Friday, 17 August 2012

Scottish lowlands


The invite to Scotland was to attend a celebration lunch with some good friends that we have known for many years. They live in Gatehouse-of-Fleet a small coastal town situated on the edge of a tidal estuary in the Scottish western lowlands.
A secluded garden oasis in the centre of town - Saturday morning and it seems as if time has stopped. There is hardly a soul to be seen and many of the shops are still shut.
We stayed at the 18th century Murray Arms Hotel. In 1793 Robbie Burns wrote 'Scots Wha Hae' in this building. The first panoramic photo was taken from the open skylight in the roof, our en suite. The clock points to 10.30am - the bunting is out, but it is still very peaceful and very quiet - what is everybody doing?
via wikipedia
The celebration lunch was enjoyed at the Cally Palace once home to James Murray of Broughton, a grandson of the 5th earl of Galloway and of the 9th earl of Eglinton.
The marbled entrance hall
Something that we really enjoy about this area is the drama of the tidal estuary and the vistas created as the water retreats. The sea appears to vanish to the far distant horizon leaving behind wonderful swathes of grasses growing within the tidal margins of the sand. As the tide returns the incoming waters host many types of wading birds that gather along its edges, scavenging and turning over stones and shells searching for morsels to eat.
The grasses sturdily growing in the sandy tidal margins where they tolerate the sea washing in and out on every tide. We could see the paw marks of otters, and small hoof marks, maybe a deer.

46 comments:

  1. What a beautiful place Cally Palace looks, with its regal marble entrance and superb decor. How wonderful to have had lunch there.
    Amazing how the tides come and go , and the grass grows. Some of the images are of strange long stemmed plants. Obviously they love the salty water!
    The Murray Arms hotel looks really cute, and must have a long history.
    enjoyable post and great photos .
    Thank you Rosemary
    Happy weekend
    val

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    1. Val - we always find the grasses that grow in the estuary of great interest. There are so many different varieties and it is wonderful the way they withstand the strong tidal currents, you would imagine that they would be swept away.
      In the Murray Arms there is a little room devoted to Robbie Burns, and it is possible to imagine him sitting there penning his poems.

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    2. How I would love to visit this wonderful place. I am ryhyming in my mind in "Scots" Robbie Burns..
      I think my accent though a little rough. ! x

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    3. If there is one accent that I like - it is a Scottish one, but as you say it is quite difficult to do. The English friends we lunched with have lived in Scotland many many years but they have not acquired a Scottish accent.

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  2. What a lovely part of Scotland, not somewhere I know, lovely photos. Thanks for your comment about the horseshoe, we believe the same as you, it should be that way to keep the luck in. Have a good weekend Rosemary.

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    1. It is one of those places that is a little bit off the beaten track. Most people visiting Scotland go straight up the middle to get to the Highlands. The area has a gentle ambience.

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  3. What beautiful photographs you have taken Rosemary! Especially of the Tidal Estuary. I would love to spend a day amongst such pieceful settings. Thank you for bringing this lovely area to us.

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    1. Dear Gina - we were at the estuary in the early evening and I had hoped that the tide would return before we left so that I could get a before and after photo, but our pre-booked evening meal was calling. I feel sure that you, with your artist's eye, would find lots of inspiration there in the peace and the quiet.

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  4. It seems that you had a wonderful stay at this beautiful hotel. The surrounding area looks like serene and calm. You got great pictures !
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - you are right the surroundings are serene and calm, and you can enjoy it all to yourself with no other people - just one with nature.

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  5. Thank you Rosemary for taking me to Scotland. It is beautiful. Love those close up images. Quiet place are the best ones for me. I do not like crowds or places filled with tourist even if I might be one. Have a terrific weekend.

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    1. Dear Olive - that is the difficulty, being a tourist, but not wanting any others to be there!!! However, there is certainly no problem in that little corner of Scotland. Mid August, children on school holidays, and there was no one around.

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  6. Hello Rosemary:
    Oh how this post brought back wonderful memories of an adventure we had many years ago now at Gatehouse of Fleet. In the manner of erstwhile plant hunters, we had come to seek out Michael Wickenden at his nursery, Cally Gardens. He collected and grew many different varieties of Agapanthus and the nursery, in an old walled garden looked truly magnificent in late summer when we visited.

    This is a most attractive part of Scotland and has been beautifully captured by your excellent photographs. And, how exciting to have been entertained in Cally Palace, a royal treat indeed!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - lovely that this post brought back memories for you, so pleased.
      You mention Cally Gardens, a wonderful plant mecca, but also many delightful gardens to visit in that area too. Threave Gardens, and the very special Logan Gardens. Many people are surprised that they can grow such exotic plants in that little corner of Scotland, but as I am sure you know, it is all down to the Gulf Stream.

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  7. Interesting, wonderful, lovely - it blows me away! You really have got the eye for beauty, Rosemary! It is Scotland I would like to visit as soon as possible although I think I have to wait another year... summer holidays are over... Thanks for your lovely comments and yes, look for AVOCA while in Ireland and enjoy your time in this wonderfully green country. Christa

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    1. I think that you would like Scotland Christa - yes, it is sad that the summer is rolling in to a close.
      Hope you will show some scenic photos of Ireland on your blog - it truly is green and rightly known as the emerald isle.

