Clachan of Campsie cloud inversion

Exploring the Campsie fault line

Campsie Glen has become even more of a hot spot for walkers due to Covid lockdown with parked cars backed up all the way to the main road at Haughead. But on an early morning or a late afternoon, it can still, at times, be reasonably quiet.

Our late Sunday afternoon wander along the Kirk Burn and some scrambling along the rocks along the burn allowed us to explore the Campsie fault line. This is one os several very interesting geological features dating from the Glacial and Post-Glacial period in the area.

The Campsie fault line or scarp is the effect of a normal fault crossing the gorge that displaces lava intersecting with another plane of movement. Landslips and the torrent of the Kirk Burn over time have exposed large sections of the fault line along the burn.

High Kirk of Campsie

A wander round the High Kirk of Campsie and graveyard in Lennoxtown.

St. Machan’s kirkyard

Another wander through St Machan’s graveyard.

Mugdock bluebells

On our regular walk at Mugdock, Lola and I decided to divert and go through the woods up the hill along a very narrow trail rather than our usual walk along the loch. And a good choice it was, as the wooded area, completely out of view from the main path below was carpeted with bluebells.

Moved by the sunset

This afternoon was the third time this week that Lola and I headed into Mugdock Wood for a wander and hopefully some photography of the devastation of fallen trees. Even after a week of cleanup, it still amazes me how much damage the last gales have caused in the city and the country side. I have never seen so much devastation and so many trees (and chimneys!) blown over.

On all three wanders, after an otherwise dry day, the rain started as soon as we left the car and headed along the tracks into the woods. Today, we retraced our steps from our previous wander, walking down the hill to the Allander Water and following the Wet Highland Way for half a mile or so.

The intention was to retake some shots (with the tripod this time) of a piece of bright red and orange bark that had fallen into a mossy hole in a broken tree. While Lola was running with a collie through the undergrowth I mounted the camera on the tripod and set about shooting the striking piece of bark.

Unfortunately, we started off too late and the light was gone, so with the combination of very long shutter times and dogs thumping past the tripod standing on very soft undergrowth, the results were a tad disappointing.

The rain started to get worse so we headed back and up the hill, where we got another photo opportunity, as the sky started to turn purple and red with the setting sun. Along our trek up the hill, I took quite a few shots of the silhouette of the birch trees against the colourful sky, both with a ‘steady’ camera and intentional camera movements.

Must go back soon, hoping that the striking piece of bark is still there and that third time is lucky.

Spring details

As promised in my previous blog entry Life is a blur here are a few intimate landscape images, or visual poetry if I may plagerise Colin Prior, from our Sunday afternoon’s wander through Mugdock Wood. I love this time of the year, with lovely detail and colours in young budding plants and flowers. The main image of a tiny purple pine cone offset by the young green needles is my favourite.

Life is a blur

After a glorious Saturday spent mostly reading the third novel in Stieg Larson’s Millenium trillogy in the sun in our garden, Sunday morning was a bit of a let down with heavy clouds and the odd light shower. So we decided to head into the woods for a wander off the beaten track after lunch. We had hoped for fields of blue, but unfortunately, the bluebells in Scotland appear to be out at least a week later than the England bluebells shown in glory on the web by others in the past week.

Thankfully the weather had improved quite a bit, so we ended up wandering through the woods with a mixture of sun and cloud. We started of from Drumclog Car Park, but headed due North across tracks through the woods rather than following the main track to the West. On reaching the edge of the woods, where the ground dips down to the swampy grass fields, we headed West, but when the opportunity came, we crossed the fields to the other side, crossing little streams meandering through the fields.

On reaching the path that leads down from Mugdock Castle to the West highland Way, just above the old gamekeepers cottage, we followed this well paved path down to the West Highland Way and Allander Water. A welcome opportunity for Lola to have a paddle in the river before heading back up along the tracks through the woods and back to the car park.

The light was wonderful and provided good opportunities for landscape photography. The images of the afternoon ranged from landscapes (vistas) to visual poetry (intimate landscapes) and abstract photography. In the absence of enough bluebells for a typical blue landscape image, I decided to experiment and make the most of the few bluebells in bloom. Using a slow shutter speed and moving the camera downwards while pressing the shutter button, I created some pleasing abstract results.

