Sunny morning, though not particularly hot.
Arrived in good time at Redhall which not open today as there is a trip away, so it was a very good surprise to find the Barrow Band all set up and ready to sing….serendipitous meeting with them, Malcolm and Mary and to find they have a Bee Aware set as part of their repertoire.
After a talk we set off along the Water of Leith upstream towards Colinton. Easy enough to find route at start, and passed lots of folks out walking coming towards us. Wonderful to see lots of Bee friendly plants by the riverbank and the track, and the flitting of kingfishers above the water, glinting with their bright blue feathers, and a couple of herons standing still……
Through Colinton Village, and read the posters of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, who was a nature aware poet – one called Flowers, mentions the bees he sees.
Up into a woody landscape following what we hoped was our track on the map to find a brand new housing estate of expensive houses……and of course the track was no more. We were lucky to meet a couple of women, one young, one old who were planning orienteering routes round the area. The elder of the two turned out to be a friend of the Carmichael family. They helped us with good advice about the route under the Bypass and told us the best way we could get back on our track.
We next found ourselves on land owed by the MOD open spaces, fences, tall styles to negotiate, hard for Pollaidh in particular. The grassy areas good for large patches of bee friendly plants including teasels and yarrow, clearly planted with this in mind and woodland areas.
We stopped for our picnic at the edge of a field, and at this point the rain, came, but not for so long. Then onto woodland where one large patch of Ash trees, with trunks orange with funghi all up their trunks, die back we thought.(Edit: or possibly alga Trentepohlia abietina)
As well as the MOD the Woodland Trust are involved in this area. We next skirted golf courses with the Pentland Hills to our right. Plenty of good plantings, gorse and wild flowers in abundance. Few bees and the occasional butterfly about, but not in any numbers..
Having skirted our way through past golf courses, woodland patches, hillside, past a riding stable, we found ourselves in a wonderful small village of old early 1700 thatched and whitewashed cottage buildings, Swanston Old Village, with good bee friendly gardens.
Then down the track towards the road leading to the Secret Herb Garden. Here we stopped for a well earned cuppa and wonderful cakes among the well tended plants growing and for sale.
Then off by taxi back to Redhall Gardens at just the time the day trip was returning.A good second day, but not so many bees and pollinators to see…….