United Kingdom

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    • Day 22


      August 5, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

      Super cestica... Ene tisoč čudovitih razgledov, petsto klancev, približno dvesto peščenih plaž in jezerc, ovinkov pa nisva štela.

      Ozka cesta za en avto, izogibališča gosto posejana, povprečna hitrost 20 km/h, največ si upaš 50 :) Fajn je, ker traja tako dolgo, da je imaš že dovolj, še preden je zmanjka. Korzijski calanche se lahko samo skrije...Read more

    • Day 13

      There Were Billions of ... Midges

      July 28, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Having really spent too long in Dumbeg it was now time to find somewhere to stop for the night. At first this seemed somewhat tricky but in the end I found a small patch of level ground by a Passing Place and I'm sure that not a single vehicle went by all night because it was so quiet. It was also a very dark location and had it not been July and had the sky being crystal clear, I would have been rewarded with a stunning night sky. It was almost clear, but not quite. (Remember - it never gets truly dark up here at this time of year)

      The view to my left was stunning as the daylight faded and it cried out for a panorama photograph. I knew there would be midges because of the time of day, but also because of the peaty, heathery ground in which those biting critters live and breed. I therefore donned my fleece so as not to expose my arms, and broke out the head net to keep them away from my face. Unfortunately, I forgot the gloves.

      I walked away from the van to a suitable spot and in no time their midge radar spotted I was there and what I experienced was like nothing I had even remotely experienced before. Of course there weren't billions of them, but there were many thousands which formed a cloud around my head. Then I noticed they were crawling all over me - on my covered arms and then, shock horror, all over my hands which were now almost black with the writhing mass. I quickly brushed them off and cursed I had forgotten my gloves, completed the panorama photo as quickly as I could and headed back to safety. I only hope I have something to show for this! When I finally got back to the van I was amazed my hands suffered only two bites each. I could hardly believe that.

      Getting into the van was a real problem - how do you get into it without also being joined by a thousand midges? The trick, as I discovered when I was camping on Skye a while back, is to go and stand quite a way from your accommodations and let them gather. You then rush to the tent/van and get in as fast as you can because it is easy to outrun them. Even so, I still had to spend ages clapping my hands inside the van to get rid of them: they fly slowly so you can clap your hands and squash them and I must have killed at least hundred or so.

      Later, the sky cleared somewhat and although the sun was in completely the wrong direction relative to where I was, there was a sunset potentially worth photographing. This meant another midge walk but this time it was the full monte. Once again there was an absolute cloud of midges and although I never got a phone photo, I did get some sunset shots with one featuring the van so I processed that from the big camera and include it here as the last photo of the set.

      Photo 6 is of my pet spider which I knew lived in the driver door mirror because I pretty much always have to wipe away the web when I drive the van. I have no idea how long it has lived in there but clearly it had journeyed up here with me because those webs keep being produced. Tonight the spider was gathering up midges like there was no tomorrow because the web was plastered with them. I wonder how long that spider will live in the door mirror, but I also wonder what happens if it lays eggs and mini spiders are created. Will I be safe from the attack of the spawny eyed spiders? Yeah, probably.

      So that was the end of another day. I spent that last throws of it updating this blog and then it was time for bed and just one last look at the view out of the window at about 00:30.

      I actually got to bed at 3am because something appeared which I never ever expected and yes, I did photograph it.
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    • Day 14

      Noctilucent Clouds

      July 29, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      As far as I was concerned it was sleep time, but when I looked out from the van I discovered a wonderful display of noctilucent clouds shining on the northern horizon. Wow!

      I can fully understand it if at this point you are completely lost, having no idea what a noctilucent cloud is and the reason this might be the case is you don't get to see them that often. Even if you do they are 'just' clouds - so what?

      Noctilucent clouds are the very highest clouds that form in the Earth's atmosphere and are made up if ice crystals, forming only over the north and south polar regions. This is why they are not visible unless conditions are right and tonight they clearly were.

      They are visible to those in the latitudes of the UK and northwards and can only be seen sometime after dusk and again before dawn when the sun is far enough below the horizon that its light reflects from the clouds and makes them shine. They also only become visible at particular times of the year due to the Sun's alignment in relation to Earth. Usually they are seen as white, wispy clouds on the northern horizon (because they are over the North Pole) and tonight they shined so brightly with a display of colour which is extremely rare ... and I not only saw them but I photographed them too.

      The first two photos in this footprint were taken using my Canon camera and the second two, amazingly, using my phone. Unsurprisingly, the 'proper' camera has made a better job of recording the event and exactly how it looked. The phone, however, has captured the event but they haven't brought out as much of the subtle colour.

      I was so excited to see this display, given I'm clearly easily pleased, and even though it was 3am and now getting light I just couldn't have gone to sleep without making the most of this. It was magical. The increasing light of dawn now meant they would be disappear from view, so now it really was time to sleep.
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