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Isles of Wonder

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Spring begins to bubble as I walk along by the falls of the Clyde on the way up to Ardnamurchan; glimpses of new leaves, splashes of wild flowers colour the banks and meadows.

For those of you who like music with the pictures ~ this Enya song ‘Watermark’ seems to work ~ each shining splash of raindrop and ray of sun like crystals in the light, bouncing rainbows across the sky:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO5tb20qQnA

Marsh marigold lights the way along this unexpected but lovely walk alongside the Clyde in New Lanark:

Sparkling pink flowers brighten the paths:

Beech leaves about to open, splashed from the waterfall:

Arriving in Ardnamurchan and the sounds of spring fill the air, lambs bleat, the cuckoo calls and the stream chuckles its way to the loch:

Even on cloudy days the light intrigues me, this is at the bottom of the garden where we stayed:

Driving along the almost empty roads in the golden hour, turning a corner to see these majestic creatures:

From magnificent deer to the tiny toadstool in the rain soaked grass…….everything seemed so clear, so unspoilt:

Cherry blossom lined the 3 ponds that had been dug in the garden, using water diverted from the stream ~ wish I could go back in the autumn to see [and taste] the cherries!!

The weather was similar to April ~ showers and then sun but by the look of the moss they have their fair share of rain ~ luckily not in the week we were there:

A land of rainbows ~ there must have been at least 4 in the week we were there:

Just one of the highlights of this beautiful area was the pine marten who visited every night to have a picnic of peanuts! On this occasion there were two!

Walking along the road, dotted with primroses and bluebells, wild garlic grew by the streams:

And purple vetch:

Weather watching became a fascination ~ one minute rain and the landscape turns blue:

Six minutes later and we have blue sky:

The biggest traffic hazard here in Arnamurchan is the sheep ~ this one was quite shy!

As the sun began to shine so the leaves started to open, with their dazzling brightness:

Each night as dusk fell so the pine marten would return, he seemed not to mind even when I opened the window to see him better, it was just fabulous watching him so close! Not sure if he dropped this peanut when I clicked the camera!

Ardnamurchan is only a short ferry crossing to Mull ~ the Hebriddean islands are known for the windy conditions!

Across Mull and onto Iona ~ where I wish I could have stayed forever ~ another isle of wonder!

How is this for free range ~ wandering wherever they please all over the island it seemed! [scrambled egg the next morning was the brightest yellow I ever saw!]

And crab cakes freshly caught that morning! [the crab not the cakes!]

Iona, famous for its Abbey also has the ruins of the Nunnery ~ now populated by dandelions!

The lovely arches inside the Abbey

Just a few yards from the abbey is the very healthy looking herb garden ~ with seemingly no protection growing on a small island in the Atlantic!

Meadows full of flowers make me smile:

The north shore of Iona, looking towards Staffa

Meet Willow the sheep ~ found wandering in the hotel gardens:

And growing in the shelter of a sunny porch in the hotel entrance was a window box full of camomile:

Amongst dappled light honesty and bluebells grow, honesty seems appropriate on an island that never needs to lock the doors!

Its very hard to leave this beautiful, peaceful island with its blue sky and sea to match!

Back to Ardnamurchan and silky golden pussy willow makes a bright splash amongst the green:

Tiny violets with their delicate scent smile from the woodland edge:

Going as far west as possibly on mainland Britain and you come to Ardnamurchan lighthouse ~ I dont think the sky is always blue here!

Clear seas and tiny rock pools surround Ardnamurchan point……..like an underwater garden:

On the north coast is Sanna beach, where the cuckoo competes with the oyster catcher to call the loudest ~ no one else was on the beach ~ beautiful in its golden light and only the sound of the waves and the birds:

The fresh greens in the rock pools look good enough to eat!

