I Watched the sheep on the farm the other day when the weather was having a tantrum. The sheep decided it was time to  give up outdoor life, being in the field exposed to the elements.  The flock determinedly exited from the field.  They all trotted off down the farm track towards the barns, but at the end of the track found their way barred by a closed farm gate.


After a very, very long wait, standing, heads motionless and everyone of them turned in the same direction, (there was only one way they were going however long it took) someone came along and opened the gate.  Sheep generally don’t stampede in what we know as such a thing.  But,  that batch made the fastest beeline for the gaping barn doors that I have seen.  Who needs sheepdogs…..



What a din!  I thought it must be a sheep-shearing day at the neighbouring farm.  Mums and lambs were noisily milling about in front of one of the barns, the doors of which, were firmly shut.


This was not the norm for them.  As far as they were concerned, when you head for the barn forecourt, you naturally move on through the wide open doors of the barn and into it.  The lambs were all born in there, except for the odd one or two, so, both ewes and offspring had a deep formed affinity to the place.  They wanted to be let in and they did not care who knew it.

And of course, it rained, not just any sort of rain, but soaking curtains of rain.


The weather is always uncertain when the sheep are being treated, or, sorted, or, sheared. It seems like nature is being deliberately perverse. This occasion, the stock were being ‘dosed’. You can bet your bottom dollar that when they are sheared, which will be soon, we will experience gales and probably a hail storm.


From inside the outside looked bright, cheery and tempting.  So, we, that’s hubs and me, invited ourselves out for a coffee this afternoon.  There was a noticeable icy breeze, truly icy. It wasn’t too bad once we’d got used to the feel of it. I was glad of the thick jeans I was wearing, (these days, jeans seem to be made with much thinner denim cloth).  Together with my hip length padded jacket and a big scarf wrapped round my collar it all worked a treat. Hubs was well wrapped up too.

Crossing a bridge, I saw a tight ‘ruck’ of Snowdrops, the first I had seen this year. They bank onto a river.  In another week or so, the whole bank should be carpeted with them.


We arrived at our destination and found our favourite seating area was free and only one person, the manageress,  was at a table. It was an oasis of calm.  A lot of people favour the same seating area, and  it can be teeming with bodies from whom emanates a very high volume cacophony of sound.  A group of teachers is one of the noisiest.  Next are parents who allow their little offspring with their metal toys -small cars  mostly-to bang them on  the glass table tops. The kids love it. This is an efficient way to clear the nook of other customers!

P1000411 Young Dougal 2

On the way home  we wandered up to a farm and bought some fresh eggs, chatted to the shepherdess, who also runs the egg enterprise and does lots of other things in the modern diversified life of farming.  p1010089

A plop of icy sleet startled me, followed by a few more plops.  Then I noticed an unexpected clump of bright yellow in the shelter of closely planted leafless bushes.  Crocuses were about to bloom.  Is spring around the corner?

The Difference Time Makes

It is just a fraction over seven years since I last came here. With an Ordnance Survey map it is easy enough to find.  There is a small parking area, space enough for the trickle of people who arrive to explore. This is a ‘pre-history’ site, which,  you reach by an easy sloped climb; you can choose between two or three different approaches, although one approach would certainly depend on whether there’s  a bull in one of the fields and/or cows with young calves.  Dads can jealously guard their ladies and in any case, bovine mums and dads can be very protective of their broods. So,definitely, no waving red rags to a bull.


Prehistory site Information 2009

The pictures I took back in 2009 were with an early bridge camera that had an unsophisticated limited zoom lens.  Even so, it is so interesting to compare the yesterday, (2009) and today, (2016) photos and see the very marked  modern man-made changes in that period sat on top of, and next to, the signs of time immemorial.


Prehistory site Information 2016

There are five cairns at this site, none uncovered.  The outlines of three are straightforward enough to see. The roof of the highest cairn (height as in top of the hill) appears to have caved in, creating a rim on which, weather permitting, you can rest.  On a clear day you can also gaze upon the panorama of two counties and their mountains, plus an island twenty-one miles across the water, as you will see.

This a serene view from the top of the hill in 2009 and the picture below it, (allowing for differences of time, position, general weather conditions and the light) is a similar scene ….. and

p1010073-baillie-farm-house-wb p1000444-section-baillie-wind-farm-wb….this is how it has changed…and changed…


…..A panorama – the same house and woods totally surrounded by windmills.

This photo also shows the sweep down from the ‘high cairn’ to a lower sited cairn, (the rounded mound on which there’s another modern day intrepid explorer).

