Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter, day 1: a gap in the weather

We have headed to South West Scotland for Easter in the hope of getting in some gentle walking and seeing some wildlife. The weather closed in as we headed north on Friday morning and when we got to Glenluce we couldn't decide if we were in low wet cloud or rain ...
We checked the weather forecast which predicted rain clearing from the west so we set out for the Rhins of Galloway and Port Patrick. It was a right decision as it wasn't raining, although the light was decidedly "second hand". We headed up onto the cliff walk to Dunskey castle, to see what was nesting along the cliffs.
The first part of the walk is strange- a safety fence protects the cliff side drop to the sea, but to the left there is another long drop into a disused railway cut with no fence for the first section. The cut is a testament to Victorian engineering, as it must have been an enormous undertaking and probably reflects the importance of the fishing industry in the port, which still has a well protected fishing harbour. There is an interesting transit line marked on the harbour wall and a building along the main road to guide boats through a narrow rock-lined entrance.  I wouldn't want to be bringing a boat in here for the first time less than perfect conditions!
Along the cliffs we spotted Fulmars and herring gulls setting up nest sites on ledges dripping with vegetation. No eggs yet though- it's a bit early. Rock doves flitted along the cliffs but way too quick for me - especially in poor light.
As we reached the castle the break in the weather began to fade and the rain - or low wet cloud returned. Despite the weather though, the signs of spring were there to be seen including a range of flowers along the path.
As we got back to the car park I couldn't help noticing the lichen covered rocks- lichen is meant to be an indicator of fresh air- and I can at least vouch for that along this coast line!
Port Patrick

Railway cut looking south

Fulmar staking a nest claim

Dunskey Castle

First thrift flowers

Port Patrick, looking north through the railway cut

Lichen covered rock

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