Looking back at our tenth year in the Scottish Highlands we are once more so humbled by the beauty of nature and grateful to share a few favourite moments from the places we love.
We have enjoyed our walks along the river, the pond and the shores along the Moray Coast. It was early January, when the last grown up cygnets flew the river nest and began the next stage of their journey. The pond swans were fortunate to have cygnets again this year, with one them surviving into adulthood. The river has been abundant with wildlife, with merganser, heron, redshank, goosander, and a record number of ducks. The mild Autumn brought a second wave of ducklings, who are still thriving today. We’ve seen many migrating birds pass our shores, especially geese, greenshank and dunlin. In the forests, we enjoyed peaceful encounters with raven, each of them inspiring a poem.
With our mild Winter and plenty of rain during the Spring and Summer, 2019 was a good year for flowers, bumblebees and butterflies. The mild Autumn that followed saw many flowers bloom for a second time.
With the weather so much kinder than in 2018, we were able to travel North and West a few times. The beautiful landscape inspired many poems. In addition to haiku, haibun and tanka I revisited the villanelle and experimented with the lai nouveau and rubaiyat.
We want to say a very big thank you to all of you who take the time to visit and comment on our blog and to those of you who share your experiences through your own posts, photographs and poems. You are all an enormous inspiration and help make this world a better place.
A very big thank you too to all the lovely bloggers who host regular prompts and challenges. With so many photographs and impressions to chose from it’s a great help in finding a focus or different angle from which to approach a subject.
We look forward to what 2020 holds in store and wish you all a great start to the New Year. May this new decade bring new understanding and greater care for our natural world with increased compassion and peace among human beings.
With a lot of rain forecast and only a light breeze, we’re braving the elements for a walk along the all-abilities path at Leitir Easaidh. The path is solid and even, free from slippery tree roots and stones that can be treacherous in wet weather.
Several lochans sparkle among the heather and golden flowers of bog asphodel on brighter days. Loch Leitir Easaidh is the first one we come to, with a wooden fishing jetty and an adapted small boat, suitable for people with limited mobility.
On the other side of the jetty is a shelter, built with natural stone and local wood. It has a grass and heather roof and blends in beautifully with the natural environment. We pause here for a mug of tea during a heavy downpour. It’s a comfortable and soothing place to stay for a while. In nature and sheltered by nature.
Beside the jetty and shelter is a small wooden building with a composting toilet. The building is wind- and solar-powered and has a grass roof for insulation. When we reach Loch na h-Innse Fraoich, we find a similar building, shelter, jetty and adapted small boat there for the visitor’s convenience.
The views beyond the gorse-covered hills across the water are obscured by cloud today, making it feel as if we’re walking in a small world of our own. A short, steep path on the left leads directly to a viewpoint. The other path takes you there via a slightly longer, more gentle route.
The peaks and cliffs of Quinag are hidden above the clouds. It’s possible to continue deeper into this estate via a link path, which joins the Loch an t-Sabhail path. If the weather and visibility had improved, we would have been happy to combine these two walks.
Despite the rain and poor visibility we enjoyed our walk here. It was very peaceful and the few walkers we met seemed to think we were on to a good thing too.
The Leitir Eiseadh paths are excellent and suitable for people of all abilities, including wheelchair users.
Wishing you all a happy Monday and a wonderful new week,