Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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The Auburn Enigma

Thirty Days Wild,  thirty posts throughout June (and July, I’m tardy) something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the  north coast of Scotland  on the North Coast 500 route and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_09

We met some stunning redheads on our travels through Scotland and Orkney: there is much debate about where  the red hair so prevalent in Scotland, has its origins 

red hair

People aside, I do like red cattle, they are my favourites.

Red Highland_ 

They bring to mind a poem from my childhood, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Red head calf

The Cow

THE FRIENDLY cow all red and white

  I love with all my heart:

She gives me cream with all her might,

  To eat with apple-tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
        

  And yet she cannot stray,

All in the pleasant open air,

  The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the winds that pass

  And wet with all the showers,
 

She walks among the meadow grass

  And eats the meadow flowers.

 

red heads group

But it wasn’t all bovines, a street cat in Stromness, who was perhaps trying to tell me something.

Red cat

And then there was this lovely wee man, who like us was on holiday on Orkney, he’d got some fabulous beach finds to take back to school for show and tell, I’m not sure his dad liked the idea of sharing a very long car journey, with the rather malodorous treasures. 

Red head boy beach

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Lichen

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_08

Thirty Days Wild,  thirty posts throughout June (and July!) something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the  north coast of Scotland  on the North Coast 500 route and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.

Lichen, a symbiosis between fungi and alga.   The islands of Orkney have the most sumptuous lichen I’ve ever seen 

Lichen Wall Orkney_

I’ll not pretend to try and understand of identify them, the most accessible information I could find is on The Woodland Trust website, which is ironic because if there is one thing Orkney is in short supply of its trees. 

Lichens are often an indicator air quality and pollution. The leafy and beardy species being the most fragile, in their response to the air quality.

lichen wall 3_

I can confirm the air on Orkney is palpable in its freshness, its a  striking feature of the islands; as is the quietness (apart from the  gorgeous, gorgeous,birdsong)

Lichen_

its’ a quietness that presses on the eardrum, as unfamiliar with this void of noise, it seems to scan for familiar sounds amongst the white noise of wind, sea and birdsong

lichen wall 4

Orkney has so much archaeology it makes it your head spin.  It has standing stones a plenty. The perfect host for a colonisation of lichen

lichen standing stones 3

  In close view they look like maps of different worlds, which I suppose they are.

lichen standing stones 2

There was a time when man  deemed a good idea to clean the precious stones of lichen.  The lichen fought back.

lichen standing stones

They  also takes hold of more contemporary standing stones

grave stone lichen_