A Summer’s day in Scotland

Last Sunday was the most glorious day, and it felt like Summer had finally arrived in my little part of Scotland. I decided to try out a different walk: across the top of fields and down to Lauder Burn. This took me to the opposite bank of Lauder Burn facing Chester Hill; I could see the woods where the Felty Folk had a picnic:

Chester hill woods, Lauder

Looking back towards Lauder I noticed strange patterns in the fields behind; I wonder what the farmer is doing? Or is it aliens with an angular take on crop circles?

Strange fields, Lauder

I was a bit tired after strolling up the hill, and sat down on a convenient bench before the steep walk down to the burn. I relaxed in the welcome sunshine, and gradually realised I was being watched:

Watching me

That was the creature I saw last week. As soon as it realised I had seen it, it slipped quietly away into the wall, as if it melted away into the rocks. It spooked me a bit, it didn’t seem like a friendly gaze. A bit rattled, I carried on with my walk.

The countryside has really changed since my last walk, the gorse has finished flowering, and the bracken and grasses have spread and grown, making everything feel green and lush. New flowers have multiplied: the starry Lesser Stitchwort:

Lesser Stitchwort

a wild Dog Rose:

Wild Rose

and the thistles are flowering:

Thistle

When I got down to the valley bottom, Lauder Burn was glistening in the sun, flanked by yellow Flag Irises and Mimulus (Monkey flower):

Lauder Burn Summer

This time there were little brown fish whizzing up and down the burn.

My favorite wild flower of this season is Meadowsweet:

Meadowsweet

I it makes my think of frothy cream, and has such a delicious honey/vanilla scent. Look who I found in the flowers:

Who's in the flowers?

“Hi there, what are you doing, that looks a bit precarious”

“Hi Ruth,” they said.

“We’re gathering flowers to make Meadowsweet wine,” Neeva explained.

“That sounds tasty.”

“It is. We like to make it and save it for the Winter to remind us that Summer will return soon,” said Dod.

Dod and Neeva collecting Meadowsweet

I told them both about my recent encounters with one of the Felty Folk.

“Oh, you must have seen the Ghillie Dhu,” said Neeva. “He’s a bit of a loner, but he’s alright, and won’t mean you any harm.”

Neeva in Meadowsweet

“He was probably just curious about you, as he knows we have been talking to you,” reassured Dod.

“OK, I’ll just give him a smile next time then, and see what happens. Are there more of you living here?”

They both nodded. “There’s lots more. We are everywhere,” Neeva said.

As they were busy, I left them to their collecting, and followed the path along the burn, back to the ponds where I found the tadpoles, to my surprise there were still a few left:

Still tadpoles

Again, no frogs to be seen though. There were strange little 4-leaf clover shapes moving in the pond:

and I realised they were shadows cast by young Pond Skater insects on the water surface. The light was creating strange effects through the trees, and the water had gone a rich orangey brown, the ponds looked like they were from a prehistoric age:

Prehistoric pond

It’s amazing how the same familiar places look so different through the seasons, and in different weather. I had a leisurely stroll back home in the sunshine.

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