Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

March - Week 2

Crocus and Raindrops

Very light showers - smirr is the Scots word for that type of rain - clung to the petals of this striped purple crocus, creating an effect that professional photographers sometimes produce with a water spray!

Pink-footed Goose

The small size and unusual colouring of this goose at Drumpellier Country Park marked it out as different from the many Greylag geese that frequent the loch there. Reference to bird guides showed that it was a Pink-footed Goose - though some other types of geese have feet and legs that are just as pink! They do not normally frequent the west of Scotland, being more usually found in Fife, the Firths of Forth and Tay and the Moray Firth, where tens of thousands over-winter. Many will fly from the breeding grounds in Greenland to Iceland and then on to Scotland and England, arriving in October. By this time of year they should be heading back to their summer home.

The solitary Pink-footed goose had obviously attracted the attention of this Greylag Goose, which was observed keeping close to the stranger - who looked a bit uncomfortable at the popularity. This photo is just asking to be entitled "Do you come here often" in the classic Glasgow dance-hall approach!


If the Pink-footed Goose was not showing off its feet, that could not be said about this handsome Redshank - though this one was standing on just one leg, as they often do. They are found all round the coasts of the British Isles, but around half of the birds wintering in Britain are from Iceland, though others breed in the British Isles too.

Eider Ducks

Eider Ducks are also found around the coasts of the British Isles, but being particularly wary of humans, they are usually only seen in remote locations. This flock, however, was paddling up the Firth of Clyde, off Helensburgh. Some of the brightly coloured adult male ducks are rising up out of the water - part of their mating display. Younger male birds take four years to develop those adult markings. Eiders dive to the seabed for food - mainly mussels and other shellfish.

Sunset over Gare Loch

This sun here is setting over the Rosneath Peninsula, across the Gare Loch from Helensburgh.

This variety of white crocus is a bit slower than the purple one above in coming into flower - and also needs that sun to encourage it to show off the contrasting orange stamens.

It is surprising that such a shy creature as the roe deer is often found near populated areas. They can be seen in the Necropolis (Glasgow's oldest cemetery, near the city centre) and in many parts of suburbia. At least these examples (a buck and three does) are out in the countryside, sharing the farmer's fields with the cows and horses. Shortly after this photograph was taken, they realised we were there - and bounded off.

Individual daffodils in favoured positions or specially cultivated for early flowering, have been brightening up gardens and parklands for a few weeks. It will be a whole yet before the real "host of golden daffodils" appears - watch this space!

Camellias in various shades of pink are more common that these delicate white ones - which tend to get damaged more easily by late overnight frosts. This one was growing in a south-facing border in Finlaystone Country Estate, Renfrewshire.

The water from a small lochan in Finlaystone Country Estate flows rapidly downhill towards the river Clyde. Recent heavy rain turned the normally placid burn into this raging torrent.

A series of massive granite sculptures by Ronald Rae were displayed in Holyrood Park - many are now on display at the Falkirk Wheel. This 20-tonne pink granite sculpture is worth about 100,000.

The statue of Greyfriars Bobby must be one of the most photographed in Edinburgh, a city which is full of sculptures (mainly dignitaries and famous sons of Scotland's capital). Bobby was immortalised in an American children's book by Eleanor Atkinson which portrays the Sky terrier's master as a farmer from the Pentland Hills. Bobby remained by his master's grave for 14 years after he was buried in the churchyard. He survived by being fed by locals who were impressed by his devotion. Recent research suggests the animal was owned by a local Edinburgh policeman - which is why he may have been called Bobby, one of the nicknames given to British policemen. The life-size statue of Bobby (who died on 14 January 1872) was erected on top of a drinking fountain outside Greyfriars Churchyard shortly after the dog's death.

Back in the summer of 2006, 60 life-size, decorated, fibre-glass cows brightened Edinburgh's streets and visitor attractions as part of "CowParade". In a "livestock" auction at a glittering event attended by a host of celebrities, they were sold to the highest bidder. By the end of the evening, 250,000 had been raised for charity, as the great and the good competed for their own part of the herd. This one now stands beside the "Hub" - a cafe, restaurant and ticket office for the Edinburgh Festival. That looks like the traditional fireworks at the end of the annual Festival painted on the side of the cow.

There are often complaints about the "Tartan tat" souvenir shops that have proliferated along the Royal Mile, selling low-priced souvenirs to passing tourists. "The Scottish Experience" is just one of many along this historic street selling tartan "kilts" (actually tea towels) for 10... Round the corner is "Thistle Do Nicely".

Another kind of experience on the Royal Mile, a few yards from Edinburgh Castle, is the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre visitor attraction. This provides an insight into Scotland's national drink via an interactive tour, a barrel ride through whisky history - and a tutored tasting of Scotch Whisky. Just the thing for a wet afternoon - these Polyanthus were in window boxes outside, soaking up the rain.

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?

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