Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A yellow kayak, a most elegant river, exploring...and "going pottie" in Dunkeld.

A lone paddler, walking to launch site on the Tay. 
As we left our flat in Perth for some exploring and light hiking up in Dunkeld, a paddler walked by shouldering his yellow kayak. My own yellow Atlantis Spartan VI sea kayak is so far away but he's snug and in the good company of two others back in Canada, all three under the watchful eye of a friend - who I rather think has a special place in her heart for "Spartan". He will be happily contemplating his own dreams and knowing that he will once again be back on the Salish due time.

Almost there.
The River Tay, Scotland's longest, is a wonderful, wide, and elegant river. It discharges more water, by volume, into the sea than any other river in the UK. We watch it continually change, throughout the day, as the tide ebbs and flows. 

The Tay, this day, under a Scottish achromatic sky.
At high tide, it slows and swells. Ski boats and jet skis appear, and the mighty river takes their movement in stride as a loving parent would a fussing child. As the tide ebbs, these hyperactive and flea-like little vessels head for the shore and their waiting trailers.

The river takes it all in stride.
At low tide, the flow quickens just a little, perhaps in anticipation of reaching the sea. People, gather on the shore, picnic, and dabble their feet in the cool, receding waters. 

A quieter moment, at one with the river.
Fly fishermen can be seen casting their line out, wading ever further into the stream. It seems like such a contemplative activity, relaxing, even to watch from the shore.

Standing, on the same spot that water skiers sped over, only hours before.
Going deeper.
A couple of days ago, we left the Tay to explore the town of Kinross, south of Perth, and walk an 11 km trail winding part way around Loch Leven. Looking out to a small island on the loch, it was astonishing to see the 14th century castle / prison where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned for a year in 1567. There is such an incredible depth of history here. It is tangible to the senses.

Loch Leven Castle, where some of history's "famous players" spent time.
Yesterday, another easy hike from Dunkeld to the Loch of the Lowes, led to a wildlife preserve administered by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The loch is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It's possible here to view an amazing variety of wildlife, some of whom build rather impressive accommodations for themselves and their families! An osprey nest...more than five feet in diameter!

This osprey nest is almost as big around as our backpacking tent!
These easy country walks may not be gut-busting "grinds", those hikes that leave you with a delicious feeling of healthy exhaustion and exhilaration, but they sure sooth the spirit and connect you with this wonderful part of the world, and the folks who live here.  

Trying to figure out the combination - just kidding, Joan!
Such delicate beauty to be seen, everywhere...
especially when you pause for just a moment.
So many older folks here are fit and active...and outdoors, exploring.
We thought they were a great example to us all - and told them so.
Life can get complicated for plants too. :)
Take a very, very old stone house, 
knock out a wall, add glass and some skylights - wow!
Historic Dunkeld Cathedral, amidst the trees.
Of course, this is something everyone needs after a full day of being outside...

Haha! It's not what you might think.
...well, at least those who enjoy designing and painting their own pottery. What did you think it was? :)

Thanks for spending some time here, hope you enjoyed the day.



  1. What amazing changes in the would never know it to be the same one. Quite different from our island rivers.
    The trails look beautiful, and isn't it nice to stroll along on almost flat paths and just explore and enjoy the views.

  2. Thanks for that, L. Yes it's a very different river than back on the Island. It's 8:30 pm here (as I type this), the tide is up, the river is full of boats! And still lots of daylight left. Yes, taking time to enjoy the views is always a good thing! D.

  3. Beautiful photo's. It's amazing how much culture can improve health; it seems to be thriving well in Scotland.

    Enjoy Duncan you guys deserve every bit.

  4. You words are very kind, Lee. You are right on, culture does have a tremendous influence on health. There is a strong "culture" of self-propelled movement here. Not only is "movement" encouraged, it's facilitated and that's the big thing - massive and expansive public park systems, limitless trails and pathways (both urban and in the "hills"), cycle routes, wonderful pedestrian zones in cities where you hear only footsteps and people's voices. Very refreshing. And folks respond to that. There are lessons here for us in North America. Thanks so much for coming by. Best wishes, Duncan.

  5. Hi Duncan and Joan,
    Beautiful pictures and blog! Have a wonderful time in Scotland. I am 5th generation Canadian but my roots are in Scotland! I can feel it!
    God's speed,

  6. Hi Jen, thanks so much for that. Yes, those roots are deep and I think they are rather special. Of course there is a little bias there! :) It's a very special place. Warm wishes to you and Doug and family. Duncan and Joan.

  7. Ah! The Tay. Many a happy paddle - and swim there! Great to see you've come back. Did you bring your kayaking gear this time?

  8. Thanks for that, Sarah. It is, indeed, a magnificent river! Yes, it's great to be back. No paddling gear though, just haven't found a way to bring everything yet! :) Thanks for stopping by. Duncan.