Saturday, 23 August 2014

Scotland by Rail - Montrose, Scotland, August 2014




A family and art week in the caravan in Montrose. Me, mum, Roan, Ian. Walking and cycling and a good deal of sketching and painting - including Roan doing his first paintings for eight + years. Peterhead family coming to visit.

There are always loads of gulls and eiders and, in summer, terns, but only ever a few gannets, fishing far out or flying swiftly past. One morning the sea was far in and turbulent and gannets were all over, presumably following a shoal. In an undercount I got three hundred, a mix of browny-plumaged juveniles and white-black adults with their mustard heads. Most were close in and riding the waves or performing semi-horizontal gliding dives to cope with shallows.


gannet dive

lady's bedstraw



The same day there was a bi-plane over the airfield, marking a centenary. Loop-the-looping through grey wet haze.



Cousin and cousin's husband Gemma and Danny visited with the kids.




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Cycle through Ferryden village to Scurdie Ness. Locked bikes below the lighthouse and walked along to blowhole point. Last visit Roan discovered it, a miniature cave has collapsed and sea pours in and out of the lidless pot - when tide and level of choppiness are right a plume of spray shoots up. This time it was definitely shooting. Mum was at the other side, taking photos of us. She retreated fast when a thick wave rushed around her ankles.


Scurdie Ness lighthouse


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We cycled to Langley Park Gardens, 1 mile from Montrose. Extensive three-tiered walled garden with beautiful herbaceous borders; meadowland; woodlands; standing stone. Tea, coffee and cake by the fountain pond, served on fine china.

Langley Park horse head statue

standing stone, wildlife meadow

 

It's definitely a tree Roan.


Langley Park Gardens are open Saturday, Sunday, Monday during the season. You'll receive a very friendly welcome. Full details here and on Facebook here.


We returned via the Lurgies at west end of Montrose Basin. A little egret was on the mud and twenty or more grey herons.

count the herons

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 A walk on the red cliffs between Arbroath and Auchmithie Harbour. Take a torch for Dark Cave and Light Cave, leading right through the width of a thick headland.





Dark Cave, south entry

kittiwake parents and young. The juveniles are those with streaks and stripes of black.


bird tracks

fossils? sea-worms?

fossils? sea-worms?

miniature world

cave face

Roan dematerialises

Roan rematerialises (eating a leaf)



A wildflower border around a long stretch of clifftop field, absolutely alive with bumble bees, hoverflies, many tens of butterflies - small tortoiseshell, red amiral, peacock, green-veined white, a grayling.

wildflower field margin - why doesn't everyone do this? Hundreds of insects, many tens of butterflies.

sunflowers, poppies, thistles, vetches, Roan's head

wild carrot - note the single purple bloom at the centre of so many white



We stopped and painted - Roan too. Perhaps soon we'll have to think about a Mother & Son & Son exhibition.


mother & son (photographed by other son)






 Brother Roan:

courtesy of Roan du Feu - watercolour

courtesy of Roan du Feu - Boddin Point drawing

 Mother Susan:

courtesy of Susan Smith - Boddin Point mixed media

courtesy of Susan Smith - mixed media

courtesy of Susan Smith - Langley Park horse head


See mum's work at www.susanmcsmith.com

Read Roan's words at www.queenofnothingkingoftheworld.blogspot.com.au

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A cycle to the graveyard above double-sea-arched Elephant Rock. Explored the stones in the bay there and painted a view towards the limekilns.


Boddin Point limekilns

As Calvin and Hobbes say, there's treasure everywhere.


the trunk


Elephant Rock - a rock that looks like an elephant



All the seabirds were around, plus a kestrel, house martins, linnets.


kestrel

yellowhammer


Before breakfast I'd stood on the dunes and watched a group of 12 or more dolphins swimming south, up down up down up down, jumping full clear of the water.


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terns on the shore, mostly common


adult feeding young

 


the Bell Rock lighthouse, taken through binoculars


Waiting for my return train at the end of the week I watched an osprey fly high above the Basin. It was constantly mobbed by agitated terns and swallows and martins at the same time as I was constantly divebombed by a territorial pair of lesser black-backed gulls. I stood by a lamppost so they couldn't have any effect other than to give me really good views. Everyone else kept at the other end of the platform.

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caravan self-portrait, to be continued



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 How to get there


Montrose is easily reached by rail. It's on the Glasgow & Edinburgh - Aberdeen rail lines and trains are frequent.







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