La Forclaz (Walk 6) in the snow

I wanted to make sure that I chose a route for today which I hadn’t posted in the past few weeks.  In the event I picked a route which I covered way back in April – my 3rd ever (and first real) post in fact.  So hopefully these images will be ‘new’ to most of you.

More snow…

I had such a nice response to my previous post, I decided to brave the elements today and take a walk along the riverside to Les Haudères.   The snow was not very deep, but it was beautifully fresh and dry.  As you can see from the photos, I had the path to myself.  The only tracks I saw were those of a small deer.

Tomorrow it promises to be sunny, so I hope to capture and post some more colourful images.



Winter has arrived in the Val d’Hérens…

The forecast said it was going to rain and the temperatures were due to drop to -10 degrees C (yes, that’s minus 10 Centigrade or 14 Fahrenheit) over the next few days, so it was no great surprise to see snow on the ground this morning.  The flowers on the balcony and in the hanging baskets have done well to last this long, especially given that we were away last week, but I think the time has come to take them down.

Not surprisingly also, the birds have soon returned to the, now fully replenished, feeder.  In the past 24 hours we’ve seen quite a few Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Marsh Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Bullfinches and at least one Nutcracker, Nuthatch, Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and a gorgeous little Wren which hopped inches away from my feet as I took the photograph of Evolène below from our balcony.  (Sorry, but I was so surprised and thrilled to see it, I forgot to take a picture !)

Tantallon Castle

A few miles east of North Berwick, you will find the ruins of the once mighty Tantallon Castle.  It occupies a prominent position overlooking the Forth estuary and the Bass Rock (which, incidentally, is home to tens of thousands of gannets in the summer months).

Originally built in the 1350’s, Tantallon Castle became the seat of the Douglas family and over three centuries it endured three major sieges.  Although you can still walk up some of the stairs and along some battlements, today it stands in ruins thanks to the guns of Oliver Cromwell, who finally ended its days as a residence and fortress in 1651.  Below are some pictures, including an artist’s impression of what it might have looked like in its heyday.

North Berwick, Scotland

Jude and I have just been back to the UK to visit some friends and family.  We extended our trip by spending a few days in North Berwick, which is on the coast about 25 miles east of Edinburgh.  The weather wasn’t great, but we still managed a walk along the beach and a visit to Tantallon Castle.  (More on that is to follow).

I also walked to the top of “The Law” which is what they call the big hill to the south of the town.  I read a sign saying that the The Law was a site of special scientific interest (or SSSI) and so it seems The Law is protected by law !



More Garden Birds

After spending hours sifting through mostly empty photographs, which were taken every 10 seconds on the timer, I decided to invest in a remote control.  🙂   The only drawback of the remote control is that you have to be within about 5 metres of the camera for it to work, which keeps a few birds, like the Jay, away from the garden.  It does however allow you to take a photo when the bird is in shot.

The following pictures were either taken by this method, with my SLR camera on a tripod, or with my trusty hand-held point and shoot.  I’ll let you work out which is which !

Pointe du Tsaté (Walk 23)

The sun has been shining yet again in the Valais region of Switzerland.  So I just had to go out for another of my walks.  Of the 31 that I’ve put together in the Val d’Hérens this is the 30th that I’ve done so far this year.  I’ve not done a blog for them all, but most can be found on this site, e.g. by searching for “Walk” on the About page.

This particular walk started at La Forclaz and went, pretty much, straight up to the Pointe du Tsaté at 3078 metres (10,078 feet).  As you can see from the photos, there were still one or two flowers to be seen and a little bit of snow on the top.