February 2020
February 2020 - Moats and Whisky

Where is the snow? January's weather has been more wet and windy than snowy and cold so any snow didn't seem to stay for long. While many would not wish for snowy conditions, I urgently need to replenish my Christmas card picture stock, hence a frustration at the lack of 'white stuff.' Global warming and climate change is headline news just now and maybe the notion of a "white Christmas" is already a thing of the past. Perhaps I should be looking to New Zealand and Australia to understand what the new-style of Christmas card in the UK might start to look like?

January was a busy month in respect of non-photographic matters but I managed a couple of sorties with the camera. Heavy rain and snow melt resulted in flooding over Insh marshes in the Cairngorms as the river Spey burst its banks. However, the marshes are there for that purpose and no homes were affected but it was interesting to see Ruthven Barracks - normally perched atop a small hillock - suddenly develop a moat! The flooding made me wonder about the cost to wildlife; would rodents, deer, rabbits and reptiles be displaced, marooned or drowned by rising waters? Would the waters submerge valuable winter feeding habitat?

I have been grabbing short excursions to the Water of Leith to continue photographing abstract images of the moving river. I never tire of this style of picture and there are always bonuses to be had like the sight of a kingfisher darting along the river course and gooseanders floating past. I still haven't seen any otters but they are certainly about!

In the garden, snowdrops are now out, daffodil buds are pushing through and primroses are in bloom. The signs of spring are emerging and considerations turn to what botanical photography I might wish to undertake this year and how to portray them in a creative fashion.

My wife and I enjoy visiting Scotland's distilleries and we are slowly beginning to tick a few off the list. We visited Glengoyne Distillery in the Campsie Hills last month and saw a little of the surrounding countryside. It is a lovely area and not one I have ever spent any time in - but shall be doing so now! We were generously looked after at one of Scotland's most scenic distilleries complete with its own waterfall on site (see image) which was once used to make the whisky. Distilleries can cover enormous, sprawling sites yet Glengoyne is a small, compact business which gives a real sense of its historical roots. The whisky was simply excellent, we purchased handsomely in the shop and I would definitely recommend a visit. It did make me wonder whether there is some mileage in whisky photography; let me mull that one over a wee dram...