I used the same technique to take some abstract images of flowering broom and birches framed by fresh green grasses. I am pleased with the results, especially the mian image of the birches. The last image included is a reject, where I failed to get the camera movement and pressing of the shutter button coordinated. hopefully this will give you an impression of the few bluebells amongst the green grasses that form the basis of the abstract bluebell images.

A future blog entry will likely include the landscape and visual poetry images from this delightful wander.

The Sailings

On the way back from Arrochar/Tarbet, we left the dual carriage way for a detour through Bowling and Old kilpatrick. Bowling is a place you just want to drive through, but Old Kilpatrick appears to be a nice little village.

We went for a walk along the Forth/Clyde Canal and stumbled on this little nature reserve called The Sailings. A bit of land between the canal and the Clyde in the shadow of the Erskine Bridge. It’s amazing how high this bridge actually is when you stand underneath it.

The walk along the shore of the Clyde, through grasses, across a wooden walkway and along the canal, was a welcome wander. We even spotted two deer from the wooden walkway, but unfortunately they were too obscured for some decent shots.

A place to come back for a wander, although the big drawback is the continuous noise from the dual carriage way along the hill and on the bridge. It’s a bit like the noise of wind in the top of the trees above you, but then car noise.

A run in the woods

We drove up to Mugdock Wood for some fresh air and to let Lola tire herself out. Both a bit fragile and tired, partly down to a bit too much Rioja on Saturday night and partly down to the time of the year and the ‘wear and tear’ of work. We really need a holiday to recharge the batteries. The weather wasn’t great, very dull and grey with the odd flurry of snow. So my lack of inspiration was matched by my bland surroundings.

I decided to put my 100mm macro lens on the camera and restrict myself to look for ‘intimate’ images in the landscape, forcing myself to move around to compose rather than being lazy with the usual zoom. Very frustrating to start with, as I wanted to switch to my wide angle zoom on various occasions, but I persevered. Halfway through the walk, I started to think I would return without taking a single image.

But the approach paid off well as you can (hopefully) see from this set of images. Not only did I start to see opportunities in the chaotic forests for close ups, I also started to experiment with small apertures and shallow depth of field of the lens. Although I had the tripod with me, I happily took all these images handheld at ISO 800 and shutter speeds of 1/30 or thereabouts, certainly testing Canon’s acclaimed four stop Image Stabiliser to it’s full.

This is the first time I’ve really tried this lens in the field, and wow, I’m well impressed. Not only does it deliver outstanding images in the ‘studio’ for macro photography of jewellery (the main reason for buying this lens in the first place), it is proving to produce very sharp intimate landscapes and, more surprisingly, very sharp action shots. I’m bowled over how well the autofocus snapped on instantly with these two grab shots of Lola at full speed.

Sun on the moors

Having a lazy weekend after a very busy week, so we headed up to Mugdock for a Sunday afternoon wander (and to tire Lola out). Not really in the mood for photography, in fact not in the mood for very much at all.

It was a crisp, cold day with a winter sun making the walk very pleasant instead of bitterly cold.

We walked a longish circle starting along the Loch to the Castle, then across the swamp up to the high moors, passed the quarry and back to the Loch past the big, magnificent, solitary oak. As always, Lola was in her element, especially on the moors, running ragged, playing with sticks and finding ‘imaginary’ mice in the grasses everywhere.

I only took a few images, but I’m pleased with how they turned out.

A wander in the woods

Sunday morning turned out to be the start of another dreich, uninspiring day. Even Lola was unhappy going the distance to the corner shop to get the Sunday papers and the usual Morton rolls for breakfast. In the afternoon, we drove up to Drumclog for some fresh air and a wander in the woods.

We ventured onto the small tracks through the forest from the moment we left the car park, but headed slightly further North than usual and meandered along the edge of the valley South of Mugdock Castle. A wonderful bit of forest left to grow natuarlly and wild with views across the valley dominated by wonderful purple colours of bare trees. A mixture of old oak trees and chaotic skinny birches domiate this part of the forest, offering plenty of photographic opportunities. I could kick myself for leaving the tripod behind, as the light was mostly too dim to take images handheld, even at 1/15 second with the use of image stabilisation.

On reaching the West Highland Way, we headed North following the tracks along the Allander Water rather than the busy path. Lola was in her element, running with other dogs through the undergrowth, chasing sticks and paddling in the shallows of the river. I took some images of the waterfall, but due to the lack of a tripod I could not slow the shutterspeed down enough to get the falls turning into a lovely milky substance. Alas, there’ll be a next time.