Anyone paying attention (though why should you!) will note that I am now all out of order. However, having got a pressing cri de coeur about “stuff” out of my system and with an hour of luxurious spare time up my sleeve, I am now returning to the joys of our week in Glenelg. I toyed with just skipping it, as it seems eons ago now) and pressing on with the here and now, but then I thought “hold on, there’s a Hairy Oobit deserving of his (or her, or its???) 10 seconds of fame” and resolved to persevere.

Due to over enthusiastic sampling of the Co-op’s finest malt, the day after Keith’s arrival was beset by a monumental hangover (on Keith’s part). We managed a gentle stroll to the otter hide (and yes, they absolutely did – nothing to see but gulls and seals) and then the poor lamb retired to bed without dinner hoping for recovery. It was, nonetheless a lovely walk. We caught the blaeberries in flower amongst the heather, sporting juicy pink frilled orbs that looked almost like berries. The path was strewn with somewhat gingery hairy oobits basking in the sun. I think they might be white ermine moth caterpillars (if so, it’s quite the transformation isn’t it!). The new woodland planted beside the path when Lachlan was just a tot has matured beautifully. The mix of deciduous trees and native pines lets enough sun filter through to create a live forest floor, with squashy mounds of moss growing over roots and fern stumps and here and there, where the sun dapples most, pools of primroses, wood anemone, violets and oxalis. The ancient Caledonian Forest must have been much like this, vibrant and full of contrasting textures, an eternity away from the scaly dead floor of a sitka spruce plantation.

The following day the invalid was mended and we headed for Corran, which was as lovely as ever. We were too early for the orchids, but there were violets and primroses a plenty and I even spotted a heath milkwort (and more to the point finally managed to work out what it was) and a tiny lousewort (which I do think deserves a better name!). In the sun, with the still leafless alders black and twisted against the bleached grass, I thought there was almost an air of Savannah to the glen. Driving back, being in the passenger side beside the steep drop to the sea, I had rather a moment when we encountered a caravan which had decided not to stop at the passing place. There was a distinct, and stomach turning, lurch as we eased off the road to let it pass. Keith testily declared that he had spotted the pothole and there was nothing to worry about. From my seat, however, all I could see was air and sea………

Our last day was a little cloudy, a kindness to ease us on our way. Lachlan and I took a last walk to the shore station. Returning, he explained at length why his ideas for novel titles were much better than mine, and if that meant changing the story fundamentally so be it…Also nobody, he declared stoutly, wants to see pictures of ferns, under any circumstances. I have included several for spite.

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