And stars like these shine from under the water:

Pink thrift may be tough but its also delicately pretty, softening the rocks of the beach:

Alongside Loch Sunart the trees begin their spring green display ~ getting brighter every day as the sun [finally] begins to warm the land:

How I wish I could stay in this beautiful, unspoilt land of flowers, birds, animals and trees, listening to the stream bubbling, the cuckoo calling and the lambs playing in the field.

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Previous post: Where the cuckoo can be heard.....all year......in Herefordshire



Comments

 

What a lovely blog! I enjoyed that very much, beautiful photos :)

27 May, 2013

 

What a lovely blog, you really gave us the feel of this lovely area, can nearly hear the birds and take in the scents of spring.

27 May, 2013

 

Jeej, Sticki, this was like land from the Lord of the Rings. I expected that Frolo will appear under that toadstool. That marten looks like it was born with the silver spoon in the mouth. It evidently knows the rules of correct dining.
I think these isles are your favourite ones.

27 May, 2013

 

It all looks beautiful. I've never been there, but I really want to go now ~ what an amazing place!

27 May, 2013

 

Great blog, I really enjoyed that. I've been to Mull and Iona several years ago and it brought back happy memories.

27 May, 2013

 

lovely blog stickie with so much to see, wildlife and views, all amazing, especially love seeing the animals :o))

27 May, 2013

 

Wonderful blog. How I would have loved to be there Sticki, and your descriptions made it so real, what a lovely place. Thank you for sharing your holiday photos.

27 May, 2013

 

Thank you for sharing - must go and visit one day.

27 May, 2013

 

oh, I envy you! such beautiful surroundings, hope you had a great time - well, pretty sure yoiu did from these lovely pics.

27 May, 2013

 

Really enjoyed the Blog, great photo's :-))

27 May, 2013

 

Thank you for all your lovely comments ~ it was a really lovely holiday ~ such a beautiful place it was easy to relax!! [wish i was still there!]

yes katarina ~ those islands are absolutely my favourite place, i dream about them!

I hope you get to visit that area Lijemc ~ its very special

The last time I went to Iona was 18 years ago Louisa ~ it hasnt changed much ~ just a few more cars but the sky is still blue and the sea is still sparkling!

I had a really lovely time Fran ~ thank you.

We stayed in a log cabin owned by a photographer ~ im not surprised he lives up there ~ i hardly stopped taking pictures all week!!! [I took too many tubby!!!]

27 May, 2013

 

Why do I never take a trip around my own country!!
I always look forward to your holiday snaps from Scotland Sticki - you should apply for a job with the Scottish Tourist Board. I'm sure you'd do a marvelous job for them :)
You pictures and story telling are super. Glad you had a good time. I noticed you weren't around and presumed you were up here. Did you pick up any tips from the photographer?

27 May, 2013

 

you are very kind scottish ~ im sure someone told me [might have been karensusan] that people from mainland scotland often dont visit the islands ~ not sure why?

i would love to work for the tourist board ~ if you hear of a job going ~ please let me know!!!

wish i had picked up some tips from the photographer ~ he was a really nice man but he didnt do workshops ~ i asked!!! he told me he had seen a sea eagle flying across minutes before [of course i missed it] and he told me roughly where the nest was too!

27 May, 2013

 

Enchanting, a beautiful part of the country, one of Simon and Clares favourite places and who could blame them, wonderful scenes around every corner and your descriptions bring every step to life.How wonderful to see the Pine Martens so close up! Thanks Sticki going on my favourites so I can look at it again and again;0))

27 May, 2013

 

Fabulous blog and pictures Sticki what a lovely relaxing holiday you had, definitely on my wish list :o)

27 May, 2013

 

Wow! What a lovely blog! I've really enjoyed that Sticki...thank you! I have been to New Lanark, but not Ardnamurchan, or Iona. Wonderful photos, and I would like to go there one day. Fancy having Pine Martens in your garden...I would never be able to drag myself away!

27 May, 2013

 

Gone to favourites!

