Wordless Wednesday: Dawn of a New Decade

sunrise over Findhorn Bay, a few rowing boats in the foreground
sunrise over Findhorn Bay, a few rowing boats in the foreground

Wishing you all a blessed New Year!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/8 – 1/1600 s – ISO 100, f/8 – 1/1000 s – ISO 200 and f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 200.

Wordless Wednesday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #8

Word of the Day Challenge: Renewal

Looking Back at 2019 – Thank you for the Magic

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.

Raven’s Call became our most popular wildlife post of the year. A few other popular posts featuring wildlife were Summer Cygnets and Autumn Equinox featuring the pond swans, Two Herons and Mountain Frog.

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.

Hoarfrost became our most popular post featuring macro photography, posted late November after our first overnight frost. Flowers in the Detail, Fuzzy Blue and Cuckoo Flower also feature in the top ten posts for this year.

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.

Our most popular post on the blog Fragrant Breeze was inspired by the wonderful landscape of Assynt in the Spring. Five other scenic posts feature in the top ten for the year, including Loch Broom, Forest Lake and Where Ducks Fly. We were delighted when our photographic post Castle in the Rain inspired a poem by a fellow blogger in Castle Ardvreck.

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.

macro shot of a painted lady butterfly on a purple lilac

You can see the 2019 highlights from our sister blog Whippet Wisdom in
2019: Favourite Moments Through the Seasons.

Wishing you all a Happy Hogmanay,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #77: Favorite Photos of 2019

Haiku: Winter Solstice II

the day-moon in a blue sky over Findhorn Bay

snow on the peaks
a few more sleeps before
midwinter

© Xenia Tran

a sailing boat anchored in Findhorn Bay

We wish you all a wonderful Wednesday and a blessed Winter Solstice.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 100, f/5 – 1/320 s – ISO 100 and f/5 – 1/250 s – ISO 100.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #117: Midwinter

Your Daily Word Prompt: Duration

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Common

Silent Sunday: Into Twilight

a driftwood wigwam on the beach at twilight
a large piece of driftwood on the tidal line at twilight

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/160 s – ISO 100, f/4 – 1/125 s – ISO 160 and f/3.5 – 1/125 s – ISO 160.

Silent Sunday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #76: On Display

Wordless Wednesday: Changing Seasons

trees and reeds around a lake with first glimpse of autumn colours
trooping funnel mushroom surrounded by shamrock in forest

Thank you for all your good wishes before we went on our break! It’s lovely to be back and to see the changing colours around us.

Wishing you all a magical Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/160 s – ISO 100, f/2.8 – 1/100 s – ISO 100 and f/2.8 – 1/125 s – ISO 100.

Wordless Wednesday

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: Changing Seasons

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #65: Pick a Place

Silent Sunday: Loch Droma

Loch Droma north shore with trees, hills and mountains in the background
Loch Droma with a small island with trees

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/4 – 1/1600 s – ISO 160 and f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Becca’s Sunday Trees

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #56: Seascapes and/or Lakeshore

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Reflection

Silent Sunday: Coigach Dreams

Stac Pollaidh

a zoomed in shot of Stac Pollaidh in Coigach, Sutherland
the Coigach landscape under a blue sky with cotton wool clouds

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday from Coigach,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/1000 s – ISO 250, f/5.6 – 1/500 s – ISO 100 and f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Silent Sunday

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Hill

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #55: Dreamy

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Holidays

five colourful beach huts on the edge of the dunes overlooking the sea
a gentle surf breaking along the shore with rocks and outcrops in the distance

We’re taking a short Summer break and wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

You’re welcome to browse our archives while we’re away and we’ll be posting here again on Wednesday 17th July.

Thank you for all your support, it means a lot!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/1250 s – ISO 160, f/4 – 1/800 s – ISO 100 and f/4.5 – 1/1600 s – ISO 100.

Wordless Wednesday

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Wall

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 5+ Items

A Walk at Leitir Easaidh

Little Assynt

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.

fishing jetty at a lochan by Leitir Easaidh on a cloudy and damp morning

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.

stone and wood shelter with a grass roof by Loch Leitir Easaidh

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.

a solar and wind powered wooden toilet building with a grass roof beside a loch

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.

path at Leitir Easaidh climbing through the bog land and trees

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.

view across Loch Leitir Easaidh, with Quinag's cliff barely visible in the distance through the heavy cloud

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,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

The Little Assynt Estate is owned and managed for the community of Assynt by the Culag Community Woodland Trust.

Jo’s Monday Walk

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Breeze

Your Daily Word Prompt: Sustain

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Trail

Castle Ardvreck (Highlands, Scotland)

We are delighted to share this beautiful poem by Carol L Hatfield which was inspired by our photographs of Castle Ardvreck from yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post Castle in the Rain.

In Other Words....

Castle Ardvreck

My thanks to Xenia, whose photos inspired this poem.

(photo from castlesfortsbattles.co.uk)

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