Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

CatsWhiskersTours provide unique tour experiences tailored to suit you. Call +44 (0) 141 638 5500

Browsing Posts published by catswhiskers

The Shard at night

This evening, I am providing information and images on one of London’s iconic pieces of architecture, namely the Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower. This is a 95-story supertall skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development.

More information:

  • Located at 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
  • Height: 309.6 metres, or 1,016 feet, high and as such ranks as Western Europe’s tallest building.
  • Floors: 95
  • Architect: Renzo Piano.
  • Facilities include a 5 star hotel, business offices and restaurants.
  • Visitors can purchase a ticket to reach the viewing platforms which provide an unrivalled 360 degree view of the City of London.

The Shard in context of London skyline

The Shard viewed through Tower Bridge

Rotten Calder River

Today, the Catswhiskers team undertook a six-mile hike along on the banks of the Rotten Calder River in Calderglen Country Park which is about ten miles south of Glasgow in the West of Scotland.

The entire valley of the Rotten Calder includes hermitages, islets, caves, crannies, ancient markings, fountains, fairy wells, countless waterfalls, over 200 nature trails, summerhouses, ruined castles, steep cliffs, etc., and ranks amongst some of the most romantic, rugged and beautiful scenery in Scotland.

The weather today was dry and facilitated photography which was enhanced by the varying shades of Autumn.

In addition to the excellent scenery we encountered four different species of fungi. Most of these omnipresent organisms are decomposers, making them essential recyclers. They break down dead tissues and return essential nutrients back into ecosystems.

NB: The ‘Rotten’ in Rotten Calder is nothing more sinister than a corruption of a word meaning ‘red’ referring to the colour of the ironstone over which the Rotten Burn flows.


Footbridge over the Rotten Calder



Falls on the Rotten Calder

Tall conifers


Woodland Trail

Castle Falls.

Falls on Rotten Calder

Batsford Arboretum

This evening, I am posting information on Batsford Arboretum which is close to Moreton-in-the Marsh in the English Cotswolds which in turn is about ninety miles N.W. of London. Adjacent to the site is the Cotswold Falconry Centre which offers excellent flying displays of various raptors.

This is an excellent site for persons interested in trees, photography or just a pleasant, quite walk in natural surroundings.

At this fifty-six acre site can be found 2850 plant specimens including 1300 trees, shrubs and bamboo. Specimens have been sourced from around the world with emphasis on the Far East. The collection includes Japanese Flowering Cherries and a project focused on conifer conservation, including conifers from Chile.

Here is a seasonal chronology of what the site has to offer:

  • Winter and early Spring: Snowdrops, Aconites, Hellebores and Cyclamen.
  • Spring: Daffodils, Hellebores, Yoshino Cherries, Primroses, Magnolias, Wood Anemones, Bluebells and Violets.
  • Early Summer: Davidia (Handkerchief Tree), Snowdrop Tree, Japanese Maples, Alliums and Cammasia.
  • Summer: Orchids, Moon Daisies, Foxgloves, Shrub Roses, Indian Bean Tree and flowering Dog Woods.
  • Autumn (Fall): Reds, golds and oranges of the Japanese Maples. Sorbus, Cherries, Katsuras and many other trees.

The site was originally created by Lord Redesdale in the late 19th century with emphasis on the Far East. However, ownership now rests with a not-for-profit charitable foundation.

Tree/shrub specimens

Tree specimens

Tree specimens

Bog Garden

Tree specimen

Tree specimens

Tree specimens

Tree specimen

Batsford House (private) viewed from Arboretum.