Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

June - Week 4

"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 time of year.

I'm not sure why this cygnet warranted a lift on mum's back - the other four cygnets were paddling alongside. The last time I saw cygnets on a parent's back was in torrential rain and all the youngsters were sheltering in amongst the feathers.

It was after seeing the cistus shrub in flower beside St Fillan's church in Aberdour in Fife that I planted one in my own garden. Cistus is also called "Sun rose" and it certainly responds to the sunshine. Those lovely flowers (about three inches across) only last for about a day, but there are always plenty more buds queuing up to burst open the next day.

Unlike the Cistus above, Abutilon flowers are long lasting. They are natives of the tropics and in Scotland are often grown in conservatories. This magnificent specimen is sheltered by a nearby a wall and coastal locations such as Aberdour tend to get less frost than inland.

A real sign that summer is advancing is the appearance of Damselflies - and the larger Dragonflies will not be far behind. This particular variety is the "Common Blue" Damselfly.

The island of Inchcolm, or Island (from the Gaelic innis) of Columba, is a quarter of a mile from the shore on the coastal path between Aberdour and Dalgety Bay in Fife. It may have been an early Christian settlement, long before the 12th century stone-roofed building was preserved and given a vaulted roof by the monks of the later St Colm's Abbey. The Pentland Hills in the distance are in Midlothian, south of the Firth of Forth.

The number of Small Copper butterflies has been declining in recent years, so it's always good to see the first ones each year. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Vane Farm nature reserve beside Loch Leven in Kinross seems to be a good spot to see the Small Copper early in the season. These early arrivals will produce the offspring that will appear later in the year in August and September. The male Small Copper is an aggressive character and will fly to attack any other passing insects or even larger butterflies.

The flowers of the Kalmia are sometimes described as "miniature parasols". The clusters of flowers covering this shrub produce a dramatic display, especially as here in the garden beside Glendoick House in Perthshire where they have a collection of a number of different varieties of Kalmia in shades of pink, red, lilac and white. Kalmia are native to North America and Cuba.

It is difficult to convey in photographs the sheer size of cardiocrinum giganteum. The bulbs produce up to 25 flowers that are 8 inches long at the top of stems that rise to 6/7 feet. The books say that this lily is richly scented but it is hard to get close enough to confirm that! The bulbs die after flowering but produce bulblets and seeds that will develop over the next few years.

Usually it is very difficult to take photographs of swallows as the swoop and dart through the air catching insects. But the RSPB nature reserve at Loch Leven has placed a number of ledges in an access tunnel that runs under a main road. Every year the swallows take up residence there and so it is possible to take photos not only of the adults but also of the gaping beaks of their hungry offspring!

The most common colour of the large mecanopsis or Himalayan poppy is a bright sky-blue, but there are a number of other colours such as yellow, white and this striking lavender shade. As you can see, the photograph was taken after a shower of rain.

Mecanopsis flowers have a tendency to droop their heads and this red Mecanopsis punicea carries that to an extreme!

Nomocharis is a lily-like flower which originated in the Himalayas. It is tricky to grow but there are usually a number of examples in the woodland walk area at Glendoick House.

The village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond is in an idyllic setting and nearly every house on the main street has climbing roses in a range of different colours. Luss is a conservation village and the busy Loch Lomond road bypasses it - even so, it needs a large car park to accommodate the many tourists who call there. Luss became even more popular when it became the main outdoor location for the Scottish Television drama series "Take the High Road." The fictional name 'Glendarroch' from the series is used by some of the tourist traps in the village.

Kellie castle in Fife dates as far back as 1150 when Malmure, thane of Kellie, witnessed a charter from King David I. Later, the estate was signed over to a Walter Oliphant and his descendants lived in Kellie for 250 years. In 1613 the property was purchased by Sir Thomas Erskine - who had saved the life of King James VI during the "Gowrie Conspiracy". The King stayed at Kellie in 1617, during his only visit to Scotland after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Kellie was abandoned early in the 19th century, but a Professor James Lorimer took it over and rescued it. Members of the Lorimer family stayed in Kellie as tenants and eventually bought the castle in 1948. It is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

The Campsie Fells (hills) are visible from the windows of my house. They are not very high, less than 1,900 feet, but rise sharply from the broad valley of the river Clyde (and can be seen clearly from tall buildings in the centre of Glasgow). This picture of the Campsie Fells, however, was taken from the northern side, near the little village of Fintry in Stirlingshire. It's when you see all that greenery that you appreciate just how much rain falls in this part of the country!

As mentioned earlier, there were large numbers of rambling roses in front of the houses in the village of Luss. There was a wide variety of colours - including this one that seemed to have been produced by spilling a number of paint pots.

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

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