Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

July - Week 1

"Scotland Week by Week" contains a selection of flowers, animals, birds and scenery typical of the time of year. The photographs were previously part of a regular "Colour Supplement" which ran for nearly four years as part of the original Scottish Snippets newsletter. While seasons do vary from year to year, this collection gives a good idea of the flora and fauna typical of central Scotland at each week of year.

The lobster pots in the harbour seem to be colour co-ordinated with the pretty fishing village of Anstruther in the East Neuk of Fife. Even the imported sand matches the colour scheme!

The flowers of Astrantia are actually very small and look more like stamens, surrounded as they are by papery bracts behind. They often do well in shady areas as they prefer a lot of organic material in the soil.

The blue Himalayan Mecanopsis is the most popular variety of this member of the poppy family. But Mecanopsis also come in yellow, red, pink and purple - as well as white. This one was photographed growing in the garden of Kinross House.

Adult Lapwings begin to moult in June but this one, at the RSPB reserve at Vane Farm, near Loch Leven, still has its sweeping crest prominently on the back of its head.

Although thistles can be found all across the UK and Ireland, it has become particularly associated with Scotland as our national flower.

My grandfather used to travel around Scotland and even down to England, winning prizes at flower shows with his prize Begonias (as big as dinner plates, I was told), so I've always had a liking for them. Even when they look more like a rose, as seen here at Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire on Tuesday.

This unusual and striking flower is called "Primula Vialii". Many primulas tend to bloom in spring but this variety is summer flowering. It is easily grown, but is short lived.

The mother of these seven Mallard chicks keeps a watchful eye on her brood - but soon after they hatch they can swim, dive and feed themselves. The male mallard beetles off once the eggs have been laid and takes no further part in their survival. These ducklings were photographed at Colzium Lennox Estate in North Lanarkshire.

What better flower to illustrate the lazy days of summer than a Water Lily? There are many different varieties of "Nymphaea" (their proper name) but white with yellow stamens is the most commonly found.

Looking like a distant relative of a thistle, the large (two inches or more across) yellow blooms of Centaurea Macrocephela make an impressive show in the herbaceous border. The flowers are surrounded by papery, silvery brown bracts which dry out well and so are popular with flower arrangers.

Port Logan Bay is in the extreme south-west of Galloway. The village harbour features a quay and lighthouse designed by Thomas Telford. Port Logan was the setting for the BBC series Two Thousand Acres of Sky. Nearby to Port Logan are the Logan Botanic Gardens and the Logan Fish Pond. In 1788 the Laird of Logan decided to create a "Fish Larder" for storing live sea fish by adapting a natural rock formation on the shore. Wild fish still come from the sea to be hand-fed.

There are palm trees and lots of unusual plants at the Logan Botanic Gardens. Gazania are not particularly rare, but this one (a variety called "Northbourne") was particularly colourful. Gazanias also known as Treasure Flower and are natives of South Africa. The blooms are produced freely from mid-summer to mid autumn, particularly if blooms are dead-headed once they start to wither, allowing fresh ones to pop up. Although perennials, they are quite tender plants and will only survive over winter in sheltered positions in milder areas of Britain. Elsewhere, they can be lifted and kept over winter in cool greenhouses.

Carlsluith castle, overlooking Wigtown Bay in what is now Dumfries and Galloway, is a typical tower house of the time, with rooms built one on top of the other. It was begun in late 15th or early 16th century by a family of Cairns who had been supporters of the 4th Earl of Douglas. It passed by marriage to Richard Broun (or Brown), a family that had been in the area since the early 12th century. The castle remained with the Brouns until 1748.

The Cistercian Glenluce Abbey was founded by the Lord of Galloway in 1192. It was somewhat overshadowed by nearby Whithorn Priory and Dundrennan Abbey and was probably used as a guest house for those travelling to these other places of pilgrimage - King Robert the Bruce visited in 1329 and King James IV called on at least two occasions. It remained a monastery until the Reformation of the Scottish Church. The last monk passed away in 1602.

Another brightly coloured flower from Logan Botanic Gardens - Hemerocallis or Day Lily. So called because although there is a profusion of successive blooms, the flowers only last for about a day.

The Mull of Galloway is the most southerly point in Scotland. "Mull" is the Scots word for promontory or peninsula and there is a long (and I do mean "long") single-track road to the most southerly tip. I had expected to find it deserted and wind-swept. It was wind-swept all right, but the overflowing car park, the Gallie Craig Coffee House (with a turf roof to blend into the landscape) and an RSPB visitor centre meant that it was far from being deserted!

Gladioli flowers are more often seen later in the season but this one - named "The Bride" - was photographed in the walled garden at Culzean Castle Country Park. Gladioli originally came from Southern Africa.

Glasgow has a reputation for fine engineering, so the recent problems with the new "Squinty" Bridge and (a few years back) with the Kingston Bridge which had to have new supports inserted, have somewhat tarnished its image. But the reputation was formed in Victorian times and the early 20th century when fine structures such as the South Portland Street pedestrian suspension bridge were created across the river Clyde. It links Clyde Street on the north bank to Carlton Place on the south. The bridge opened in 1853, replacing an earlier wooden one.

With dire reports of the decline in the number of bees, it's almost a relief to see this busy bee gathering nectar from this Eryngium flower with its spiny bracts. With its resemblance to a thistle, Eryngium is sometimes incorporated by florists into button hole arrangements for a groom's jacket lapels at weddings.

The graceful foaming flower heads of Filipendula come in white, cream, pink or red varieties. Filipendula has a musky fragrance and is related to the wild flower Meadowsweet.

Alstroemeria (also known as the Peruvian Lily) comes in a variety of attractive, showy flowers. A native of South America, they last well after being cut and so are popular with commercial growers and flower arrangers. These Alstroemeria look particularly striking against the blue sky.

There has been a theatre on the site of the present Theatre Royal in Hope Street in Glasgow since 1867 - it received a Royal charter two years later from Queen Victoria. The original Theatre Royal in the city had been demolished a few years earlier to make way for St Enoch railway station. In 1957 the building became the studios for the new Scottish Television (STV) company. Even so, the auditorium was left largely intact so when STV moved to custom build premises next door, the Theatre Royal reverted to its original use. It was subsequently acquired by Scottish Opera and is home to that company as well as Scottish Ballet.

Following the Reformation of the church in Scotland in 1560, Roman Catholic worship in Scotland had to be carried out in secret and technically Catholic places of worship were not permitted until after 1778. The influx of Irish immigrants to Glasgow in the early 19th century (numbers rose from 450 in 1805 to over 3,000 in 1817) led to the building of a major place of worship for them on the north bank of the river Clyde. It was completed in 1817 and designated a cathedral in 1889. The title on the notice board outside the building these days describes it as "The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew".

Sometimes the camera has to be very low to be able to point up and get flowers silhouetted against the sky. Not so with Thalictrum - the mass of fluffy flowers are often on slender stems up to five feet high.

If you want to look back at other editions of these photos of Scotland week by week, there is an Index Page

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line