river coe

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River Coe in Glencoe by Alan Irons
Via Flickr:
I got my feet wet for this one, the shot was taken along the A82 at the bottom of the Aonach Eagach Ridge, very close to the source of the River Coe. We are so lucky to have such wonderful places within our shores.

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Scotland part 2: the Highlands and more castles!

The Scottish Highlands are unequivocally the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and Glen Coe is particularly breathtaking. And the fluffy Highland locals are very friendly too! During our time in the Highlands we also took a boat cruise on Loch Ness and a stroll through Strathmashie Forest. On our last day we hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat-with a few breaks on the way up- then headed out to do some more castle exploring. We stopped at Midhope Castle (aka Lallybroch) first, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little emotional walking up the path towards it. Next stop was Blackness Castle (aka Fort William) and then Doune Castle (Castle Leoch). As interesting as the more gussied up tourist-y castles are with their exhibits, the lack thereof at Blackness and Doune Castle made them feel all the more authentic, like they would have been several hundred years ago. 

We also visited Finnich Glen where the Liar’s Spring from season 1 was filmed but unfortunately weren’t able to find the exact filming location- it was tucked away somewhere along the creek and as it was pouring rain we weren’t really up to hiking around searching for it!

About halfway through our 9 hour flight from London back to the US I was more than ready to be home and stay there, but now I can’t wait to go back!

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Good Morning from Scotland

Glen Coe Dawn by Neil Barr
Via Flickr:
Glen Coe and the Aonach Eagach ridge, from Am Bodach at dawn.

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Lagangarbh by Jasmin Gerisch
Via Flickr:
The white Croft of Lagangarbh on the banks of River Coupall, Glen Coe, Scotland

Algy had found an excellent perch in a hole in an ancient oak tree, so he tucked himself in comfortably and settled down to watch the life of the river for a wee while. It was a cool, misty October afternoon and not a great deal was happening, but several ducks were swimming lazily up and down stream, first this way and then that, with no very clear intent, while the river flowed calmly on towards the sea. Suddenly, a robin started to sing his autumn song from a branch nearby; Algy looked up at his pretty little cousin, and smiled :)

Close by the river, Algy discovered a large swathe of wild bluebells, just coming into flower. He found a perch in the middle of the fragrant blue carpet and sat there very quietly, just listening to the spring sounds of the woodlands. There were many birds singing in the trees, and he was reminded of a poem by Yeats:

I have heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods
Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees
Hum in the lime-tree flowers; and put away
The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
That empty the heart.  I have forgot awhile
Tara uprooted, and new commonness
Upon the throne and crying about the streets
And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,
Because it is alone of all things happy.
I am contented, for I know that Quiet
Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart
Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,
Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs
A cloudy quiver over Pairc-na-lee.

[Algy is quoting the poem In the Seven Woods - the opening verse in the book of the same name - by the late 19th/early 20th century Irish poet William Butler Yeats.]