Thursday 31 December 2009

2009 comes to an end!

Well, it hasn't thawed out yet, so the ice palace near the cabin site is still impressive. New Year's Eve, was very quiet here, no fireworks thank goodness, Daisy loathes them. Instead, we had the clearest, chilliest view of the stars and a partial lunar eclipse. It looked like a chunk had been nibbled out of the bottom right edge of the moon.

Very best wishes to all for a fun and healthy 2010!

Friday 25 December 2009

Christmas Day 2009

We were house and cat sitting for some friends in Callander this Christmas. Only just about got out of the cabin site in our van, with the help of a friendly 4x4 driver! We miss our Landie!!

Here's Daisy enjoying opening her favourite present, a squeeky ball of course! Then, wide eyed and waggily tailed, the look of delight before consuming Christmas dinner in about 10 seconds flat!

Thursday 24 December 2009

A Bit of Work, then a Bit of Play

Christmas Eve and we did some ranger walks in the snow. Here's Will, enlightening everyone on the wonderful silver birch on Forest Survival.

Then, a bit of play on the snow tube before my Dusk Watch.

Sunday 13 December 2009

Ben Vane above the Clouds

No wanting a brilliant hill day to end, we reached the top of Stank Glen and sucked in some more vitamin D (we might not get any more for a while) and finished our hot chocolate. Not rushing back would mean finishing our walk in the dark, but we were familiar with the way and we had our trusty head torches. Then, even better than when you find a quid down the back of the chair, Will, remebered that he had packed Christmas cake in his sack! Food tastes so much better after a walk eh, guilt free too :-)!

When we eventually reached the logging roads, we entered the layer of eeery cloud again and entered a magical world of sparkling frost, glittering with the light of our torches. What a magical day!

On the way back to Bealach nan Corp above Stank Glen, we had good views of the snow capped hills to the north and that everlasting sunset above Glen Finglas to the West.

Eventually made it to the top of Ben Vane past the frozen peat bogs. The sun was setting though, so we couldn't enjoy the views for too long. Plus it was ffffreezing if you stopped for too long!

Oooh, look at that view. Above the clouds looking south towards Stirlling and a frosty Glen Buckie looking north. Beinn an t-Sidhein (or faery hill)bathing in the sunshine.

With the prospect of walking above the clouds, we couldn't resist a long winter day walk over to Ben Vane, from the cabins via Stank Glen. Very cold and icy, but surprisingly warmer the higher we went as we left the frosty glen and walked above the clouds, drenched in the orange winter sunshine :-).
Can you spot the stag, and another one? Just a small stag party, but Daisy soon scared them off. Luckily she was on the lead!

It's Getting Chilly!

Brrr, it's colder camped down here than it is high in the hills! We've never seen low cloud hang so much for so many days. It looks lovely though, hanging on the larch across the loch and being able to walk above the clouds is even better.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Tree O'Clock - Strathyre Cabins

Tree O'Clock meant that we attempted the world record for most trees planted in one hour across the UK. We planted 60 Scots pine as there's actually not that many around here, so one a minute.
Keep an eye out on the breathing places link to see if we all did it!

Wednesday 2 December 2009

White Outs on Ben Ledi

Icy, chilly and can't see a thing, except this 'flying rowan tree'.

Sunday 29 November 2009

Lochan nan Corp

Some of the first snow, so we walked up to Lochan nan Corp via Stank Glen.

Left is Daisy with Ben Ledi behind to the South. Right is a view to the East.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

The Fart of the Nun.

Not sure what on earth this bonnet looking fungus is on the left??

The other one is a puffball, or the latin name translates as an amusing 'wolf fart' :-) Whilst on a fungi foray, an Italian lady said that they new it as the 'fart of the nun' but I can't find any links to that on the Internet? Funny though, maybe nuns talc their butt and eat alot of sprouts??

I did read the other day that someone managed to convince some students to sniff up the puffball spores to get an hullicinagenic hit. However, they managed to sniff up so many they had the fungus growing on their insides affecting their breathing, eugh! Thankfully, some anti-fungal drugs cleared them up.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

A Tranquil Loch Lubnaig

A calm, dry day for a change and you can just see the first snow on the hills on Beinn Each in the distance.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Two Day Walk from Strathyre to Balquihidder and Glen Ample.

We eventually walked down from Glen Ample and reached the long Strathyre Road back to the cabin site. Stopped off at the remains of St Bride's Chapel, the end of an old coffin route via Ben Ledi's Bealach nan corp; fitting name! Found a lovely Scots pine there, (often marking a brave warrior's or chieftan's grave?) and a rather slug ridden fungus.

Water Kelpies?

We thought we wouldn't get a camp spot as everywhere was so wet, but we camped just before dark. It was quite comfy in the end in our new roomy tepee style tent.

Early morning mist in the glen, a bit unsettling due to the local water kelpies/water horses from Beinn Each (Horse Hill) that have a liking for young female flesh! I was obviously ok though, being past it now!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Faded rowan berries and Rob Roy MacGregors grave.

