Normally during half-term holiday we end up working or splitting our days off to look after the kids. This time we decided, back in August(!), to go away to Scotland and to enjoy a proper half-term holiday away from the normality of home. As it is with looking and booking holiday homes on-line there is always a little trepidation when you finally arrive at the front door, fingers crossed, that it lives up to the expectation that the pictures generated. Fortunately, the place we booked turned out to be amazing and a million times better than the pictures suggested. Whilst it was relatively close to a busy main road this was more than compensated for by having a river at the bottom of the garden and a view out across the beginning of the Grampian Mountains. The cottage was on the opposite side of the river to the closest town, but fortunately also at the bottom of the garden was a bridge. How handy!
Joining us for the first 4 days was Mr & Mrs Cakes who were also looking forward to chilling out and forgetting about the daily grind. In fact, the visitors didn’t stop there as one of Mr & Mrs Cakes good friends, a certain lead singer from the group Ladytron and her hubby also came up for a day – although to be fair they didn’t have as long a journey as they now live back north of the border. Us men went for a short bike ride on the Sunday following the Etape Caledonia route, meeting the rest of the gang in a lovely country hotel for what turned out to be a rather late lunch.
Following what turned out to be quite a hectic weekend, we spent the rest of the week enjoying the fantastic Scottish sun and blue sky, and visited a number of woodland walks and spectacular waterfalls in and around Pitlochry. The autumn colours were absolutely stunning and reminded me of my travels around New England each fall when I lived in New York. In fact, I would go as far to say that this Scottish autumn did enough
to rival the New England fall!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures and maybe if you haven’t been to Scotland in the autumn/fall they might inspire you to book a trip in the future. These pictures are only a select few, if you would like to see the rest of the set click the following link.
This afternoon me and the family took a trip to Ness Gardens. The website describes much better than I could so why bother trying when I can easily cut and paste the text from their website!
Set on the Wirral Peninsula, Ness offers the enthusiast many horticultural delights including a replica of an imaginative show garden designed by Chris Beardshaw which won prestigious awards at Tatton; extensive, beautiful herbaceous borders always with something to offer the eye; a Victorian style Potager with many fruit trees and vegetables and Alpine House; a waterfall and water gardens; the largest UK collection of sorbus and most of the 49 known species of birch; plus seasonal surprises such as a splendid laburnum arch, and magnificent collections of magnolias, camellias, and rhododendrons.
The gardens were designed by Arthur Bulley, a local cotton merchant in Liverpool, and When he died in 1948 he left the gardens to the University of Liverpool with an endowment of £75,000 to ensure that they remained as a botanic garden which would serve as a reminder to their creator. On the day we visited the entrance to the gardens was free for everyone as part of the heritage celebration, however, normally University of Liverpool staff and their immediate family can gain free entry on any day. Good for us since Lou works at the University!
If you are into plants and wildlife then I would definitely urge you to take a trip to the gardens and then to enjoy afternoon tea in Rose’s tearoom! On this particular visit there were lots of dragonflies buzzing around, some the apparent size of a small bird! The one photographed below was clinging to a rock a few inches above the water of a large pond. I was quite amazed I managed to get a good shot as I the only lens I had with me was a 28mm prime which meant I had to crouch down and get real close to fill the frame. Surprisingly it didn’t seem too bothered by this and stayed around long enough for me to get ‘the shot’!
The version uploaded here is a low(ish) resolution version but go to my flickr site which has the original uploaded. The detail in the fly, in particular its eyes, is amazing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/djjohnson/sets/72157631355412954/