Friday, 20 June 2014

the great snake hunt


Naming an animal and trying to find it in the wild usually jinxs the process entirely. Such was the case with the great owl hunt, and thus the great snake hunt was doomed to failure before I even mentioned it to Steve. I was planning a trip to the Lammermuirs because I'd heard BD say he TOUCHED adders there recently. (Yet to see the photographic evidence Brian!) Steve kindly postponed his golf and humoured me but kept suggesting we didn't stand a hope in hell of getting within about 200m of any snakes.

Blinkbonny Wood - starting point.
This is just beyond Longyester. It's well worth googling Longyester - go to maps and "street view" and if you can find a better view than that, do let me know. 

First thing we come across is Mrs. Rat sunbathing.
This is surely page three material in the Snakey News?

It was perfect snake weather. (I imagine.) Very hot and sunny. The hissing of the summer lawns and all that. They'd all be up there in the Lammermuirs, taps aff, just lying with their mouths open while the baby grouse ran around like headless chickens.

Hopes Reservoir.
Looked for beaches and paths down to edge for possible swimming but no sign.
(Probably not encouraged.)

There are a number of routes we have worked out starting out from Blinkbonny Woods. Hopes Reservoir and the Turbines is around 15miles and the next jump up is the Carfraemill circuit: 22 miles with quite a few more hills. I opted for Hopes - better to underestimate things on such a warm day. And we could always go along to running club in the evening.

Ok so I run ahead, set the camera to self timer, and run bac... oops too soon


I nearly ran past this, which was hiding in the grass. We went back, and yes! it was the closest we were going to get to anything snake-like all day: an empty snake!

I'm not sure why I didn't bring this home as it was quite beautiful but I was thinking well what would you do with it? Maybe keep it in long thin frame or a small snooker cue case.

As compensation for the lack of serpentes we did see and photograph this tiny lizard. No mean feat as it was a reluctant model and moved like a bastard very quickly.

We ran out to the turbines then back along the trail and had sandwiches by some rocks. Late the night before I had been wondering what to take to eat; in what was promising to be very warm conditions. Inspired I jumped out of bed and threw 3 bananas in the freezer. Six hours in the freezer and a couple out and they were ok to peel. I had sawed them in half with a bread knife and apart from being VERY messy they were a great success.

We ran back via the summit of Lammer Law. The rocky trails there I was sure would yield up some snake activity but no deal. The usual views out to the Forth were shrouded by mist and haze - you couldn't even see NB Law and the Bass Rock.

Inland, the views (like this one down towards the Eildons,) were slightly better

did you say SNAKE? <panic panic>
Lots of very cute grouse chicks running about.

Hopes on the return leg.

hold still please

and back again.
Top run in beautiful countryside.

We ran 16 miles clockwise from the woods.
red dots = usual route
(instead we went to the summit of Lammer Law)
(and both of us made the club session later!)


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