I’m just back from a couple of days in the Cairngorms, staying in Glenfeshie. It’s a joy at any season; I love it in the snow, and I love it in the summer. Rising early, as I do, I saw a young deer calf at the gangly stage – all legs – grazing in the hay meadow next to the house; I heard a couple of late cuckoos, one with a peculiar double ‘cook’; I watched a pair of mountain hares lollop along the road; and I saw, every morning, a flavistic red squirrel with a spectacular golden tail come to the squirrel feeder every morning around 7.30 to lift up the lid and take peanuts.
We had a long walk around the Uath Lochans, a group of five kettle-hole lochs formed by the retreating ice 10,000 years ago. Around the edge, masses of cotton-grass, once used to insulate shirts. In the water, bogbean and bog myrtle. Amongst the pine trees, the cheerful little white stars of wintergreen chickweed in profusion. It’s neither a wintergreen nor a chickweed, but a member of the primrose family. One day we visited the Highland Folk ‘museum’ at Newtonmore. For a mile or so, between the railway and the road, there are building and fields which recreate Highland life in the 19th and 20th centuries, culminating in a collection of houses reprsenting a Highland township of the early 1700s. It’s a stunning place, and I recommend a visit if you’re in the area.
I nick-named ‘our’ squirrel Legally Blonde. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one like this, and I thought it must be rare, but I’ve since heard from other friends that similar squirrels have been seen elsewhere in the Cairngorms, in Glenbranter, and in Aberdeenshire. Here are a couple of my photos.