Scottish Snippets

Colour Supplement

25 October 2008

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!

This Mandarin Duck is an occasional visitor to the Swan Pond in Culzean Castle Country Park in South Ayrshire. In the UK, it is mainly confined to south east England so visitors to Culzean are often surprised when they see it and many don't know its name. But it is unmistakable, with its red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and "whiskers". The chest is purple with two vertical white bars and the flanks are ruddy, with two orange "sails" at the back. This is the male (drake), of course - the female is an unremarkable light brown.

As part of the multi-million pound renovation of the Forth and Clyde Canal (which links the two rivers on each side of central Scotland) and the Union Canal (which branches from the main canal near Falkirk and heads to Edinburgh), it was decided to replace the system of locks connecting the two waterways with a new section of canal and a rotating boat lift with a novel design. The "Falkirk Wheel" is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world and is regarded as an engineering landmark for Scotland. The difference in levels at that point is 24 metres (79 ft), roughly equivalent to the height of an eight storey building. It was opened on 24 May 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations. The picture here shows the arms descending, with a canal boat in the water-filled cradle.

The Falkirk Wheel's two opposing arms (which extend 15 metres from the central axis) were designed to mimic a Celtic double-headed axe. As the arms move up and down, the containers with the canal boats are kept level. This picture - taken a few minutes after the one above - shows the canal boat now down at the level of the Forth and Clyde Canal. You can see a time-lapse photograph of the whole process at Wikipedia.

The russet colours of this Rowan tree (Mountain Ash) in Culzean Castle Country Park were made even redder by an evening sun which lit up the glorious autumn colours. The tree is near one of the main car parks and many visitors were stopping to take its photograph!

There is a long tradition in Glasgow of sailing "doon the watter" (down the water) of the river Clyde and such cruises are still popular. The Motor Vessel "Balmoral" is not quite in the same class as the paddle steamer "Waverley" (the last ocean-going paddle steamer in the world). Even so, she was built only three years after the Waverley and sailed mainly along the south coast of England. In the 1980s, after a project to use her as a floating restaurant in Dundee failed, it looked as though the Balmoral would head to the scrapyards. Instead, she was bought by the owners of the Waverley as a sister ship. The Balmoral spends time on the south coast of England as well as cruising down the Clyde. She can accommodate up to 750 passengers and there is a self-service restaurant, two licensed bars and an observation lounge.

There is a herd of red deer in Culzean Castle Country Park and in the last year the National Trust for Scotland brought in a stag which was a very pale colour, almost white on its neck and rear quarters, rather than the more usual reddish brown. Its offspring come in a variety of shades - including this young reddish stag and the pale-coloured hind.

This classic motor car was built by Bentley Motors Limited, a manufacturer of luxury automobiles and Grand Tourers. The company was founded in 1919 but was bought over by Rolls Royce in 1931. Although the two names continued after that, the cars were often the same designs but with the different badges. Veteran Bentleys (and other imposing older cars) are often hired out for use at weddings - though since this one is a two-seater, there would be no room for a chauffeur! It is probably of 1930s vintage, and was parked in front of Kellie Castle in Fife.

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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