Sunday, 15 May 2011

Red squirrels, snow and a visit to a secret hideaway...

14th May....

Snow up on the Cairngorms...what better way to spend the day than up in the mountains...

Ok.... so I cheated and took the funicular railway to the top...the peak was covered in swirling cloud and it even started snowing!!!! It was minus 2 degrees. It just shows how prepared you have to be to walk in these mountains. I didn't have my warm gear, so I had a hot chocolate in the restaurant and waited for the clouds to clear to see the view.

Charlotte from Oxford University Press in the snow!

A ride back down the funicular and then on for a walk on the Rothiemurchus estate. I saw and heard my first cuckoo of the year and watched three red squirrels chase each other round and round a tree.

On to...a loch with its very own castle on the island. It reminded me of the landscapes in Sky Hawk. 

Some dramatic stormy skies....

....and back to the hotel, to relax and watch Eurovision!!! I was gutted Moldova didn't win!!

15th May

A day at Loch Garten....missed the male capercaillie (an impressive black turkey like bird) display. I think I was buying clotted cream fudge at the time. Capercaillie numbers have plummeted since the 1970's due to human interference. At Loch Garten the capercaillie can be seen from the hides, allowing the birds the peace and quiet they need.

An exciting moment...a male osprey intruder came to look at the ospreys' nest...he flew off when he saw the nest was well established...but it was a tense moment for a while. 

Male intruder near the Loch Garten ospreys' nest.

Before boarding the train to Stirling, I was given a rare view of the Loch Garten nerve centre. RSPB volunteers have a rota of 24 hour watch to protect the ospreys. It's this amazing dedication that has allowed osprey numbers to rise so successfully. I chatted to some of the volunteers who told me 'osprey watch' was so popular that the same people returned year after year. The binoculars they use are from a World War Two German U boat!!


Anonymous said...

Looks amazing!

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