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    The wonderful colours of Scotland: YELLOW…

     

    Bettyhill North Coast blue waters and yellow gorse © 2006 Scotiana

    Bettyhill North Coast blue waters and yellow gorse © 2006 Scotiana

    There’s something magical in Scotland and, like Gandalf the Grey, Scotland can be grey but also radiant and multicoloured.

    In the morning you feel as if you were going to disappear between sea and sky in the misty atmosphere but in the afternoon the wind has risen and the ocean is of the deepest blue. The day after you can’t believe your eyes when you see that the white, pink, yellow and red rhododendrons are burning bright under a scorching sun. There, you can never know.

    That’s Scotland !

    Mairiuna

    Dear readers,

    Some time ago I felt like going back to the beginnings of Scotiana just to listen to the murmur of the sources…

    Maybe we should never re-read our first writings but that’s exactly what I did when, with a little smile and a bit of nostalgia,  I re-discovered my small text entitled The Colours of Scotland published on 24 May 2009, nine years after our first journey to Scotland. It was our second article on Scotiana and our blog was only a week old. Blogging was quite new to us then but we were so eager to share our love of Scotland that we quickly learned the tricks of the trade 😉 Five years later, our enthusiasm is as strong as ever.

    Our very first post on Scotiana actually dates back to 19 May 2009. Iain and Margaret joined us soon with their first Letter from Scotland published on February 13th 2010, a very interesting page about St Valentine’s Day.  They have written many other letters since and they are all very popular. Two of them have drawn a number of very interesting comments :  Monstrous Conspiracy that condemned the innocent Oscar Slater (1909) and  Reflections on the Oscar Slater Affair.

    I’m very happy today to announce the imminent publication of a third article carefully prepared by our friends about this still very topical subject 🙂 For having read it already I can tell you that it will move you to tears. Many many thanks to Iain and Margaret, Scotiana would not be what it has become without their precious contribution! Two of our favourites letters are The Leningrad Album, a Token of Scottish-Russian Friendship in War published on August 18th 2011 and Betty Mouat’s Lone Voyage, a Miraculous Survival published on May 18th 2011. Don’t miss reading these and all the other ones!

    But let us resume our virtual journey on the Scottish roads, trying to share with you the best of Scotland in our insatiable quest of ‘La Belle Alba’. Today, I’m  going to launch a new series of articles dedicated to the colours of Scotland. Is there a better way to celebrate Scotland and the fifth birthday of Scotiana? 😉

     

    Tarbat Ness Lighthouse yellow gorse © 2006 Scotiana

    Tarbat Ness Lighthouse yellow gorse © 2006 Scotiana

    In spring, when nature awakens the magic begins in Scotland with an explosion of colours.  As you can see on our pictures, yellow is at its best then. It is as omnipresent and vivid as purple in autumn. We could not believe our eyes when we suddenly saw this lighthouse emerging from a sea of yellow gorse. We stopped to follow the path leading to the Lighthouse…

    Tarbat graveyard and yellow fields © 2006 Scotiana

    Tarbat graveyard and yellow fields © 2006 Scotiana

    Following the road we fell on an old graveyard with a big yellow field in the background… maybe a field of  ‘colza’ (rapeseed) but I’m not sure… …

    Bettyhill gorse farm white horses hills © 2001 Scotiana

    Bettyhill gorse farm white horses hills © 2001 Scotiana

    Gorse everywhere… look at this farm situated in the far north of Scotland, nestled in this beautiful environment not far from Bettyhill, with the white horses peacefully grazing in the green meadow and the  hills in the background…

    Kintyre yellow gorse © 2004 Scotiana

    Kintyre yellow gorse © 2004 Scotiana

    Whatever direction you choose to follow the roads lead you through a profusion of yellow!

    Kintyre peninsula gorse covered hills © 2004 Scotiana

    Kintyre peninsula gorse covered hills © 2004 Scotiana

    Yellow wilderness…

     

    Tarbat lighthouse gorse © 2006 Scotiana

    Tarbat lighthouse gorse © 2006 Scotiana

    You can now understand why I’ve chosen to begin this series of articles with the yellow colour, though there is so much to say about the other ones!

    It is indeed very difficult to choose among the wonderful colours of Scotland! The idea of writing something about the yellow colour, came to my mind at the end of last year when I was glancing, as I use to do each morning, at our old French ‘revolutionary calendar’. It was December 6th, which corresponds to ‘Sextidi 16 Frimaire’, a day dedicated to a flower named ‘ajonc’ in French and ‘gorse’ in English. It immediately conjured up myriads of memories from our different trips to Scotland and these images were so strong in my mind that I immediately dropped my article about ‘Scottish books for Christmas’ to write about the yellow colour. As it is not the colour generally associated with winter, I let my page sleep in the draft up till today, in May, when the colours must be burning bright in Scotland. How I’d like to be there… but we hope to take new pictures of the Scottish spring next year !

