Sunday, 29 July 2018

hopes and fears

Hopes: snakes. Fears: no snakes. 
Great snake hunt number 527. 14/07/18. Results: lamentably similar to previous. Has St Patrick been through here? 

I can't remember how we came to the conclusion it was time for a visit to the Lammermuirs again, but it was glorious weather and my optimism was not diminished by the previous fruitless snake hunts. OK I didn't expect to see any but I felt I might. Or have a nice run while failing to see any. This was snake weather (maybe a little warm) and snake place. All that was missing was snakes.

I think that was the day we called in past the Lanterne Rouge Cafe and got take-out coffees and cakes. And bumped into Toby and A who were sat inside, having already been running (was it 18miles? I checked, and it was!): much more than we were going to be doing. Again another late start. 

Somehow I persuaded Mary that maybe we could check out the snakey side of the reservoir - much prettier single track (and with more shade) than the main dirt trails round the South side(s) of the reservoir. Despite the signage there were zero snakes in evidence, along with surprisingly few butterflies, dragonflies and things at which to point a camera. However it was very scenic and very pleasant to be out. (Tell that to the snakes.)

By way of compensation this dark green fritillary sat atop a thistle jabbing it's long tongue into the purple flower. I can't recall ever seeing any in the Lammermuirs before, and it is an example of how far and wide the species has spread its wings this glorious Summer, almost becoming common-place! I actually saw one in Holyrood this week at intervals and held the team up while I took a couple of pics. A dgf on Arthur's Seat! Imagine that!


I was so absorbed by this and a Small Tort that was threatening to land on flower-heads but never actually resting long enough for a photo, that Mary got a good distance ahead. There is a strava section that starts on the flat around here and doesn't stop till maybe the gate half a mile on from the top of the big hill. So Mary likes to concentrate around here. Which means push on through without me, coked up on caffeine, blethering in her ear about butterflies and the gossip on facebook this week. Till she gets to the gate. However she got such a lead I think it might have been all the way to the fence before I caught her up and brought her up to speed with the relevant butterfly info and chit-chat. It's quite a substantial hill.

The view from Lammer Law, up and down the Forth was great but the photos don't do it justice. I feel there should be snakes in the rocky summit mound of Lammer Law but have never seen any so I am probably not justified in those thoughts. I was just recalling to Mary that there had been wasps on the previous trip there months ago, quite a large group of them collected near one of the uppermost stones. And sure enough they were still there, quite a number. They seemed to be building an Insect Museum and had the first 2 specimens: a Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell. Difficult to say why they were all gathering there. Maybe a gap in the market since the snakes vacated the place. 

Mary noticed we were combining to make a pair of eyes and nose.

back down again

the heather was superbly purple against the green foliage of the blaeberry bushes

Although I couldn't persuade Mary to take the more snakey single track paths on the return journey, the wider lochside tracks were very pleasant on the south side as well.

A while ago the photo card reader I was using expired. I popped into a "computer shop" going up Leith Walk to replace it and the above item was the only card reader/uploader they had. I asked if they had anything of better quality. They didn't but reassured me they used one themselves and it worked fine. The wheels are usb ports and micro card readers and yes those front and back lights really light up. I am slowly warming to its low cost charms. (£5 - totes vfm!)

About 10 miles
Sadly the only snake was the route we left on the map which looks a bit like a snake (which has swallowed a boomerang.)

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