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Sunday, 1 December 2019

Scottish road trip part 4 - yellow holly

Continuing on with the unusual plants to be found on this side of the pond, I found  in a graveyard overlooking the Esk, a holly tree bearing yellow berries. This I have never seen before. I had to do a bit of research on this and apparently its quite common in America and Asia but is a non native to the uk, lovely plant to find at this time of year and I would have loved some of it to put in a Christmas wreath, maybe next time.


Monday, 25 November 2019

Scottish road trip part 3 - Dogs Mercury

One of the things I hoped to find on the expedition were a few plants that cant be found in Ireland, one of them  and one I'd wanted to find for many moons was Dogs Mercury.

Covering large amounts of the forest floor, this poisonous plant is quite common in lowland scotland but I've never found it in Ireland.

It's quite a non discript little plant with a rather unpleasant smell. Though poisonous the poisons can be negated with heat or by drying and it has been used in herbal preparations, though to be honest I'd avoid it.
You can get a blue or yellow dye from the plant depending on the mordant you use and lore has it that the sap was blessed by the god mercury and that it glistens a shimmering silver if extracted in moonlight.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Scottish road trip part 2

I'm rather glad we took the wagon instead of tents as for the first days and nights along the coast there was torrential rain and strong winds, there was no way we could have stayed out all night under canvas in that. However the weather did pick up after a couple of days and we foresook the coastline for the woods.

We found a lovely little creek and decided to have a small fire and some outdoor cooking as a change from cooking inside the van

Fortunately we found we were not the only ones to have camped in this little spot. We used the fire pit that had been originally made by someone else but cleared it all away before we set off in the morning.

The sunsets through the woods were lovely, and as we looked to the west we thought of home.


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Scottish road trip part 1

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to tour around the sights of scotland incorporating a little bushcraft and wild camping along the way. After years of being let down I decided this was the year to do something about it, this journey is intended to be a recce for more and longer journeys in the future. At this time of year we couldn't really decide whether to go ultra lite or bring tents, but with the weather the way it was and wanting to cram in as much as possible we decided to just take the silver surfer and see where the wind blew us....

The mighty, all contained ( fridge, cooker, bed etc), silver surfer..  let the journey commence.


Sunday, 3 November 2019

Electric Mackerel

At this time of year most people have long given up fishing for mackerel off the shore and in the rare event they are targeted at this time of year its normally out in deep water from a boat, however there is a place along the Antrim coast that still produces in November. We headed up yesterday and had a great day with over 30 mackerel caught though they were all very small. The one thing special about them was their colour. Most mackerel we catch have a beautiful iridescent blue back but these ones were the most spectacular colour of electric green I have ever seen, not a single blue mackerel among them, all were vibrant emerald.. I have no idea if these were a sub species of scomber scombrus  but I really hope I catch them again, it was worth the trip for their magnificent colour alone!


Sunday, 27 October 2019

The White Stag

The white stag is the most magical of all of natures beasts, it has found a place in myth and legend beside dryads and sprites, the difference being the white stag truly exists if you are pure enough of heart for it to appear . It is connected to Cernunnos and the hunt, a symbol of the pathway between this world and the next, a harbinger of ill omen or good fortune depending on circumstances. It is said that he who sees the white stag receives a little of its magic, a better ability to connect to nature and a foresight to help on future journeys. Pictures and tales abound about the stag but few if any ever see his noble bearing, "have I ever seen one?" I hear you ask, funny you should mention that....

Not only have I seen the white stag  but also his hind, I'm hoping blessed good fortune awaits.