Autumn Colours

We went for a one night backpack from the cabin site, round to Balquihidder, then back around via Glen Ample. It rained of course, but the colours were amazing. The beech lined road had lots of red squirrels, jays and fungi.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Rememberance Sunday - Ben Ledi

Woke up to a crisp frost, a mirrored loch and blue skies, so after a damp few weeks we seized the day and went up Ben Ledi. Excellent views, above the clouds in places and snow on the hills to the north.

Saturday 31 October 2009

Hallowe'en - Dusk Watch

Hallowe'en fell on my Dusk Watch walk so of course we had to dress up! Thanks to Emma and Lesley for the loan of the costume, Will, only needed to shave his head and wack some make up on :-).

Will made me a broom out of Broom, linked to witches as the tips are hallucinagenic, or they would put bat's blood on the broom being linked to flying, evil creatures of the night. Everyone had to 'earn' their treats answering nature questions, traditionally kids would have to sing, tell jokes or recite poems, no tricks at all! Hallowe'en comes from the celtic festival called Semhain marking the end of summer, the 1st November being their new year. Later, Christians called this day All Hallows day, or All Saints day, thus 31st became known as Hallows eve. This evening also marked the time when the barrier to the spirit world was weak so they wore masks to scare away evil spirits or trick them into thinking they were one of them. Jack-O-Lanterns come from an Irish Miser, too naughty for heaven and hell after playing a trick on the devil. He still walks the earth holding his lantern until judgement day. Traditionally lanterns were carved from scottish turnips (or swede in England), or spuds or beets. Really hard, so when the Irish went to America, they started to use pumpkins.

Any young ladies wanting to find out their future husband? Cut an apple in half the wrong way, so you can see the pentagram symbol, eat it in front of a mirror by candlelight and he should appear in the reflection, oh er. Failing that, sleep with the apple under your pillow and you should dream about him! Also, hazelnuts can be used. Name some nuts after some prospective applicants, place them in a burning fire and chant "If you love me pop and fly, if you hate me burn and die". They can be used to predict the future of newlyweds too, depending on the character of the nuts in the fire, crackling is ideal, bursting indicating a stormy relationship, popping in opposite directions; best go your separate ways!

We didn't see the ghost train on the old track, or any water kelpies but there were a few bats - thus proving that bats aren't evil as we all had rowan berries in our pockets!

Sunday 25 October 2009

Fungi Festival Week at Aberfoyle

We managed to get on one of the Fungi Forays with Liz Holden, loads of fun and really interesting. In the afternoon we went on another local ranger walk; strange but fun doing a walk in our local area with another ranger. Hope the young lad on the walk is feeling better after getting kicked by a passing horse - ouch! Reminded us of The New Forest where feeding the ponies eventually results in aggression and kicking, on this occassion his dog was a bit too interested and worried the horse.

Spagnhum moss can be used to drink from, hanging baskets, as a swab, a sponge, or wiping your butt, or as a nappy! It's absorbant, antisceptic and a great water filter. Fir club moss used to be 40 metres high back in the day of the dinasours, but can be used to plat as a rope in survival situations etc.

Loads of lichen again, 'old mans beard' - birds use it for nesting, a great tinder, stu thickener, or clothes dye. A sign of clean air too - sniff, aaah! Rowan berries are everywhere still, on the trees and in animal droppings, going straight through them! The pentagram 5 pointed star on the berry is a symbol for protection against evil spirits, (amongst other things) so I'll be taking one on our Hallowe'en Dusk Watch walk on 31st!

Saturday 17 October 2009

Fungi and Lichen

Jelly antler fungi, not poisonous, but rubbery and insubstantial, alongside cup lichen like little golf tees or faery cups.

On the right is a grisette, edible but not advised as many similar looking ones are poisonous. The volva at the bottom being the sign to avoid!

Thursday 15 October 2009

Cobleland's New Bug Hotel

Will's just finished building a bug hotel for Cobleland Camspite. There are still lots of vacancies for the creepy crawlies to hide and keep warm. It's also part of the treasure hunt clues on the site. We took the idea from the one near Cashel's campsite on the edge of Loch Lomond, but this one is better of course! Thanks Forestry Commission for the big logs :-).

Sunday 4 October 2009

Cabin Fungi

Excellent, there's loads of fungi to talk about on our walks at the cabin site. The one on the left is a Brown Birch Bolete, a mushroom. There's an interesting story about the other one; Fly Agaric, probably the most recognisable toadstool, regarding yellow snow and flying reindeer. Want to know more or wondering what the difference is between a toadstool and a mushroom? Then you'll have to come up and see us and go on one of our walks :-)

Art in Nature

Spot the figures, which can be seen from one of the David Marshall Lodge walks in Aberfoyle. Spooky but tasteful.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Bye Bye Michele and Mark :-(

As the summer camping season comes to an end we had to say bye bye for now to Michele and Mark. Here we all are enjoying some rare time out altogether after the silly season of camping and ranger walks.