Uphilldowndale

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


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The Black Isle

Thirty Days Wild, a post each day throughout June, 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.

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The first lighthouse to shine here, so many lighthouses on our tour, the majority being the work of the Stevenson family, a gene pool of genius if ever there was.

Chanonry light house sits on a blanket of candy pink sea thrift 

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This is also a popular place to see dolphins, we were not disappointed, sadly they didn’t come in close enough to the shore for much in the way of photos. Sigh, but never mind I saw them!!!

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The nearby dunes were peppered with flowers, sheltering in the lee of the wind, under the strong arm protection of the grasses.

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The Black Isle was a slight diversion from the official route of the NC500, but definitely worthwhile.

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Giddy Pup

Thirty Days Wild, a post each day throughout June, something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the  north coast of Scotland and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.

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I confess I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of photos I’ve taken, its an understatement to say that this part of the world is photogenic! So I’ll get in the groove with Spud the dog, being a little giddy on a breeze beach  (flapometer 9.7).

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It was here, a few miles north of Applecross we found the biggest starfish I’ve ever seen, I asked Mr UHDD to pose his foot next to it for scale (I’d like to tell you this shot is slightly out of focus to protect you from an uncensored view of a fellrunners foot, which is never a pretty sight, but actually it sloppy work on a windy beach).

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It was at this moment we realised its tentacles were still moving. Now I’ve had enough drama with Mr UHDD and stinging things to suggest he move his foot fast, he didn’t need any encouragement…

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We think it is a Luidia Cilliaris,

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The Road North

Thirty Days Wild, a post each day throughout June, something that is grounded in our wild world.

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I’m up for this, I’ve done it before, I’ve a bit of a cop out on the delivery though this year.  Mr Uphilldowndale and I are on the road, with Spud the dog of course. We’re taking a three week tour in the campervan, a week visiting  the Orkney Islands, and driving the North Coast 500 route around the northern coast of Scotland. Daily delivery of posts may not be possible,  there are so many variables, when I find an Internet connection, expect a flurry of posts. Posts will not be exclusively ‘wild’  as there is so much to share, but nature will be here in all its glory.

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Post box, Isle of Sanday

First of all how did we get here? It’s a long drive from Derbyshire (over 500m),  we waved as we tootled along past Tootlepedal’s patch, and broke our journey by calling to see the magnificent  Kelpie sculptures at Falkirk, I’d wanted to see them ever since I saw the video of their construction. I was not disappointed.

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How skilful to get such shape and tone to the muscle structure out of sheets of metal.

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Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to know the nuts and bolts of their construction

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The Kelpies were having a little grooming

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We then went on to call, unannounced, on M and J in Kincardine,  M used to work with me in my ‘wee flower shop’, in Alloa, some 26 years ago, we had not seen them since then. We had a lovely evening with them, and camped out on their drive for the night, their kindness and generosity was just as I remembered. A wonderful start to our adventure

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As we travelled north we were struck by the gorse, it was prolific

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and its vivid colour and perfume,  sweet with notes of coconut, swept along with us.

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Kew Palace

We’ve been to London, not see the Queen, but to see family, and whilst we were there we did two things, we went to the National Archives, to take a look at the war diaries of the time my father spent in Burma, during WWII  with the 864 ME  Coy Royal Engineers.  It was an emotional experience.  And deserves a blog post of its own. I need a little time to bring my thoughts together first though. 

Afterwards, to decompress, we went to Kew Botanical Gardens, a favourite place.

We’d not been to Kew Palace before (which stands within the gardens) its a gem of building. Imbued with history, its been a home to the Royal family as far back as 1729.

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But what we liked about its that for the best part of two centuries it stood empty,  which meant many things were left unchanged, it escaped the passing fashions of the time.

I thought the soft light and the colour of the clerks of the kitchen’s office rather special. 

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The dinning room  is set for the first meal King George was allowed to eat with a knife, as he recuperated from a period ‘of madness’ at Kew

In 1788 the whole nation was thrown into turmoil as the King was declared ‘mad’ after the onset of a mysterious illness, probably porphyria. This is a hereditary blood disorder that can cause temporary mental derangement.

Roast rabbit was on the menu, I think you might wish to take a knife to it!

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They were not the only delicacies…

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The top floor of the building is unrestored,  we liked seeing the way the building was put together,

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I’m always drawn to a little sparkle though

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The room guides were as imbued with the history as the building itself.  We’d have missed the detail and craftsmanship of this  original window, were it not for the guide

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And who knew the Royal Palaces have a sash window expert that maintain these troublesome devices so they can be lifted with a finger.


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More Memory Please

Here I am.  Mr Uphilldowndale has set my computer free from its festering mire of  data, and uncovered the truth, that my new Samsung phone really doesn’t like ‘sharing best pictures’  with Lightroom, it was nothing personal.  To get things moving again I’ve even had more memory installed, sigh, I wish that was personal. Especially if it was short term memory, it’s something I’m always a bit short on.

I’ve had a lovely time this weekend, I took myself off to a  mixed media workshop, by the fabulous Mrs Bertimus. Look at her lovely work.

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So much to aspire to,  so much fun to be had,

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so much care and preparation given to  the making of our day, we couldn’t have asked for more.

We were at the studios of Hope and Elvis,

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I not the sort of girl, that would fancy a ‘spa day’ but the kind of hospitality  received at Hope and Elvis, is the creative equivalent to a spa day, a warm welcome all the materials you could ever need delicious food and very importantly as much tea as you can drink. I can’t believe I’ve got this far through the post and not mentioned the cakes

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The eating of cakes was a serious matter, there were even written instructions. You can’t argue with that.

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I’m off to my girl shed to have some fun

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The Big Build

There is a whole lot of nest building going on.  I’m not sure how this thrush managed to find its way back to the nest site…

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But it did.

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We’re a little concerned as it seems a very exposed site, in an oak tree near the pond.

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It’s only a hop, skip and a jump for the cats to be up there. We’ve already had  the bodies two young rabbits, two robins and three mice on the door mat, in the last couple of weeks. I suppose when the leaves open it will be better hidden. Fingers crossed.