27 May, 2013

 

Another enchanting blog from you, Sticki! Your photos are seriously good and you tell a tanatalising tale. Funnily enough, I've been yearning for Scotland these past few days and your blog has added fuel to the fire already burning in my heart. We've never been so far North, as it's such a long drive, but now I'm more tempted than ever. In my dreams I often visit such places , tho' in reality I never have. I think it's a sign that I should go. Maybe we'll try to book something for the end of the week - I'm inspired! To have a visiting pine marten is just amazing; to have two...lost for words. What can I say? I'm blown away.

27 May, 2013

 

You are very welcome PP, really nice to hear that Simon and Clare love it too ~ do you know where they stayed? Ardnamurchan isnt very big so we visited quite a bit of it but there was a lot more we missed ~ next time it would be good to walk more.....you dont miss so much that way!

I hope you get there Neellan ~ would love to hear which bits you visit ~ and see more pictures ~ please!

Thanks Karen ~ it was really hard to leave! Did you go to the re-vamped cotton mills part in New Lanark, its really lovely ~ well worth a visit. I hope you get to see Iona one day ~ to me it floats like a bubble above reality!

You are very kind TBear, you must live nearer to New Lanark than I do ~ takes us 5 hours to get to Glasgow and then it was another 4 [roughly] to get to where we were staying but the scenery on the way is amazing. The pine marten was really special ~ a memory that will last a long time; the sound of the cuckoo and the stream is all wound around that memory too ~ like a dream. I do hope you can go there too.

27 May, 2013

 

Your photos are amazing, I can't figure out how he could have helped you anymore :)
What a beautiful place to see, thank you.
I like your description of the weather...wait 6 min & it changes

28 May, 2013

 

Love the holiday photos Sticki, thanks for sharing them. What wonderful scenery and wildlife. We love Scotland and stayed at Loch Long last May. The bluebells were wonderful and we went to the Isle of Aran, saw some seals. Many little Islands to visit.

28 May, 2013

 

Floralhead you made me laugh......I don't even know how to use my camera properly......I want to go on a course......never got the hang of f numbers and ISO etc! But thank you, I checked up on the timing of the photos so I knew it was only the six minutes.......but so often it could be raining but you could look up and see the band of blue sky waiting to come over.

Thanks Linda, I haven't been to loch long, it sounds really pretty. I remember the seals lying on the beach (east side of the island?) on Aran, the islands are amazing......we bought a new book while on holiday.....An Island Odyssey by Hamish Haswell Smith, he sailed to many of the islands and has included a water colour sketch of each island.

28 May, 2013

 

How fantastic Sticki. Loved looking into those magical rock pools they look so verdant and clean. And seeing the deer and pine martens. Funny wee creatures!
Glad the weather was kind to you too!

28 May, 2013

 

excellent photo set ST ! simply stunning !

28 May, 2013

 

Absolutely stunning Sticki...how lucky you were to see all this in one visit..Superb! and amazing blog!!! D we know what the little pink flower is? It's smashing! And pineMartens?, I've never seen those before!!(Are they a bit like a Mink?) Fantastic!

28 May, 2013

 

Absolutely beautiful, lovely pictures and a great blog, thanks so much Sticki it is truly beautiful place, lucky you!!

28 May, 2013

 

Many thanks everyone

Lulu ~ magical is the right word ~ its almost out of this world up there ~ a place I would rather be than here!

Its a stunning place Bampy and Paul ~ I think its the light? and not many people or buildings? Im not sure what the pink flower is ~ I dont think its the cuckoo plant ~ its most like a primula I have but that is yellow.

Very lucky me ~ thanks Olive ~ it is really lovely there. So peaceful too!

28 May, 2013

 

We've missed you Sticki . . . I thought you must have been away somewhere. So glad that you were where you love to be the most! Your love of this beautiful place comes shining through, and your photos just get better and better (and isn't it great to have friends to share it with?!).

