What a difference a good spell of weather can make!
Location. Culrain, Sutherland.
The woodland behind the cottage was made up mostly of Scots Pine, Larch, and Silver birch. In March none of these trees have yet come into leaf. This allows plenty of light into the wood itself through the canopy. At 6.30 in the morning the sun had not risen but the sky was clear and a gentle frost hung on the ground.
Rosie our dog trotted along in front of us sniffing the scents of wild animals and vegetation. We both spotted the red deer hind at the same time.
Rosie made a brief dart in its direction but it was soon lost in the denseness of the woodland and we all continued our stroll up the path towards the small lochan about a quarter of a mile through the trees further up the hillside. Before we got there the sun had risen its rays illuminating small trees
Patches of mossy earth and the old mans beard (Osnea) dangling from the branches of the old birch trees. Osnea is a lichen which often grows on sick or dying trees. It is very sensitive to air pollution especially sulphur dioxide. Where the air is unpolluted they can grow up to 20cm long as I saw in the trees on the lower reaches of Mount Kilimanjaro a few years ago. This lichen also has medicinal properties as an antibiotic and is used as a dye producing various shades of orange, green and blue.
When we reached the lochan the far side was lit by the morning sun and there were geese and ducks in pairs skirting around a little island at the far side.
A frog was swimming breaststroke along the waters edge in front of us and came to rest on a small rock not far away.
It created gentle ripples that extended way out to the island and not seeming to lose any of their original momentum until it got there. This created small gentle undulating wavelets with reflections of the loch side trees creating an upside down abstract impressionistic painting in the water.
After lingering a while on the bank watching the ducks come and go and the odd heron flying by we made our way down the steep path next to the burn. An isolated little primrose had just come into flower
the surface of the rough water glistened as it plummeted down the hillside burn. The waterfall forming masses of bubbles on its tortuous path between the rocks.
Then just a gentle walk home listening to the birds and watching the suns rays illuminating the trunks and branches of the trees before tucking in to a hearty breakfast.