Scottie's Photo Diary

- August / September 2015

I never go anywhere in Scotland without my camera and I take photographs wherever I go. Sometimes I go somewhere specifically to take photographs with a view to adding another page to the Rampant Scotland site. On other occasions I just see something that makes an attractive picture or else it's another graphic to add to the library to perhaps use on a future occasion. This is a selection of the best photographs I took in August / September 2015 with a commentary on each one. It thus forms a pictorial diary of my travels during the month which can be shared by everyone!

Scottish Borders

This is the main street in the Scottish Borders town of Selkirk. It always seems to have a colourful display of flowers like this, overlooked by a statue of Sir Walter Scott who is strongly associated with Selkirk. In December 1799, Walter Scott became the new sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire. and sat in a local court in the town. The building - behind his statue, is now a museum which includes a mock-up of the court, with Sir Walter presiding.

Newark Castle is a large, ruined tower house standing in the grounds of Bowhill House, in the valley of the Yarrow Water three miles west of Selkirk. It was originally built by Archibald Douglas around 1423. After the fall of the Black Douglases the castle was held by the crown, and in 1473 it was given to Margaret of Denmark, wife of James III. The royal arms are visible on the west gable. The castle was altered for Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch at the end of the 17th century. It was visited by Sir Walter Scott and William and Dorothy Wordsworth in 1831. In its current ruined state there is a great view of the ten-feet thick walls of the building!

Branxholme estate has been owned by the Clan Scott since 1420. The Earl of Northumberland burned the first castle in 1532. The next held out against the English in the War of the Rough Wooing in 1547. But in due course the Scotts themselves destroyed the castle in 1570, the English, under the Earl of Essex, finishing the job with gunpowder. Within a decade Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch had commenced the rebuilding. The castle was extensively remodelled by William Burn in 1837 for the 5th Duke of Buccleuch.

This view of Branxholme shows some of the extensions to the accommodation that have been made over the centuries with the 16th century tower house (with few windows as it was still a defensible castle and the later mansion house extensions. The building is currently unoccupied .

Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery

The mascot of the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow was the multicoloured "Clyde" with his purple thistle-like hair and broad smile welcoming all the visitors to the city. Smaller replicas of Clyde were big sellers during the summer of 2014 and the shops ran out of stock (as I discovered when I attempted to obtain these souvenirs for my grandsons!)

The Supermarine Spitfire hanging from the loft ceiling of one of the display halls in Kelvingrove is an impressive sight. The aircraft, a Spitfire F Mk21 flew with 602 Squadron from 1947 to 1949. It was used in the Battle of Britain film. It has been on display since July 2006 after the reopening of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow but was at the former Transport Museum in Glasgow before that.


Identifying young birds before they develop the feathers and characteristics of the adult birds can sometimes be a challenge. There were two birds like this one swimming among the reeds at the side of the loch at Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire. After searching the bird books we eventually concluded that this was a junior Moorhen.

No mistaking the sleek lines and colours of an adult Great Crested Grebe. The Grebe is one of those "now you see it, now you don't" birds as it constantly dives down to catch fish before bobbing up again some distance from where it started.

One sunny, warm afternoon there were lots of damselflies down at the water's edge taking advantage of the warm weather to do what damselflies do - males courting the females so that another generation of damselflies will be around next year! These are the "Common Blue" variety.

Scone Palace

This has been a very poor year for seeing butterflies but we have always found that the butterfly garden in the grounds of Scone Palace can often produce good results - and so on a warm (around 65F) day in early September with a good amount of sunshine we set off there once again...

... and were not disappointed! Over 10 Peacocks, 5 red Admirals, 1 small Tortoiseshell, 1 small white, 1 large white and - best of all, 5 of our favourite butterflies, the Comma!

That white mark on the under-wing which looks vaguely like a comma punctuation mark is what prompted this butterfly to get its name.

Even though it was the butterflies we particularly wanted to see, I did take a number of photographs of the flowers at Scone. A new area focusing on growing vegetables also had a good number of colourful border plants including this Gaillardia - the blanket flower, one of the sunflower family. It was named after an M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate who was a patron of botany.

Geilston Garden, Cardross

Geilston Garden is owned now by the National Trust for Scotland and lies north-west of Cardross, Argyll and Bute. The Garden was developed more than two hundred years ago combining features such as traditional walled garden, kitchen garden, wooded area. The house is now unoccupied.

Geilston always has a great show of vibrant dahlias of various varieties creating a riot of border colour.

On the day we visited Geilston the sunshine encouraged a number of butterflies to come out of hiding and feed on the available nectar. This Red Admiral was on a buddleja and may of its relatives were enjoying long row of tall Verbena flowers

This flower is Agastache, a name derived from the Greek for "many spikes". This aromatic flowering herbaceous perennial plant is a native of eastern Asia and North America. The upright spikes of tubular, two-lipped flowers develop at the stem tips in summer. Colours are usually white, pink, mauve, or purple.

Although there was early morning mist on a number of mornings in September the good spells of sunny weather soon cleared that away and created conditions for clear pictures of the distant hills in Argyll from Geilston.

My Own Garden

After a summer when butterflies ere hard to come by, September proved to be so much better! More than one peacock turned up to feast on the Buddleja flowers and a Red Admiral enjoyed the nectar from Buddleja and Perennial Wallflower. Although the bees had been there before them they must have found what was on offer attractive as they also came back on other days when the shone.

This Small Tortoiseshell also came into our garden to enjoy the banquet that had been laid out for them in the form of Buddleja, Wallflower and Sedum "Autumn Joy". The butterflies must have noted our address as the place to come for a good lunch as the Red Admiral was still turning up in early October!

Clear skies in September created the conditions for moisture to gather on plants by morning and this hypericum (Rose of Sharon) has water droplets as well as flowers and berries to make a typical autumnal picture

After creating a show of roses during the summer months, in spite of the wet weather, the rose bushes produced a final bloom as the "last rose of summer".

If you want to read the other Diary entries going back to 2009, there is an Index page.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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