This was a ‘tentative’ coastline wind farm development, in 2009.  There are more wind turbines now. The two wind farms are not far from one another.



I did not want to focus on the wind farm, (the one above) in the picture below. I wanted to show the view of Orkney  across the water. It is  some distance away, you may need to peer in, but, it is there to be seen, to the right.


The yellow flowering bushes in these pictures are Gorse bushes.


Morven and Scaraben are the mountains in the county of Caithness. This looks like Morven peaking up and over the horizon in 2009.



This is The County of Sutherland, also in 2009, pre-turbine days, from the same vantage point.  If I am not much mistaken, you can see a couple of the Bens (mountains), amongst the clouds, Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.



At the cairn, I was at the same level as the top of these wind turbines, (excluding the upper windmill arms). It was quite a thought.  The miniature buildings, (left) give some sense of scale.

You can see the concave cairn I have been talking about and a typical horn sloping along from what would have been the dome. This is the one from where you get all the great views. You can see a difference in the relatively richer looking grass on and around the cairn, in comparison to the rough moorland tufts on the ascent to it. The new heather blossom is bonny just now.



Taken from  the cairn, and some distance away,  the land meets the sea. Stubble is being burnt off  the field . There are hay bales in one of the other fields. Across the Firth (sea) is the coastline of the county of  Sutherland and signs of village habitation.





On Wednesday 15th July: with the local walk for health group, we walked at a reasonable pace – not too fast – for about three miles around the town.  The walkers always finish with a sociable get-together with hospitality provided by one of the local churches.  If you need to use a toilet, there are new, well maintained public ones almost next door to the church.

You don’t expect to end up speaking French, a bit of German and Spanish,  do you, to a Canadian visitor in the washroom.  But there you go, that’s what happened… Scout motto ‘Be Prepared”!

Hasta La Vista!

On the 17th July, nearly all my Livingston Daisies were  wide open to the bright skies.  It is the very first time this summer season I have seen them openly smiling. It was one of our rare bright and mild days and that’s what probably clinched it for them.  They knew it was safe to open up.

A cheery sight

A cheery sight

The County Agricultural show ground had been approved for use on Saturday 18th July… Most days this week it had rained and sometimes it was torrential.  There was nowhere else that all the visiting traders, large agricultural machinery salespeople, woodland model makers, (very large models), the wood pulping, cutting, pellet-making machine demonstrations and other similar demonstrators could be catered for.  As we drove towards the show, we passed a lot of animal show traffic going the opposite way and earlier than usual. It was telling us something.

A Claggy Mire

A Claggy Mire

What a squidging, squelching, claggy mire confronted us. Wellies, knee high ones, were definitely the order of the day. In an instant my boots were gunged up with mud that you sank in.  It was  hippopotamus  heaven.

Gingerly Stepping In

Gingerly Stepping In

A Big Squelch

A Big Squelch

You had to be made of stern stuff to squelch through this.  It got tiring lifting feet held firmly by waves of mud. You could feel the pull on the boots.  This was no place for any kind of shoes.

No Place for This

No Place for This

A specialist mobile coffee seller goes to the shows: paying to go in to the ground just to have a wonderful cup of coffee is saying a lot, but it was soooo good.  It was hard going underfoot, very tiring pulling up feet and legs out of the sucking mire, you just could not move at any speed.  When I eventually returned to the coffee van for another cuppa, it was shutting up shop….Shame, but that’s life.

Show-Goers Coffee Treat

Show-Goers Coffee Treat

This picture was taken a couple of years ago on a perfect show day.  We do get them sometimes.    🙂


People can be so kind and thoughtful:

We have a sheep farm backing onto our house which I can gaze at from my kitchen window. A 6ft high chain link fence separates us and all the other the neighbours’ houses from it. This year the field behind our garden has been given over to growing cabbages and cauliflowers. When looking out of my kitchen window I have recently been seeing alien objects on the grass. They continue to appear. Two days ago my husband brought in a lovely cauliflower and a splendid swede (called a neep or turnip up here) with its majestic stalks and leaves attached.

The farmer gathers in the neeps (Turnips and Rutabagas) for the sheep and the cauliflowers for his own consumption.  From his tractor he lobs one or two of these yummy fresh veg over the fence for us from time-to-time.

The neeps have an incredible flavour raw or cooked. When thanking the farmer (who was surprisingly bashful about his gifts to us) I commented on this flavoursome variety of neep; I found out that it is of a kind no longer grown – I don’t why – however, the farmer had kept some seed back because the flavour appealed to him, and no doubt the sheep too, he therefore continues to grow this particular strain of root vegetable of which, we are gaining the delicious benefit