I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


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Reflective figures standing in the forest

The Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Aberfoyle, December 2018. Artist: Rob Mulholland

There are six mirrored figures here – very handily wearing festive hats so that we could spot them more easily!

I’m joining in with Debbie’s Six Word Saturday today.

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A wintery walk beside Loch Achray

Sitting here in California’s warm sunshine and blue skies, I finally find myself with enough time to write a post about a walk we went on one afternoon during the Christmas break, when the temperature was quite different from what I’m experiencing today, although the blue sky was the same.

Loch Achray is in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and we approached it along a path accessible from The Byre Inn in the village of Brig o Turk.  The Byre is a great place for a fortifying drink before setting off on your walk, or for a tasty meal or warming drink by the log fire after your walk (or both!).

Following the path we walked across the bridge over Black Water and through the farm.  This chimney pot looks as little bit precarious!

Snow covered Ben Venue is in the distance as the loch comes into sight.

From the water’s edge we could see the small Trossachs Church on the other side of the loch.  The church was completed in 1849 and is still in use today.

We decided to turn back at this point as the light was soon going to start fading and we wanted to get back to our starting point before dark.

Nearly back at the Byre Inn again, some Highland cows wandered through the trees to get a closer look – maybe just curious, but perhaps they thought we’d brought them some dinner.

The sun was dropping lower and lower as we approached the 18th century Brig o Michael which would take us over Black Water and to the end of our walk.

I’m linking this with Jo’s Monday Walk where you can join in with other walks, short and long.


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Glen Finglas Reservoir

During the festive break in Scotland, we had one sunny morning when the rain stayed away and the gale force winds had finally subsided, so we grabbed the opportunity for a quick outing.

Despite having visited the area on many, many occasions over the years this was the first time I had walked to Glen Finglas to look at the dam and the reservoir.  Glen Finglas is in the heart of  the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and in the mid 1960s a dam was built at one end, the valley was flooded,  and a reservoir created to serve the city of Glasgow.  There is parking near the small tea room in Brig o’ Turk (sadly closed over the winter, so there was no opportunity for a warming hot chocolate after our exertions) and from there the walk to the dam is an easy stroll.

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We have a view of snow covered Ben Venue in the distance as we set off along the road.

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We pass an information board which tells us about the poet, author, social thinker and artist John Ruskin and a group known as The Glasgow Boys.  Click on the picture to read all about it.

p1020283In 1853 Glen Finglas was the setting for a  scandal surrounding Ruskin and the artist John Everett Millais – a scandal which rocked the British art establishment and Victorian society and which involved a painting and an affair…  You can read all about it here.  Our walk takes us past the red-porched house in Brig o’ Turk in which Ruskin and his wife probably stayed during that summer.

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Just above ‘Ruskin Rock’.

As we approach the dam, our surroundings change from rugged woodland on either side of the road and the tumbling waters of the river to manicured grass – it is quite a contrast.

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Following the path round to the left we make our way up onto the dam itself and are afforded beautiful views of the reservoir and surrounding hills.

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If you enjoyed this walk and have some energy left, you might like to join  Jo’s Monday Walks.


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St Andrews

It was a chilly April day when my mum, sister and I travelled to St Andrews to see a small, temporary exhibition of photographs which was on display at the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum.  The photos were of ‘lost’ buildings: buildings which had either been demolished, or developed over the years.  Our interest in these photos was because they were taken by my mum and dad on our family summer holidays when I was a little girl.  I had submitted several photos of the Step Rock Pool and beach and four were chosen.

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Photo credit: persistentbooks.co.uk

The museum staff treated us like celebrities – they thought it was marvellous that two people who appeared in these ‘historic’ photos should be there in person in the museum.  After our visit, we had coffee in a coffee shop with some royal ‘history’ before setting off on a small tour of the town and pier.  My sister spent four years in St Andrews, at university, so she was looking forward to revisiting some old haunts.

The university of St Andrews was founded in 1413 and is the oldest in Scotland.  Walking through an archway on South Street, we found ourselves in the quadrangle of St Mary’s College.  The first of the buildings which form this quadrangle was begun in 1538 and was known as the ‘New College’!

The quadrangle contains a Holm Oak tree, thought to be about 275 years old and an ancient thorn tree said to have been planted by Mary, Queen of Scots in the sixteenth century.

In the middle of the quadrangle is a bronze statue of Bishop Henry Wardlaw, the founder of this place.

All around the quadrangle there are trees and flower beds and, when we visited, drifts of ramsons, or wild garlic.

Just to the left of the archway into St Mary’s College is the Library, with an interesting line marked on the pavement.

Moving on from the college we went to one of the areas of St Andrews that I remember the most – the swimming pool and beaches.  The pool where I learned to swim is now part of the Aquarium and seals are in the section that used to be the paddling pool.

From our vantage point above the Step Rock Pool we could see over to the West Sands, which you may know from a scene in the film Chariots of Fire where the athletes are running along the beach.

We then made our way to the harbour and pier – another area I remember well from childhood when I used to sit with a little fishing line and a bucket of bait and see if I could catch anything.  I don’t remember actually catching anything!

From the pier you can see back to the ruins of the cathedral and across to the ruins of the castle and the beach below it, which was the other beach we visited during our holidays.  It was a stony, rather than a sandy, beach so was not my favourite one.

Then we walked along the pier, which we had almost to ourselves.

We decided enough was enough after our breezy pier walk and got back into the car and headed off to find somewhere warm and cosy to have something to eat.

My sister wrote here about her visit to the exhibition in the museum, and experiencing other people’s memories.

I hope you enjoyed your bracing walk round St Andrews – it would certainly have blown away any cobwebs which might have been lingering after the weekend.  If you still have the energy for more, pop along to Jo’s Monday Walk where there are plenty of other walks to join in with.


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weekly photo challenge: weight(less)

“This week, share a photo of something marked by its weight — or its air of weightlessness.”

bee on lavender

A bee on a lavender flower

bee landing on agapanthus

A bee flying on to an agapanthus flower.

Weekly Photo Challenge


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Bench Series: April – a bench with a view #2

With stunning views over the Firth of Clyde, there are plenty of benches along the seafront in Largs and on a warmer and less windy day they would probably be full up!

benches on the seafront at Largs

benches on the seafront at Largs

This post is linking up with Heyjude’s Bench Series – for April the subject is benches with a view.