Silly Cows …
No Dog is not a silly cow … but I had to share this picture of his nearly nine year old self in the snow yesterday evening … he loves the cold white stuff! By this morning the now was well away form most places and this is the hills behind Brechin taken from the Light House Road at Ferryden. By 14:00 these hills were snow free although the back hills had a solid white coating.
I was a slightly silly cow this morning – I struggled to get up so I was late for my usual Saturday morning 22 (although to be honest I didn’t fancy going that route on the bus equivalent of a motorised toboggan!) but an unexpected outcome of being late was Weather Guru … an opportunity to swap snow depths form our respective home locations – no weatherly advice this morning but nonetheless interested in my voyage!
So being a tad later into Dundee I had an hour to kill before the X7 so I managed a quick trip to get a coffee and a few minutes reading. Returning to the bus station was an opportunity to catch up with last Saturday’s driver who needed directions and the onto a nice cosy new (Dundee based) X7 coach. It all started really well – nice and quiet – until we stopped to pick up two older women going to Aberdeen; who proceeded to witter non stop as far as Arbroath and then got all a fluster because a man boarding the bus said it was snowing from Montrose onwards. As we approach Montrose and they realised I was disembarking they were obviously wanting to move across to that seat … I had barely stood up before one of them slid into the seat I was vacating saying “I’ll move now before anyone else gets it” Madam would you slide into my grave so readily?
A quick dash to the ladies and then I was on the 47 and bound for Ferryden Pier again. The shell was rolled up under the ‘hood’ of my backpack and the camera out. I had my fleece headband to hand incase it was as cold windy as yesterday but it was surprisingly balmy. I had encased my feet in my walking boots and ankle gaiters today (a) in case it snowed and (b) to deal better with cow mire. My boots are great and have always been really comfy but I am struggling with the right ankle and my boot …
I am not going to bore you with lots more wave pictures but here are a couple to illustrate a photographic technical point – change of ISO setting in a digital camera.In the second one I have increased the ISO Setting form 400 to 1600 which meant I could have an even faster shutter speed to halt the water movement because more light is being seen – hence the lighter saturation in this version. I settled on ISO 800 for the rest of the shots to get a balance.
I set off to walk along the footpath towards Mains of Usan. I got to the first mire and used the same detour as previously – across a small pebble beach along a flat section of rock and back up another pebble beach. I could see the cattle some way in front of me and they seemed happy to keep going along in the same direction at about the same sped as me. I really was keen to get to the kissing gate without a gate and take pictures of the waves in the next bay but there was no rush. At the next mire I tried the same as previously – using the tussocks and it felt oddly more uncomfortable with boots on – I was anxious that if my boot got sucked into a gooey bit I could fall trying to pull it back out. I used the same technique to get down onto the next little beach – backwards on my hands an knees over a little outcrop.
I was fascinated by the noises in one gully – the waves would crash in and then as they ran back they were pulling the pebbles with them and the sound was fabulous.
As I arrived at Sandy Braes the cattle had retreated to their gate on the next headland. I paused to watch some birds and take photographs expecting to turn back and find the ladies had taken themselves off into the next pasture. No the Silly Cows stood in a circle – they looked for all the world as they were discussing what to do and some of them were running around the group … which made me feel a little anxious. I decided the gate must have been fastened and I did not fancy the mire cliff edge walk with a herd of frisky heifers thinking it was a game of skittle the human!
I pootled around on the sandy beach … but clearly we had reached an impasse so I turned back.
This was quite tricky to capture – I was stood on damp sand next to a flat rock. Firstly because I wasn’t looking directly at the wave rolling towards the rock it was harder to work out which would make a splash and when that would be. Having splashed over that rock the water was running along a channel which ended right were my feet were and immediately behind me was another coming round another section of rock – so the next really big wave was going to join the channels together right where I was stood. It would only have been ankle deep but still to be avoided if possible.
Then I turned round to see not only was the gate not fastened but those silly cows had decided to go through it now I was going away!!
On the way back I decided to try and avoid the second mire. I could see a sort of causeway on the rocks and knew the tide would not come high enough to cover it. From that beach I came to the grass side of that large rock and that pool before crossing in the middle to the seaward side of the rocks to get to the grass topped foreground.
I pushed my baclpack and my camera up onto the grass and then detoured to my left (towards the land not the sea) to find some steps or clambering points to get up onto the top. I feel ridiculously proud of myself – it wasn’t that high (high enough to have been a bit sore if I had slipped though); walking boots are not ideal for rock climbing; I had to move an obviously loose piece of rock to get a good handhold (sorry woodlice who were dozing underneath) and it probably was not he prettiest ascent … but I did it!
And I took a photo looking down despite having an attack of the shakes by then! And it was all in aide of avoiding this mirey mess! Silly Cows!!
Anyway Weather Guru benefited from my earlier return because I had time for a bit more stone hunting for his garden. I also found some nice sea glass, a couple of stones with tiny wee fossils in them and a large fishing hook with weights. I was unsure how to transport that to safety at first but then hit on the idea of placing the hook between two flat stones and winding the line round to secure it. It worked well but I didn’t find anyone ‘fishy’ to ask about recycling it. It has come home with me and I will stick the hook in a cork and then ask around if it is of use to anyone.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and I was ready for a sandwich and a hot drink when I got back to Dundee. I have just realised that UK clocks go back tonight which is good because I am tired … perhaps these sleepy head ducks were getting in on the act early? Two mallard drakes, an eider drake and a mallard duck all snoozing as the tide turns. The sweetest thing is the floating drake who kept flicking a little orange foot and several times hauled his head from under his wing to check he wasn’t on a collision course with the rock!
There was one little interlude which made me smile on the way home – two teenage girls waiting for the bus were very giggly and saying some really silly things – one of them said “I have the attention span of a goldfish” as if that was something to be proud of. When the bus arrived with all the salt/grit off the roads the windows were opaque – so it was rather like sitting in a fish tank might be with subdued lighting – I hope the environment was to our teen’s tastes!