Scotland 2016 Pictures Days 7 and 8

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Photos Monday 8th August 2016 - Day 7

Fornighty Butterflies

It was a showery start to the day when I awoke at 6:30AM. I set off a new GoPro timelapse in the lounge just after 7AM. There was no sign of wave though. I updated my diary over tea and breakfast while wondering what we would do today as there were no plans and the weather looked changeable to say the least. Atleast the wind had dropped a bit. Plans were hatching to head out to the Nairn area but Stella wanted to go separately and just come back afterwards. So she went on her own in the Skoda. Jack and I then planned to take the mini in the direction of Grantown on Spey.

Jack and I left at 10:15AM in the mini. We paused near Fornighty to observe a colony of green veined whites. Apparently they are not so common in this area. I was taking pictures and suddenly a man came out of Fornighty House having a go at me for taking pictures. I deleted those that had Fornighty House in them but all I was doing was being a tourist and taking reference shots. I suppose I had to encounter one unfriendly local. The reputation doesn't exist for nothing! I encouraged Jack to move us on quickly after that.




Hoverfly. Green Veined Whites.

Dulsie Bridge

As we hit the A939 to Cairnglass talk of school bullies and mildly amusing stories ensued. Soon enough we turned right onto the narrow road that we had previously used to come back from the Banchor Scotch Arguses. Along much of this road, despite it only being 12C, Scotch Argus were on the wing. It seemed to be a good local hotspot, especially as we approached Dulsie Bridge. The bridge itself was a big stone bridge over the River Findhorn that slanted uphill as we crossed it to the other side. On the other side was a parking area for gorge visitors. We parked up at 11AM.

There was a path that led upstream from the parking area which we followed. There were some lovely views along the gorge downstream to the road bridge. I then carried on alone down a zig zag section of path which took me to the water's edge just upstream of the gorge. Another narrow path took me into the gorge. I found a nice spot on the inside of a bend on an outcrop of rocks to take pictures and panoramas. Then after a brief look upstream I returned the way I came. At the lookout point towards the bridge I could see Jack on the bridge so I took pictures of him from afar. Then I returned past the car and joined Jack on the bridge. We spent some time observing birds which were phenomenally difficult to photograph in flight. One shot confirmed they were House Martins. Then I had a quick explore up the hill on the side we came from. When the sun came out I found myself surrounded by about 20 Scotch Argus which was nice. Plus the odd tatty Ringlet. After observing them for a while I returned to the car where Jack was waiting for me.





The path leading us upstream to the view point from the parking area. First view of the bridge from the path. Down below the River Findhorn roars its way through the gorge. Peeking through the trees round the corner as I descend to the water's edge.





Views at the water's edge just upstream of the gorge. 270 degree panorama from the inside of a bend just into the gorge. Looking downstream further into the gorge. The bridge is just round the bend. Jack on the bridge as I retrace my steps.




Closeup of Jack on the bridge. The road to the North from where we came. Looking upstream and downstream along the River Findhorn from Dulsie Bridge.






Foam and swirls form in the turbulent water below. House Martins flying acrobatically above. Jack and I on Dulsie Bridge.






One more closeup into the gorge from the bridge. Dulsie Bridge from the North side. Two shots of a Scotch Argus just round the corner from the bridge. Speckled Wood. Scotch Argus on Thistle.


We left the gorge at 11:45AM and carried on up into the moors. After dropping South the road turned East and eventually ended at the A939. As we approached that junction it started to rain. Jack got his glasses wet. We had to stop to put the top up and to clean Jack's glasses so he could see where he was going again. Meanwhile a grumpy landrover driver barged past impatiently much to our annoyance. It seems today was the day of the grumps! Soon though we were plodding South on the A939. The rain stayed with us all the way to Grantown where we arrived at 12:15PM. We parked up by the co-op and popped in. I got some water and Jack bought lunch (I already had my lunch with me). The shower cleared and warm sunshine came out so we ate on a bench outside.





Nice views as we cross East to the A939. A flock of pheasants in the road. The A939 drive South is a wet one. Passing various small Lochs between the Dulsie turnoff and the A940.



Driving into Grantown. Views from the lunch stop in the centre of Grantown as the shower clears.


