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Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the elusive Loch Ness Monster and its watery habitat which attracts many thousands of visitors each year whose spending underpins the local economy.  In modern times the ‘monster’ gained credibility as a function of the famous 1934 ‘surgeon’s photograph’ which was subsequently proved to have been faked ( a child’s toy).  To the best of my knowledge and belief no authentic and verifiable photographs or film of the monster have ever been taken which leaves the famous 1934 image as possibly the greatest PR stunt of all time, acting as catalyst for a huge tourist industry in the Highlands of Scotland. In simplistic terms the Plesiosaur, which the Monster is widely acknowledged to be, died out along with its dinosaur relatives many millions  of years ago whereas Loch Ness was created only about 10, 000 years ago at end of the last Ice Age. In any case the murky and peaty waters of the loch would not provide enough food for a breeding colony of creatures. Monster speculation aside, Loch Ness is a pleasant enough place and I do enjoy visiting the area, usually taking guests to Castle Urquhart which offers the best views of the Loch. Read more on Loch Ness Monster…

Black Sheep nr Glasgow

Black Sheep nr Glasgow, Scotland

Today, I was prompted by the unusually warm and sunny weather to get out on my bike and undertake a circular 30 mile/50 km ride to Stewarton in Ayrshire. On the way I was able to avail of a wide range of photo opps from nature to castles to churches, and even a link with poet, Robert Burns. To commence, image above shows a few animals from an unusual  flock of black sheep located near the south of Glasgow. Read more on Visit Stewarton, Visit Scotland…

Heather in Bloom

Heather in Bloom, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the humble heather plant for which Scotland is justly famous. In fact, about half the world’s heather moors are located in Scotland, extending to about four million acres. The plant is in full bloom last week in August and first week in September when the hills and moorlands a layered with a rich purple blanket of  heather flowers.

Here are some interesting facts and information on heather:

  • Botanical name is Ericaceae which is derived from the Greek for heather or heath.
  • Plant is abundant beacuse of high reproductive capacity.
  • Can survive on many soil types.
  • Hardy and resistant to repeated grazing by cattle and sheep.
  • Is managed by burning off the older plants to encourage regeneration.
  • Red deer, rabbits and hares rely heavily on the plant for food.
  • Provides a natural habitat for birds, especially the Red Grouse which feeds on the young shoots.
  • Relatively unaffected by pests.
  • In rural communities heather has long been used for thatching,  fuel,  making brooms, baskets, doormats, floor tiles and rope.
  • More exotic uses include jewellery, paint colourings and dyes.
  • There is also a heather tea and heather honey. Being Scotland, heather has uses in the whisky making industry. The plant also has healing properties.

Overall, a very easy to  manage and versatile plant. Read more on Scottish Heather…