Sunday, March 27, 2016

Botanics, a canal, a castle, and no sign of the Loch Ness monster.

A glorious spring day here in the Highlands and perfect weather to  have a fun day out.  Our first stop was the Inverness Botanic Gardens, which whilst small are still beautiful.  They've been in the local paper lately because a cat has adopted them and is living there - today he must have found a nice warm place to sleep as we saw no evidence of him.

Here's a selection of photos to show you how lovely the plants in the tropical house are.

The plant below is a coffee plant, with a couple of coffee beans on the branch.

Taking an arty shot through the waterfall.

A beautiful pitcher plant.

The cactus house was my favourite as I have several cacti but none are anywhere as big as these beasts. They're prickly and weird looking but also lovely and calming to look at, or is that just me.

There were big mirrors in several areas and we took the opportunity to get a photo that didn't include just our heads.

Below is the tree of tranquillity which is metal and the leaves have names on them - it is in memory of babies that have died.  Such a simple but thoughtful symbol to represent such tragic losses.  As Ken pointed out, probably the saddest thing about the tree is all the branches that are currently empty and waiting for leaves.

A pretty little Robin that kept stopping for a chat.

A great thing about the gardens is that dotted throughout them are lots of homes for our native fauna. Below is an insect house, and there was also lots of bird boxes, bee boxes, and hedgehog hotels.

Lovely silver birch.

After the botanic gardens we walked up to the Caledonian  canal to go for a wander - the whole canal is actually 60 miles long but we just did a little bit today.  The below shot is of the River Ness from the canal bank - they run side by side.

As you can see by the pictures below it was a really nice day and what you can't see is that there were loads of people out being very active - dog walkers, runners, other walkers, and cyclists.  We even saw a few tandem cycles. Ken said that if we had a tandem he would have to have mirrors that showed him if I was bothering to pedal or not - whatever is he implying?

Me with my walking poles.

We then went for a drive down to Loch Ness, stopping to look over Urquhart Castle which you can go into, but as it was getting late we thought it would be better to come back another day.  It must have been very imposing when it was intact, jutting out into Loch Ness.

Looking out over Loch Ness and no we didn't see any sign of Nessie.  I heard on a recent TV show that Loch Ness is so large it could fit the water from all the rivers and lakes in England and Wales - that's very, very big!!

That's it for today, so until next time stay safe, be happy, and say hello to the next animal you meet.

Pamela & Ken

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