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  8. What a beautiful place. I can imagine strolling in that garden, but my favorite pictures have to be those lichen-covered rocks with their rough texture.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. and, if you strolled in those gardens you would have them all to yourself!!!
      I must say that the yellow lichen covered rocks along with the grasses are our favourite too. Being able to enjoy it alone as the evening drew to a close was special.

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  9. Great landscapes and the hall is impressive.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Thanks Filip - glad you thought it was inpressive.

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  10. Lovely photographs of the tidal estuary Rosemary. The last picture in particular is very interesting, is it some kind of sedge? I love the sea anemone, maribou feather type effect.

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    1. Dear Paul - I am not at all familiar with the names of seagrasses. However, I have just looked on the internet and apparently the one you mention appears to be a glaucous sedge and the one with the brown nut like clusters is a sea club rush. I like your description of the maribou feather effect. I though that it was extraordinary when I saw it blown up on the computer screen, they were all so interesting. I could have photographed different grasses but did not want to wade through the grasses and spoil them,

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  11. What a fantastic place to visit. Great landscape and beautiful buildings.
    Have a fantastic weekend Rosemary.

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    1. It is a timeless landscape and a great place to unwind - enjoy your weekend too Marijke.

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  12. Hi Rosemary,
    What a delightful place you visited. We have often thought of visiting this part of Scotland but never achieved it! The tidal estuary looks wonderful and I love the architecture on the columns and arch of the Town Hall. Do you eventually see anyone around, it looks so peaceful?
    Sarah

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    1. It is a relatively easy area to visit. There are plenty of castles, gardens, wonderful scenery, and one of the world's few 'dark spots' for viewing the night sky and stars in the Galloway forest. Once you reach Gretna Green just turn left and then peace is definitely the order of the day. By mid-day when we left for the lunch a few more people were around, but not many.

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  13. Rosemary - you do get to some lovely places. Had never heard of Gatehouse of Fleet - it looks wonderful - thanks for the visit.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing the area Susan - we were mainly there really for our friends celebration, but it is a spot that we are always happy to visit.

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  14. Lovely...lovely...lovely!!! Fantasic place!
    Have a nice weekend.

    Love, Titti

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    1. Thanks Titti - glad you enjoyed seeing it. I tried to comment on your blog but could not see how to do it!!!!

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    1. It is an area that you would find appealing Kate, especially with the castles, for the children.

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  16. I love the last 3 pictures of the grass-like plant with the white ribbons swirling around them. Nature never ceases to amaze me with her attention to detail :)

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    1. I agree with you Rosemary - macro photos bring a whole new world of nature into our focus, and she is beautiful.

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  17. The Scottish Lowlands look very appealing for their buildings, gardens and scenery. The photo of the marbled entrance hall is amazing.

    Thank you for your reassurance about Ranunculus and Anemone Poppies. I've grown neither before but am enjoying the surprises and the beauty.

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    1. Dear Karen - it is a very gentle, quiet and relaxing area, just what body and soul requires from time to time.
      The colours in your Anemone are really striking.

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  18. Beautiful nature and stunning architecture! I always imagine Scotland to be exactly like that, peaceful and quiet, as if time stood still, precisely as you described it.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - this is a little border town and completely off the main routes. It has a gentle landscape unlike the majestic grandeur of the highlands.

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  19. Stunning images - especially the last one. You've really captured the feel of the area, I think. I'd live to visit one day. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you for your visit and also for becoming a follower. I hope that you may have the opportunity to visit the Galloway coast sometime. There are lots of interesting things to see - coast, forests, castles and lovely gardens.

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  20. I'm late to this posting, after a week of illness that's been hard to shake. But it is refreshing to see where your trip has taken you, and the photographs are lovely. The last two are exquisite, and I would be tempted to use the estuary photos as reference for a painting.

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    1. Dear Mark - I am really sorry to learn that you have been ill all week, and do hope that you are now fully on the mend.
      Our trip went well, apart from the journey up which was stop /start for quite a long way. - not sure why may be there had been an accident.
      Please do use the estuary photos if you are ever tempted to paint. I did not realise how exquisite the last grass was until I saw it in the macro photo.

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  21. Dear Rosemary,
    Beautiful photos from this fantastic place.
    Love to see the buildings, the garden and the landscape.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you're having a great weekend.
    Mette

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    1. Dear Mette - thanks for your lovely comment, and pleased that you enjoyed seeing the area. Do hope all is well with you, and especially that your husband has continued to make good progress.

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  22. Hi Rosemary, A fascinating and beautiful post. I adore Scotland – there is nowhere like it on Earth.

    Happy weekend to you!

    Georgianna

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    1. Dear Georgianna - thanks for your visit. You are right about Scotland, it is something about the colours you see in Scotland that can change from minute to minute. You can view a mountain and it is navy blue, look again and it has turned to pale blue and mauve - a magical place.

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