Monday, 29 June 2009


Time to be up and off!

After a Glorious Get-Together 3 weeks ago, Helga, Inger, Agneta, Arlette, Allain, Fran├žois, Christina and Neil and Reingard departed to their respective homes/countries. This Gang of Thirteen spent a week together here in Glasgow. We had blue skies and sunshine - incredible!!! - as we quickly filled up the week visiting various parts of the country and joining up for evening meals etc.

As planned, Dietrich and Sabine stayed on to join Iain on Seol-na-Mara for 2 weeks' sailing up the west coast. Furthermore, there was a bonus: Jack and John were back in Scotland visiting relatives so they joined the crew for several days early on.

Left to right: Sabine, Jack, Dietrich and John. Iain took the photo.

After John and Jack returned to Glasgow Iain, Dietrich and Sabine headed north and several nights later found themselves in Loch Scavaig on Skye. This is a favourite anchorage and with the continuing fine weather it made for good trips ashore visiting all Iain's old haunts and favourite places in the Cuillins.

Iain lead Dietrich and Sabine over the Bad Step, or... it looks like it should be Dietrich lead Sabine and Iain over the Bed Step. (One wrong move and you are in the sea.)

On the hills above Inverie, Loch Nevis looking back over to Skye and Rhum in the (centre) distance.

Iain brought out his 'conversation-stopper' much to the joy of the folk there for an evening (quiet? - not....!) at The Old Forge. (Sabine is looking on.)

Dietrich and Sabine on Stac Polly, Achilitbuie - another one of Iain's Must-Do Mountains.

Friday, 5 June 2009


There is a growing herd of Highland cattle at Ardgartan Farm where I visited today hoping to buy some Ayrshire potatoes.

However, on reading up on these animals I found a much more interesting picture - a painting - here .

The painting "is entitled Highland Cattle - By the Sea and was painted by William Smellie Watson of Scotland in 1872, before the Highland cattle registry began. It was donated by Al Ewen, who retired as Head of the Department of Animal Husbandry [University of Saskatchewan] in 1952 when he returned to Aberdeernshire, Scotland.

Coat color has fascinated animal breeders and geneticists for many, many years. Classic breeding experiments told us much about the inheritance of coat colors and patterns in the early to mid 1900's. Only in the last 5 years, have the underlying genes been discovered. Many are yet unknown."

The painting hangs in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in the Agriculture Building at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon."

Monday, 1 June 2009


"The swifts are back!" says Iain G, standing on the doorstep looking up at the eaves. Apparently they come every year from Africa and check out this building. They must have been doing this for generations. This building, built in 1858, would have had lots of nooks and crannies for them. There may still be some but with the change of the building from a school for boys, to being empty for several years and then being converted to apartments, I reckon the swifts are probably looking for old haunts.
One website, the RSPB I think, pointed out that really these are African birds who pay us a visit to nest and raise their young. Mostly I get the impression that we tend to think of these type of birds are British, well, say, Northern Latitute, who go away for the winter.

This is an "antique swift" drawing from this site on Flickr. There is nothing about the source.


Top photo is RSPB here.