28 May, 2013

 

Oh, sheila ~ what lovely things you say!!! so very kind and yes its lovely to be able to share it with friends ~ thank you!

it is somewhere i truly love ~ its never far away in my thoughts ~ now thinking maybe Coll and Tiree next year? But I have the new book [Island Odyssey] to study and decide first!!

28 May, 2013

 

Thanks Sticki . . . and we're both so lucky that our OHs seem happy to agree with our choices for a holiday :)) Hmmm, where will my dreams take me next?!

28 May, 2013

 

Yes! We did do a tour of the mills...very interesting history! My kids both loved their history, so it was a good day out for all of us.

28 May, 2013

 

well, im not sure it would be OH favourite choice ~ he says its so far from civilisation ~ however ~ if civilisation means missing all that i dont want it!!!! he got very quiet as we drove along the long road ~ away from houses and shops! but once we got there and he saw the view he was happy!

thats well worth knowing ~ thanks karen ~ i didnt do the museum bit ~ we got there too late ~ but i will go next time ~ as well as the coffee shop!!!

28 May, 2013

 

This has definitely gone into my favourites your photos and narrative bought everything to life and has given a lift to a very soggy rain drenched day.

28 May, 2013

 

Well , Sticki , what a trip for you ! No wonder that you just dream of the place and want to be there ; it looks like perfect peace . Another Eden .
A poetic description , too .
Gone to faves , thank you .

28 May, 2013

 

Now that I really did enjoy its like a little bit of heaven on earth an amazing place and wonderfully photographed thank you for showing us .

28 May, 2013

 

What a wonderful place, and beautiful photos :o)

28 May, 2013

 

lovely blog x brought back great memories and has made me decide to visit again this year thanks :-))

28 May, 2013

 

Thanks stroller, it's been raining all day here too!

Driad, thank you......it's definitely dream land!

You're welcome kid's gran, you're very kind

Many thanks gem

Oh that's really nice Helen......whereabouts did you visit?

28 May, 2013

 

I just loved your blog Sticki.....the white sands and the sea are fantastic on the west coast. The wild life is beautiful too. Thanks for sharing your trip. The weather can be a bit cold in Scotland but you just need a good raincoat and strong walking shoes. :0))

29 May, 2013

 

Thanks Linda ~ I so envy you living up there ~ its such a beautiful country ~ the very best of the UK in my opinion!!

Even if its cold there are always such lovely things as Cullen Skink to warm you up!!

29 May, 2013

 

Well then if that's the case I can't wait to see what you can do after you learn how to work it! My goodness!
The only thing I know about ISO it the higher it is the more noise your picture has esp when cropped. F-stops...that's how big the hole is that lets in the light LOL...always learning...that's my story & I'm stickin' to it!!

29 May, 2013

 

I did figure out one thing though, if you look at a good picture you took & check ISO, F-stop, exposure etc & apply it using Manual mode (or program mode) it gives you a little start on 'how to'

29 May, 2013

 

Very enjoyable blog Sticki, its right what has been said, you have a way with words and give us the feeling of being there with you, I have never been so really appreciate you sharing your holiday photo,s, the views of the islands, the animals, I know I'd be ecstatic seeing the pine martens, the tree blowing in the wind, I could spend hours exploring the rock pools, it does look wonderful, your photo's are really lovely...Going into my faves...

29 May, 2013

 

I dont think its my photos at all Floralhead ~ i think its the light there ~ it makes all the difference!!! im trying to learn all the different things about taking a photo on manual ~ i have tried dissecting the different elements for taking a photo but each time you take one its different again! and there seem to be so many things to get right! i keep reading a bit more about it and trying to remember and practise that bit ~ then when i can do that add the next idea?

Many thanks lincslass ~ maybe you could go one day ~ believe me the pine marten was a very real highlight for me and one that i wont be forgetting! the rock pools are beautiful arent they ~ wish my pond would look as pretty and stay as clear!!

