Writing, lichen and highland cattle

I’ve spent the last few days at Cove Park, writing and watching the view.  The weather has been changeable as ever and it’s not quite matched the still clearness of the shot at the top of this blog, but it still demands my attention.

I have taken so many photos of it, but, inevitably none of them quite capture it.

Telephone and radio reception here is variable because of the topography.  Last time I was here I discovered that I could get mobile phone reception on the terrace just outside the French windows. This has encouraged me in the eccentric habit of sticking my arm out of the window to check for emails; this involves wrapping my hand and phone in a plastic bag when the rain is particularly inclement.  Practical yet peculiar, I freely admit.  But then the radio will only work when the phone is off and neither my laptop nor my iPod docking station are plugged into the mains.

Half way up a hillside overlooking Loch Long, sitting in a converted freight container, you learn not to question these technical quirks.

As well as sitting in my Cube in front of my computer, I’ve been making the daily

trek up the hill in order to log onto the internet.  I enjoy the walk even when it’s raining; it’s not long, but it is quite steep.  I love the smell of the damp earth underfoot and the brackish aroma of the air.  This is a wet place and there are tussocky mounds of moss in the grass, and lichen growing on all the tree boughs still bare of leaves since autumn.  The sound of water running fills the air; every burn is at full tilt, every little waterfall, a tumble of flashing light.

This is West of Scotland countryside, so I thought I’d share some of the local wildlife sights with you.

Cove Park has half a dozen or so Highland cattle which roam the area.  They are superbly disinterested in you when you walk up to them.  They look up when they hear you approach and then slowly turn their heads away and back to chewing as you are beneath their interest.  I know that the truth is that they are very short sighted and anyway the long hair that keeps the flies out of their eyes stops them seeing anything very much, but they have such a slow, stubborn sort of dignity that anthropomorphism just creeps up on me every time.

Then there are the ducks which apparently only ever come here during the Spring.  A very busy lot they are too; a squadron swooping down and landing together before chasing each other around the pond and then taking off again filling the air with splashing and flapping.

There are also a prodigious number of frogs.  More frogs than I ever thought I would see; more even than in the final scene of ‘Magnolia’, but here they are alive, and evidently somewhat frisky as when the evening comes the path is full of courting couples; care is required to avoid stepping on them.  On sunny afternoons they bob around in the pond when the ducks aren’t there.  But you’ll have to take my word for it as every time I try to take a photo they hide under water.

And just before you write this down as a lost backwater here is the last but by no means least local speciality –Trident.  Loch Long is one of the deepest waterways in Britain and the submarines are based here.  There’s nothing quite as black as the skin of a stealth predator.

And here, just a quick juxtaposition of MOD and nature……

If you have 5 minutes check out the Cove Park short film made last summer.

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