As anyone round these parts will tell you, it has not (so far) been a vintage Scottish summer. One must make most of the fine weather when it appears, so we headed out for the hills, and enjoyed a lovely day’s walking.




A favourite tree


Dog on log


Falls of Falloch

I love the rich golden tones of this time of year. The heather and bracken are beginning to turn, and, despite (or perhaps because of) the poor weather of recent months, everything seems lush and thriving. A few days ago, on a patch of ground around half a square mile, I counted over fifty different wildflower species, including glorious blooms of Sea Aster and Grass of Parnassus.


But one thing I really notice in August is the lack of birdsong. Woods that were alive with wood and willow warblers are now silent; there are no larks or meadow pipits and even the wren that woke me at 5am throughout July is quiet. Around our steading, I only now hear buzzards and crows. A young hare passes our living room window nightly, sniffing the evening air and looking for a meal. I suspect it is to blame for the state of my kale and leeks, but a single hare cannot destroy nearly as much as last year’s evil rabbit hoard . . .


. . . and although my six tomato plants have yet to produce a single tomato, we have been enjoying lots of home-grown vegetables of late: broccoli, carrots, cucumbers that keep on coming, and, of course, lots of potatoes. There will be tatties for supper tonight, and probably for many nights to come.

Whether you are at home or away, I hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend!


(Tom stares quizzically at An Ceann Mor, which is worth a look if you are passing.)

42 thoughts on “in the hills and at home

  1. Kate – Congratulations on your recent marriage AND your new line of yarn. I can’t wait to see it!

    I love the photographs from your recent walk – what kind of camera do you use?


  2. Where have the July birds gone? Fled away from the poor weather, or is this just the normal migratory patterns of your native bird life? Or something else? I’m in such an urban environment that I don’t notice much in the way of seasonal bird behaviour, EXCEPT in late winter/early spring (now) when magpies swoop people from trees in an over-zealous attempt to protect their nests!


    1. As the tomato plants are behind glass, and I’ve been experimenting with once-a-week watering / feeding, this is definitely not the problem! I fear it has just been too cold.


  3. Not a message about this post (which was sumptious as always) but a note to say thanks for your recommendation of Independent People from which your Asta Sollilja jumper took its name. I loved this book – very obvious parallels with A Scots Quair, as you identified, but with its dry humour (and politics obviously) it was also strongly reminiscent of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist. All in all, some good and important hectoring knitted into the humanity and the landscape. I like the idea of you providing a reading list for a garment ….


  4. Lovely photos! I’m also enjoying Scotland right now! When the weather’s good there’s nowhere quite like it. Congratulations on your marriage, Kate and Tom. Thanks for sharing your photos.


  5. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures! The landscape looks gorgeous I am so much looking forward to the day I finally get to visit Scotland.


  6. Thank you and really, do not whinge re the cool summer…….we are sweltering/sweating and burning up :(
    Lovely walk, thank you so much.


  7. Our road backs onto woodland and throughout spring and early summer the birdsong steadily increases until lured by the sound and the light I begin to head out for the morning dog walk at 5am or sometimes earlier to enjoy it. Now the birdsong has ebbed away again until next year and dog walks are becoming steadily later in their start time. It’s feeling very autumnal here in Yorkshire.
    Our tomatoes are doing poorly this year too, as are other people’s. I am so pleased you are reaping the rewards with your other veg :-)
    Loved all the photos, Scotland is full of magical places….


  8. I think I have landscape envy, even though I live on the fringe of a huge body of water. I suspect it’s the mountains that make the big difference.


  9. I love reading your descriptions of your daily life and surroundings! You have such a knack of making them come alive – I could see and smell the bracken today! The photos are stunning!


  10. Stunningly beautiful, have never been to Scotland yet but someday. Have just been to Wales for a few days along the Wye valley. This is also beautiful and Tintern Abbey was the cherry on the cake. Look forward to beautiful Scottish highlands in the not too distant future I hope..


  11. Beautiful pictures–you have such lovely surroundings to walk in. We live in crowded SE CT –although we do have some lovely seaside walks we can take….thanks for the tour…we could use some cool fresh air–it is 85 degrees and very humid here with dewpoint of 73…so we are pretty much inside except for early morn or late ev…hugs, Julierose


  12. The landscape is so lovely. The verdant beauty just dazzles the eye. It was 108 degrees F here yesterday. I wish there was a looking glass I could slip through!


  13. Absolutely love that you take us on your walks. Scotland and your surrounding hills are gorgeous! It seems this year has been about extremes in weather either far to hot or far to cold. None of which is occurring in the right locations!


  14. What a lovely life, what a lovely place, such promise! May it all continue as long as the universe allows. Your happiness shows through the web!


  15. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Scottish landscape with us – strolling in nature with your mate and your dog, nothing more pleasurable!


  16. Lovely photos! As for tomatoes the crop has been depressing here in the south of Sweden too, even in greenhouse. So far, each and every of the ripe tomatoes have gone into the dogs’ mouths. They love tomatoes and we love our dogs!


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