30 May, 2013

 

What a lovely blog Sticki, I can see why you would want to stay there. Brilliant pics of the Pine Martin :o))

30 May, 2013

 

I miss it every day ~ thanks Annella ~ it was so very different from where I live! the cuckoo calling and the stream bubbling ~ just loved it ~ cafe next door was very nice too!

30 May, 2013

 

Always useful Sticki!

30 May, 2013

 

absolutely!

30 May, 2013

 

Cullen Skink is my favourite soup. Had it on Saturday. :0)

30 May, 2013

 

oh you lucky lady ~ i love it! never made it though!

30 May, 2013

 

It is very simple. Lots of recipes on the Internet.

30 May, 2013

 

Have to make some for myself next time OH is away ~ he isnt so keen; I also love kedgeree!

30 May, 2013

 

well done sticky, another blog of the month for sure : ) love the pine martin

31 May, 2013

 

thanks stevie, i loved that pine marten too ~ i miss him now!!! i miss that lovely stream too!

31 May, 2013

 

Lovely pictures and blog Sticki - a heart-breakingly beautiful area.

1 Jun, 2013

 

Thanks melchi, have you ever been there? It is certainly heart breaking to leave!

1 Jun, 2013

 

I haven't been that far west, Sticki. My daughter and s-i-l spent their honeymoon in a cottage practically on the beach near Kilchoan. They said the last 20 miles of the drive was quite hairy! They loved the place. We have spent most of our Scottish holidays in the east. We're off to Cromarty again at the beginning of September (it's still gives me a thrill to be able to take off at that time of year!) Can't wait! I so love the coast - it always brings a lump to my throat when I see such beautiful places.

2 Jun, 2013

 

Oh that's amazing.....kilhoan.....was about 8 miles along the road! It's a long road and quite a bit is single track....with passing places. But it's so pretty along the road. Did they go over to mull? The ferry goes from kilhoan.
Scotland in the autumn will be beautiful.....with the leaves turning.

2 Jun, 2013

 

I think they did go to Mull. They live in Paisley (having just moved from Glasgow) so it's not quite such a trek for them. We have had some good weather in the past so have high hopes for Cromarty - I love it whatever the weather, though.

2 Jun, 2013

 

Have you seen this website?
http://kilchoan.blogspot.co.uk/

2 Jun, 2013

 

I love it whatever the weather too!

Thanks melchi that website looks really interesting, hadn't seen it before.

2 Jun, 2013

 

:-)

3 Jun, 2013

 

Trying to catch up on blogs Sticki. I am so glad I saw this. Such lovely poetic prose, and love shining in every brilliant photo. I hope you make it there one day:-)

12 Jul, 2013

 

So many people will go halfway round the world to find somewhere beautiful, yet they won't go ten miles down the road - so much beauty is almost on our doorstep, and no problems booking flights or getting the right currency (i was going to say, no language problems, but given the wonderful range of accents in our Islands ...)

12 Jul, 2013

 

Many thanks BA, it was only 2 months ago but I SO wish i was there now!

you can fly up there fran but we drove ~ takes a looooong time!

16 Jul, 2013

 

lol for me it'd be plane, train, or friend with a car - or I could try hitch-hiking!!

16 Jul, 2013

 

What an amazing blog Sticki, how are you? Long time no chat! Your photos and words went so well with that lovely piece of music, thank you.

12 Jul, 2014

 

Sticki , lovely to see that again .
What an enchanting place !

13 Jul, 2014

 

Thank you GM, that's very kind of you.
I am ok but very busy.

Many thanks Driad, it was a lovely place and one of the photos is still the picture on my computer, the light was amazing.

16 Jul, 2014

 

Cheers, Sticki!

Enjoy yourself!

17 Jul, 2014

 

Ay up Sticki ...where ya been?:-)

18 Jul, 2014

 

Thanks Melchi

Hi BA, been zipping across the country ~ east, south and back again ~ most weeks I am either in London or Suffolk plus working when I am back in the midlands.........bit hectic! Hope you are well.

25 Jul, 2014

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