Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rainbows, the roar of rutting stags...and a treasure trove of 'shrooms.

A rainbow - as common here as on Vancouver Island.
It was good to get back out into the Scottish hills, in the Angus Glens. We hiked a route we've done before. It's called the "Minister's Path"- it seemed like just the right one for the first outing of the autumn season.

Leaving Glen Prosen.
The "path" traverses high moorland, with lovely views all the way, from Glen Prosen to Glen Clova. It's a route that was taken each Sunday by a 19th Century clergyman to conduct services in the two communities. It's an easy walk, but in wintry weather, I'm sure the good minister was tempted to utter some "descriptive" words as he struggled through snow and bog!

It's also rutting (mating) season in Scotland. We were fortunate to hear the distant (we hoped) "roaring" of red deer stags, competing with one another for a mate and for dominance. It was a powerfully plaintive and eerie sound, and difficult to know exactly the direction from which it was coming. We'd been warned that rutting stags can be a bit "touchy" at this time of the year and that they should be avoided.

It wasn't long before a large group of these deer, Britain's largest land mammals, crossed our path. We identified at least two stags, by their impressive antlers, accompanied by a harem of hinds. The stags looked more like Canadian elk (big!) than the charming little deer with whom we are most familiar on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The two "Monarchs of the Glen" (who must have struck up a "truce"?) stopped and looked our direction. It was a prolonged stare, clearly suggesting that we were advised keep our distance - at least that was our interpretation! We did...and they eventually moved on through the heather-clad hills.

The two stags and a herd of Red Deer on the ridge...
and a dusting of autumn snow.
Descending down into Glen Clova, and a wooded, coniferous lot, we came upon the ubiquitous sheep...

...our constant companions in these hills.

Entering the forest, something caught my eye. No, it couldn't be! Yes...99% sure!

Chanterelle mushrooms...

...they were everywhere. We're positive that they were chanterelles and if a kind reader can confirm that by the images, we may just go back to this treasure trove. "Fungus" - such an indelicate term for such delicacies. I mean, really!

Having only been mushroom picking twice, on Vancouver Island, the ones here looked exactly like the little golden "gems" picked and enjoyed so much there. There was another species as well, one that we would call "angel wings", and is most frequently attached to rotting logs. Both would have made a great side dish to supper - for days!

"Angel wings"? Delicate and very tasty if they are.
Soon enough, it was time to retrace out steps...the sheep grazing, and somewhere high in the hills, the Monarchs of the Glen, roaring.

Such a marvellous solitude, shared.

Rainbows observed: 2.
Sheep seen: 100s.
Slightly tense "Monarch of the Glen" moments: 1.
Numbers of mushrooms tempted by: As many as one could possibly pick. 
Kilometres walked: 13.4

A great day in the Angus Glens.



  1. Looks beautiful,glad you were able to reconnect with your sheep friends!

  2. It's very beautiful, L, and the sheep looked much "fuller" in their "autumn dress" than they did earlier in the summer. It's a wonderful time of the and with you there. :) D.

  3. Chanterelles are usually in beech or at least broad leafed forest. The habitat and narrow stipes suggest to me that these were 'false chanterelles, not dangerous, but missing the chanterelle taste.

  4. Many thanks for the info, Peter. That's very helpful. We didn't go back but did see more on the hike in the Falkland area of Fife. Always good to consult. Again, thanks, much appreciated. Cheers.