Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Blackbird and the Rowan Tree

A blackbird in our garden has taken to singing a recognisable tune, over and over: The Bonny Lass o Fyvie. Several times an hour, amongst what seems like otherwise random warblings, the unmistakable first five notes pour out from our troubadour on the telegraph pole. Along with the days getting longer and warmer, the song of the blackbird is one of the sure-fire indicators of spring.

Did I say the days were getting warmer? I hadn't been up the West Highlands since November, so it was a grand pleasure to head for Rannoch Moor at the weekend. Here though, you would think winter was still in full swing.

The Rannoch Rowan:

We stopped at the Rannoch Rowan, known in my circles as 'the tree you say hello to when you're driving past.' I don't know who started this tradition, but it goes back longer than I do. There is something inspiring to the northward-bound mountaineer in its lone, windswept tenacity.

This was the first time I have stopped at the Rannoch Rowan rather than drive past. We intended to climb a small hill - only 492m high - at its back. This hill looks nothing special when traversing Rannoch Moor - all attention is taken up with the bigger hills and island-studded lochs all around. This means that this wee pair of hills, Meall Mor & Meall Beag, is utterly neglected. As the connoisseur of viewpoints well knows however, the mucklest brae is no aye the brawest.

Near the top of Meall Mor:


Looking over Rannoch Moor:

At the side of Meall Mor is a memorial. We wandered over to take a closer look.

Traversing to the Monument:

The Monument:

Who was the momument for? A plaque on the side explained.

Memorial Plaque:

What a magnificent place to have a memorial! And a quiet place too. Although an easy walk - one for a quick stop-off on a fine day north perhaps - and despite the exilharating views, we had this wee hill all to ourselves.

Blackmount Panorama:

On my arrival back home, the blackbird was still perched on the telegraph line, singing lustily, his handsome black plumage and yellow beak and eyerims gleaming in the evening sunshine. On impulse I whistled the first five notes of The Bonny Lass o Fyvie. He immediately sang it back. Spring is definitely here in the Lowlands.


Alex said...

I`ve been up that wee hill a few times now.It`s fabulous,isn`t it ?
Actually walked back through the loch the last time it was so warm :)

It`s many a year since I actually walked up to the Rannoch Rowan though I do tip my hat in passing.There was a wee stone tablet behind it then inscribed "Max" .A tribute to someone`s dog I guess.

Blackie woke me up at 4.30am this morning warbling away quite the thing with no consideration for me whatsover.!

Robert Craig said...

Who needs a cockerel when you've got a blackbird?!

Wonder who started the acknowledgements towards the rowan? Could it have been Tom Weir?

Billy said...

I think Brian knows more about the tree.

I actually got my first tick of the year that night

Robert Craig said...

Deer tick or bagging tick?

Don't know when I'll be next in touch with Brian, I will send him an email and see when he gets back.

Billy said...

Deer. My knee has taken a turn for the worse, so no bagging for me

Robert Craig said...

You seem to attract ticks like I attract midges. Either that or Dave hides them in your clothes bag for a laugh.