Saturday, 6 December 2014

Walking, Gliding and does the Weather know what's its doing?

There seems to be no consistency with the weather these days. The temperature fluctuates a good 6 or 7 degrees some day so that we go from -4 C, as it was last night to this morning where there wasn't a sign of last nights diamond sparkly frost and instead drizzle and 4 C! It's been like that the last few weeks, no wonder the plants are confused and some are still flowering or worse growing. Will we have another mild winter like last year or are the weather forecasters to be believed and severe temperatures and snow are heading our way? I think I shall rely on my usual trusty weather forecast, that being looking out the window and seeing what's happening!

We had a quick walk up to the Falls of Clyde from New Lanark on
Wednesday - another dull weather day

Whatever the weather does we are now organised and both greenhouses are complete, bubble wrapped and the heater working in the large one. On Tuesday we happened to be in a DIY store on the way home and I looked at some ideas I had to make new alpine trough cloches. The old ones were past their best, having been used for many years at Easter Mosshat, so they got binned when we moved in the summer. I had done a bit of research on the internet, but ready made cloches, even plastic ones were in my opinion pricey and nothing I couldn't make myself. So we found ourselves trying to squeeze into the car three sheets of wriggly plastic, which will be pinned in place over the troughs to protect my alpines. 

The sheets of wriggly plastic for the cloches

Perfect width for the troughs

Is it cosy in there?

The sheets are a perfect width for the troughs and once cut to length will be pinned in place by short canes (with cane toppers on to save my eyes) and roped on so they don't blow away. It may look a bit cobbled together but only cost me the price of the plastic (£24) instead of £45 per cloche as seen on the internet! The savvy shopper and money saver in me is never far away.


Some of my cacti and succulents in the
large greenhouse

What else have we been up to this week? My ex Father in law (we remain close) is still in hospital so we've visited a couple of times. Sadly his diagnosis of cancer is terminal and he has a few months left. Once the bed and equipment, nurses and palliative care is in place this coming Monday he can go home and hopefully be there as long as possible. It is going to be a tough road for us all, especially my three boys who are all very close to their Grandad. 

Then there are the on-going domestic chores. How pleasant it is to do them at my leisure instead of cramming them into evenings after a days work or the weekend.We had an afternoon in Lanark and Wishaw doing errands. Getting the stereo amp in to get fixed at long last and selling some unwanted jewellery, spending saved up Tesco vouchers on Christmas wine and beer then lunch at New Lanark and a quick walk up the falls of Clyde before the rain came on again. I also got a chunk of paperwork and phone calls done, so a very achieving sort of day.

We had a grand day out on Tuesday. The weather was fabulous, clear blue skies and not too cold either, perfect gliding and hill walking weather. So what did we do? Combined the two of course. I walked up Bishop Hill next to the gliding club, so I could walk it again and actually see the view from the top this time. Last time I climbed Bishop hill it was foggy, with snow on the ground. I also wanted to get some photographs of David in his glider. Depending on the wind direction the gliders use Bishop Hill to get more lift, so it was perfect for photos and Bracken and I got a walk.

West Lomond from the path to Bishop Hill

We started our walk at Holl Reservoir between East and West Lomond. Its a made path pretty much all the way until the end of Harperlees Reservoir. There it turns into a muddy, rutted path between the heather, but easy to follow as its obviously well used. Here you walk between West Lomond and Bishop Hill towards Glen Vale. Once between the two hills there is a new gate and obvious path up the back of Bishop Hill. This was much drier now but walking into the sun was causing a headache. Shortly the path turns right towards a gully with stunted larch and pine trees.

Lone Larch on rocks

Looking back to West and East Lomond

We had a boggy burn to cross and then a quick march up to the top of the gully where Loch Leven and the west came into view. On a day like this it was perfect and great visibility too. I could see Ben Lomond to the North West, snow-covered mountains to the north and over to the south-east the Bass Rock and Berwick Law.

Snow-covered mountains to the north

Bracken on Bishop Hill

On the top of Bishop Hill at the cairn we stopped for some photos and a snack, but it was too cold to hang around so we walked on to where David had suggested standing to take glider photos. This area they call the bowl provides good lift off the side of the hill for the gliders to get higher and soar. Once David texted me to tell me he was about to take off it was a case of waiting for the glider with the right registration to fly past. After several circuits I had a good collection of shots for David. Not something you can do yourself, getting a photo of you flying your own glider!


In-coming David

David in his glider
Fly past
Over Loch Leven

Having stood still, photographing for a while Bracken and I were frozen, so we left the gliders to their fun and took the path down off the hill. This took us a different route through the forestry planting on Munduff Hill, back out onto a farm track and through several farms to where we started. We kept walking out towards the main road until David picked us up. A walk of 7.5 miles, great weather and another nice collection of photos. We had a lovely bowl of soup, a roll and coffee in the airfield club house for lunch to warm us up and then headed home.

Walking back out from Bishop Hill

Thursday was another busy day, getting lots done. I cut back some plants in the greenhouses, tidied them and then watered. Not that there is much watering needed at this time of year. I also took photos of plants and labels, to double check the plants are on the data base. I'm still trying to update it after I lost everything in the great laptop death disaster two years ago, but I reckon its 99% done now and backed up in two places. Phew! Lesson learnt. I also took the camera with the macro lens on and played about with taking photos of some of the plants still in flower.

Abutilon 'Kentish Belle' taken with the macro lens

Bulbine fruticosa, an intriguing plant I
bought from the Secret Herb Garden earlier in the
summer

Echeveria rondelii

I also washed my car, hoovered and cleaned it inside too. My children seem to think this is a major event and now complain they can't find it in car parks becaue its too clean and blends in with all the other, looked after cars! Yes it was muddy and in need of a wash, but really?

We have managed a walk every day this week: three local walks of 4.5 miles, a walk up Bishop Hill at 7.5 miles and a two mile walk up to the Falls of Clyde. 22 miles altogether ain't bad, plus a work-out every night and maintaining the healthy eating and I'm sure my clothes feel a bit looser or is that just wishful thinking? This stone and a half is being very stubborn.

Another productive, restful, happy, busy week gone already, I think this weekend will be an indoors, hibernating one as the weather forecast is not good, especially the snow on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend what ever you are up to.

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