippets"

"Colour Supplement"

5 January 2008

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. This separate "colour supplement" displays some more pictures, in a larger format. Here is this week's crop of Scottish views!

There was a cold spell just before Christmas when overnight temperatures fell to below freezing - and didn't rise much above that point during the day. As a result, many small lochs became largely frozen over, confining the waterbirds to small areas that kept free of ice. Food was scarce, of course, so these swans at Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire came swimming along in line-astern formation when they saw me approaching with a bag, hoping it contained food. After taking their photograph - they were not disappointed!

Public parks are popular places to take dogs for a walk and many owners let them off the lead to roam around freely. That's fine, as long as the animal isn't aggressive and attacks birds or - on some occasions - humans. Birds can usually fly away and can swim faster than most dogs. But that escape route is not available for swans on ice. Such heavy birds need water for their long build-up of speed to get into the air - and this swan was attacked and injured in the middle of the ice. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent two of their officers - who bravely walked out onto the ice, dragging a rubber boat to reach the injured bird. It was lifted into the dinghy and dragged back to shore before being taken off to a bird sanctuary where (with luck) it may recover.

Some sections of Edinburgh's Royal Mile (the series of roads hat run from the castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse) have cars banned from them during the daytime, which certainly improves the photogenic quality of the thoroughfare. The building on the right is the Tron Kirk - a church which is now used to provide information on the history of the Royal Mile.

The golden ornamentation on the distinctive spire of St Giles Cathedral is glinting in the weak winter sun in this photograph. St Giles has been undergoing a lot of renovation and there is often scaffolding around it - which must be a disappointment for tourists who want to take a photograph.

On 24 December, there were news reports that in addition to a full moon, the planet Mars would be at its closest to Earth for many years. Amazingly, the skies were clear that night so I tried to take a photograph of this event. Well, Mars may have been close, but it was too small to be picked up in the picture - but the full moon made the effort worthwhile!

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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