At 12:45AM we moved on, heading South to Speybridge to take a look around. The meadow Jack was targeting had been cut which was a shame. But there were still plenty of flowers by the river including lupins that had been planted to stabilise the river bank. A shower arrived at the same time as us. After waiting it out the sunshine returned at 1:10PM. It was cold, perhaps only 11C, so I wasn't expecting much. But a quick explore still found me 1 Scotch Argus and an elderly Dark Green Fritillary. A pole cat shaped animal also jumped onto the path, took one look at me and scarpered before I could take a picture. I am fairly sure it was a Pine Marten. How cool! I wish I could have got a shot of it.





Speybridge is a footbridge over the River Spey. Descending a wooden staircase to the meadows by the river. Panorama just upstream of the bridge while we wait for a shower to clear. Common Carpet moth on Hawkweed.




The River Spey looks much prettier in the sunshine. River Spey cloudscape. Turbulence in the fast flowing water caused by submerged rocks. Lupins on the river bank.





Another panorama just downstream of the bridge. Scotch Argus. The Common Carpet moth is still on the Hawkweed. Two shots of an elderly Dark Green Fritillary. The first time I've seen one as late as August.



The river bank where the Pine Marten was spotted. One more shot of the Dark Green Fritillary. Returning to Speybridge.

Castle Grant

At 1:40PM we left Speybridge and drove back through Grantown to connect with the B9102. We headed Northeastwards, arriving at a place called Castle Grant at 1:55PM. It looked like a nice place so we paused to have a look. Along a narrow river bank there were quite a few Scotch Argus, maybe 10 or more, as well as a Female Meadow Brown and a Ringlet. The long grass the other way had plenty of butterfly life too. There were probably hundreds of Scotch Argus hidden in the long grass as it stretched into the distance.





Scotch Argus and Female Meadow Brown. River Spey Panorama. Scotch Argus and Ringlet.

Archiestown to Dallas and Back to Lethen

At 2:10PM we resumed out Northeastwards drive. With the top back down as it warmed up we had a pleasant gentle drive in the sunshine. On the way we had a good chat ranging from politics to roadcraft. We passed Upper Knockando and went as far as Archiestown, where we turned around at 2:50PM. We headed Northwest along a minor road that took us to Dallas at 3:10PM. Just past Dallas after turning left we paused for 5 minutes to investigate a sheltered spot. All I could see though were about 10 Speckled Woods. We soon resumed and soon hit the main B9010 into Forres. Then it was a simple drive back to Jack's bang on 4PM.





Archiestown. Views from the minor road that took us North of Knockando and connected us to the road to Dallas.

We were both tired now. I declared it to be tea time! I also had a rest as I was getting a bit migrainy. Through the evening I packed and sorted my gear. I finished off my cod fillets, green beans and chips for dinner. I finished the timelapse at 7:30PM. It wasn't so good this time but never mind. I put yesterday's unidentified moth pictures up on Facebook and within 10 minutes all but one of them had been identified. I also continued to update the Frankfurt photo diary as some errors were brought to my attention which I gladly corrected. I then had an early night and retired at 10PM exhausted.

Tuesday 9th August 2016 - Last Day

I woke up annoyingly early at 4:30AM and tried but failed to drop off again. I eventually gave up and got up by 6AM and updated my diary. Having not done that yesterday I had plenty to catch up on anyway and that took me until 6:50AM. By then people were getting up and at 7AM I went for tea and breakfast. I was packed by 8:30AM. We left just before 9AM and got to Inverness airport at 9:30AM. It took half an hour to get through to duty free. I then powered up the laptop while waiting as I had an hour to spare. The plane was 15 minutes late leaving and I could hardly see anything out the windows but it was a smooth flight back to Luton. Although I could see lenticulars at times further North. And I got a nice brief view of Silverstone race track through a gap in the clouds when we banked at one point. It looked like severe spreadout out there with 7/8 cloud cover. The sky was more open near Luton where it looked much nicer as we came into land. It was very thermic which made it quite rough low down. We landed quite heavily at 1:01PM. The wait for luggage was a whopping 40 minutes! Inefficient Luton airport! I was glad to escape to my waiting parents who whisked me back home to end a very pleasant trip.

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