well in the end we decided to stay home, we weren't quite sure which direction to head: we'd thought about getting onto one of the islands but didn't really fancy that much of a drive and the ferry prices still seem pretty steep, then there's hayfever and midges to contend with depending on which direction we went! so we were tourists in our own town instead. but that doesn't mean we didn't have a great time, which was much needed.
on friday we popped in to an cnoc, a new shop in crieff which has been opened by the lovely mandy moore and ... this is the first shop to stock my work! more about that later though.
then we headed to flanders moss, it's not really that far from us and we'd been planning to go for a while, we certainly picked a great day for it! although it was really sunny there was still lots to see. the viewing tower is great for getting a view across the whole moss but to see what's out there, it's best to wander around. we saw: the biggest dragonflies we've seen for ages; lots of damselflies; a female sparrowhawk being chased and harrassed by a thrush(!); a redshank on the nest; a big fluffy chick which could have been a gull chick, its parents weren't around so we couldn't tell!; lots of bog cotton glinting in the sun and just at the last minute on the way back to the car park, i got my prize spot ... a lizard.
then on the way home we went to lake of menteith to get the boat across to inchmaholm priory. we had tried to visit last year but just as we got to the jetty, a thunder and lightning storm started so the boat wasn't running! this time, the weather was perfect and waiting for the boat we were watching more damselflies, and even got to spot an eagle! on the way over to the island, the chap driving the boat pointed out where the ospreys hang out so we got a great spot of one being mobbed by crows. the island is really lovely, with lots of great trees and spots for picnics. as we were wandering round we spotted a few pairs of crested grebe and lots of very vocal mallards.
we took the scenic route home and were rewarded with a great view of a red kite!
on saturday, it was so hot that we just lazed around in the garden and sunday we caught up with housework as we needed a rest from the sun (yes, this is scotland we're talking about!)
as the weather was still glorious on monday, we went to killin to hire a canadian open canoe - yes, me, afraid of water, afraid of boats, never been in one before! the chap from the shop we hired it from came down to the water with us and was horrified as i went to get in facing the wrong way round - he said he thought we looked like we knew what we were doing as we had our own lifejackets and drybags until he saw me do that! still, he let us out with his boat for three hours and we had a great time.
after we paddled around a bit in the river so that i could get a wee bit more confident we headed out onto the loch for a bit of an explore. it was really amazing to get a perspective of the land from the water like this, and once we had mastered the paddling we could move so quietly through the water that we didn't disturb the wildlife.
we got a great view of the sand martins nesting in the banks and you can just see them perched on the branches here.
we also sat and watched a pair of swans with seven cygnets as they splashed around which was really lovely. and lots of mallards with ducklings paddled close by too.
it was such a hot day that even the cows went for a dip!
lunchtime saw us land on a wee island for a picnic and i even braved the water, although it wasn't really deep enough for a proper swim it was lovely to cool off with a bit of a splash about.
in fact, i had such a great time that i'm now looking for a course to improve my canoeing so we can get away for a few days exploring by canoe (as long as it's sunny!)
so, all in all, not quite what we'd planned, but a great midsummers :)
hope you had a great time too.