I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


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.



Meander around Mevagissey harbour

It was quite early on a bright Saturday morning at the end of March and Mevagissey harbour was looking very attractive.  The tide was out and the boats just lay there, waiting for the water to come and release them.

We started by walking along the east wharf, past the very sheltered inner harbour, stopping to look back towards the town. There is a little museum here but it wasn’t open, sadly.

Walking on we went right to the end of the breakwater which forms part of the outer harbour and stood for a while watching the waves.

Looking across we could see the other side of the harbour and decided to retrace our steps and then walk along the west wharf to the lighthouse which marks the harbour entrance.

On our way to the lighthouse we had spotted a sign for the coastal path and decided to go up the steps and then loop round and back into town through the houses.  From the top we had great views of the harbour and buildings.

Walking down through the narrow streets we decided that a warming coffee was needed to finish off our little outing and there was no shortage of choices of cafes around the harbour from which to choose.

I’m linking this with Jo’s Monday Walk, where you will find lots of other lovely walks.


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.


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



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.




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.



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.


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


Balboa Park – Japanese Friendship Garden

Balboa Park in San Diego, California has many beautiful areas, museums and gardens.  Today we are going for a walk round the Japanese Friendship Garden.  The garden started just as a teahouse, built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, but now covers 12 acres of the park.

It was a beautiful day when we visited and we took a slow meander along the paths, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the pools, river and waterfalls.



I am, cheekily, linking this post with two other bloggers.  First with Jude’s Garden Challenge, for which I have not contributed anything for quite a while. This month she has invited us to share Urban spaces and, as this garden is in the city of San Diego, it fits the bill perfectly.  The second link is to Jo’s Monday Walk, which I haven’t taken part in for a while either.  There isn’t much description for this walk, because I didn’t want to intrude on the peace and tranquility of it with my chatter. The Japanese garden is the sort of place where you quietly think your own thoughts, perhaps sitting on a bench for a little while admiring the view, or walking in quiet contemplation along the paths.  I hope you feel calmer for your visit.


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.


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.


Charlecote Park


Charlecote Park, on the edge of the River Avon in Warwickshire, is a 16th century house with delightful gardens and parkland designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.   We visited in May when spring was well on its way and everything was looking fresh and bright.

We looked inside the house and then went for a stroll through the gardens, starting with the formal parterre which is on a terrace overlooking the river.


Walking in the rest of the gardens brought interesting sights round every corner.

After stopping for a refreshing drink (no cake for us this time!) on what had turned out to be quite a hot day,  we walked out through the stable yard, over the bridge and round the parkland where fallow deer roam freely (but decided to keep their distance), and the historic Jacob sheep and lambs were grazing.


It wasn’t a challenging walk at all, just a gentle stroll really, but there was plenty to see and it was perfect for a spring day, with the promise of summer to come.

I’m joining in with Jo’s Monday Walk.






A blustery afternoon in Largs

My recent visit to my mum’s was marred by mainly dull, damp and dreary weather, but we decided that after 4 days of waiting for better weather, we would just drive to the coast regardless, and if it was too bad when we got there we could just turn round and come back!

So, on Saturday we set off for Largs, on the Clyde coast, our aim to have lunch in our favourite restaurant followed by a walk along the promenade.  The journey was uneventful and the skies were clear enough that we could see the hills in the distance as we journeyed along (the first time we had been able to see them clearly for 5 days!) and all was going well until we approached Largs when a few spots of rain started to fall.  As we queued to get into the promenade-side car park, the rain got heavier and we watched as people hurriedly put up their umbrellas, or fastened their raincoats (a day trip to the seaside in Scotland should always feature at least one of these items), many of them making for their cars.  The result of this was that we didn’t have to wait for as long as we had expected to get through the car park barrier and into a spot close to the restaurant.

Nardini’s is a Largs institution which my mother has visited since she was a young woman when she and friends would take a bus trip to Largs after work in the summer.  She also went to the town on holidays with her family in the late 1920s/early 1930s so it was a trip down memory lane.

We were lucky and were shown to a seat straight away – in the section of the cafe nearest to the grand piano, where a pianist was playing for our entertainment.

We had a quick look at the menu, although it was just a formality really. There was no question about what we were going to eat – fish and chips in Nardini’s is the thing to have!  We had a regular portion each – I have no idea how anyone could manage a large one!  To follow we had ice cream – which is what Nardini’s was originally known for, and it would be all wrong to go there and not have one!  I had two scoops with a topping of tablet, and my mum had a child size knickerbocker glory (with a randomly chosen German flag!).  Everything was delicious.

Meanwhile, the rain had eased and the view from the rain spattered window showed promise of brighter things to come.

view from Nardini's

In the better weather there would be tables and chairs out here, but not today.

The only way in and out of the cafe is through the ice cream parlour.   Having just had my delicious ice cream, I admired all the different flavours but wasn’t tempted (at that point – who’s to say I wouldn’t have managed some later!).

Once back outside we set off across the road towards the promenade and our walk along to the life boat station.  There were a few people doing the same thing – determined not to let the weather put them off.  In this part of the world if you wait for good weather, you might never do anything!

Largs prom

Largs prom

We had a quick look in the shop attached to the lifeboat station then made our way back towards the pier, where the ferry from Millport had just offloaded its vehicles and passengers.

We found an unoccupied bench (which wasn’t hard really as there were plenty of them and not too many people looking for a seat) and sat a while with our hoods up and collars held tight to our necks to keep the wind out and watched the activity around the pier, the ferry comings and goings and the few hardy people who were out with their dogs on the beach.

Even the seagull’s feathers were getting a bit ruffled.

P1010575 (640x480)

Feeling refreshed by the bracing breeze we headed back to the shelter of the car, and made our way home, but not before I noticed that the continuous onshore breeze had obviously been having quite an effect on the flags on top of Nardini’s!


It’s a very short walk, but I am linking it with Jo’s Monday Walk.  Meander on over there and see where other people have been walking.