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This evening, I am embellishing my flowers theme by including cactus flowers from nearby Queen’s Park Botanic Garden, Glasgow. These first two images were taken this afternoon and provide an interesting colour dimension to Spring.

The following two images are from a vast collection of daffodils at Greenbank Garden, a National Trust property south of Glasgow.

This is Narcissus Ellen
Narcissus Southern Bell

Elsewhere today:

  • Met up with my techie friend to discuss various aspects of the website and blogs going forward. Quite a few interesting ideas to implement over the coming months.
  • Responded to a wide range of tour enquiries from around the world for both this year and next.
  • Designed an itinerary for a private Scottish Highlands tour for later next month.
  • Posted information to my GlasgowAncestry blog on Hopper family history.

Looking at the bigger picture, main news item is the continuing effect of the volcanic dust cloud on air travel (and tourism). It appears that prospects for the U.K. are not likely to improve much until the weekend. In the meantime the airlines are bleeding cash. Fortunately, May tends to be a relatively quiet month and hence I have no cancellations as of today.

This morning I collected a group of guests who had just arrived from North America on a cruise ship at Greenock.

Our first stop was the quaint little heritage village of Luss on the bank of Loch Lomond. The main village was originally built to house workers at a nearby slate mine but the properties are now mainly occupied by seniors. Some of gardens are very colourful. After a stroll through the village we went to end of the pier to admire Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond.

View of Loch Lomond from the pier at Luss.

Viking ‘hogback’ gravemarker at St. Kessog’s Church, Luss. This probably dates back about 1100 years and indicates the antiquity of this Christian site.

After Luss we drove down to Balloch at southern tip of Loch Lomond and then on to Aberfoyle and the Trossachs. The hills and mountains still retained the residue of the winter’s snow. This is Ben Ledi.
After the Trossachs we drove on to Doune Castle with its Monty Python connection. The castle dates from then 14th century and for a while was used as a hunting lodge by the Scottish royal family who were at the time located just a few miles away at Stirling. The castle was restored by the Earl of Moray in 1883 and is an impressive building.

After Doune Castle we went to Blackford in Perthshire to have a spot of lunch and tour Tullibardine Distillery which proved a great success. The guide took us the through the process of malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation culminating in a couple of samples. This was a good tour providing a useful insight into this small, privately owned distillery which serves niche markets.

Tour group with guide.
Whisky Stills at Tullibardine

Sample of single malts at end of the Distillery Tour.

After Tullibardine, we drove down to Stirling for a short visit to the famous castle which includes the Great Hall, Kitchens and Royal Chapel with tapestries.

Finally, we drove back from Stirling to Greenock to return guests to the ship and fond farewells.

This evening, I decided to obtain a little exercise and cycled down to Pollock House with aim of obtaining garden images of emerging Springtime.

P0llock House is an impressive Palladian mansion dating from the mid 18th century which is built on an estate which for hundreds of years has been home to the Maxwell family. The house is now in care of the National Trust and is open to the public.

The gardens at Pollock House are interesting but hardly a riot of colour ad diversity. Image below shows a fairly new formal garden in the library parterre. Some interesting shapes and colourful polyanthus.

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