    So, let us turn on the pages of our Scottish albums. We have taken so many pictures that it is very difficult to choose among them!

    Eilean Donan Castle rhodos and yellow gorse © 2004 Scotiana

    Eilean Donan Castle rhodos and yellow gorse © 2004 Scotiana

    Gorse again here and a few rhododendrons too… of course everybody will have recognized the mythical Eilean Donan Castle 😉

    Eilean Donan Castle gorse and cinema scaffolding © 2004 Scotiana

    Eilean Donan Castle gorse and cinema scaffolding © 2004 Scotiana

    We’ve even found an old cinema scaffolding forgotten amidst the gorse. Maybe it has been used to turn some of the scenes of  Highlander ! Situated on a tidal island where three lochs meet (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh) and surrounded by a majestic scenery, Eilean Donan Castle is an ideal place to turn a film and there were more than one to be turned here like Entrapment with Sean Connery (1999).

     

    Lochcarron old stone bridge © 2001 Scotiana

    Lochcarron old stone bridge © 2001 Scotiana

    Lochcarron, one of our favourite places in Scotland. I even dare to say that we were lucky that our car broke down here during our last journey in Scotland. It allowed us to stay on a place which we had only passed through on our previous trips, a wonderful place where we also found  great accommodation and excellent food  at the Waterside Cafe situated in the main street, just in front of the loch.

    Isle of Arran yellow gorse misty landscape © 2006 Scotiana

    Isle of Arran yellow gorse misty landscape © 2006 Scotiana

    Opening my Flowers Collin’s Guide to the page entitled ‘Gorse or Furze’ (Ulex europaeus) I read:

    Hairy, dense, spiny shrub, forming impenetrable thickets on heaths, cliffs and rough grass-land and on derelict railway lines or industrial land. In spring the flowers can scent the air and on hot day in summer the pods can be heard to open explosively with a distinct crackling pop. The plant was formerly cut as an important source of fuel, ideal for kindling and for animal fodder. The proverb ‘When gorse’s out of bloom, kissing’s out of season’ derives from the long flowering season with always a few flowers present through the winter.

    Don’t try to hide in the impenetrable thickets of gorse for they are not only thick but extremely prickly like other famous Scottish flowers!

    Yellow fields in the mist © 2006 Scotiana

    Yellow fields in the mist © 2006 Scotiana

    At the end of a day we got lost in the mist in the middle of nowhere… a yellow nowhere…

    Yellow fields and cows in the mist © 2006 Scotiana

    Yellow fields and cows in the mist © 2006 Scotiana

    But we quickly discovered that we were not alone 😉

     

     Stay tuned to discover the other colours of Scotland.

    A view of Ben Nevis from the banks of loch Linnhe © 2007 Scotiana

    Yellow again with these flowers in the foreground of our picture and another mythical place in the background!  Ben Nevis reflects its majestic figure on the grey waters of Loch Linnhe.

    I think I’ve found the name or I should say the names of this beautiful and rather common flower :

    ‘Jacobaea vulgaris, syn. Senecio jacobaea is a very common wild flower in the family Asteraceae that is native to northern Eurasia, usually in dry, open places, and has also been widely distributed as a weed elsewhere.

    Common names include ragwort, benweed, tansy ragwort, St. James-wort, ragweed, Stinking Nanny/Ninny/Willy, staggerwort, Dog Standard, cankerwort, stammerwort, mare’s fart and cushag. 😉 In the western US it is generally known as Tansy Ragwort, or “Tansy”, though its resemblance to the true tansy is superficial.’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobaea_vulgaris

    Yellow rhodos in Brodick Castle Gardens on the Isle of Arran © 2006 Scotiana

    Yellow rhodos in Brodick Castle Gardens on the Isle of Arran © 2006 Scotiana

     

    No difficulty to find the name of this magnificent flower which reigns over the Scottish parks and gardens, and beyond…  Without the spectacular blooming of its rhododendrons Scotland would not be Scotland.

    St Ronan's Well Willy's Buttons © 2006 Scotiana

    St Ronan’s Well Willy’s Buttons © 2006 Scotiana

    And to end this article here’s is my ”coup de coeur’ for this beautiful yellow flower which we first discovered in  the very beautiful gardens of St Ronan’s Well which are situated in the village of Innerleithen, Borders. St Ronan’s Well gave its name to a famous novel by Sir Walter Scott. This lovely yellow flower, known under the name of ‘Willy’s Buttons’ , ‘Billy Balls’ and also ‘Craspedia’ is often used to make up bouquets …

    Bonne lecture !

    A bientôt 🙂

    And, before all, don’t miss our next ‘Letter from Scotland‘ . You’ll love it!

    Mairiuna.

    PS: Stay tuned to discover more about the beautiful colours of Scotland.

    mobile-library-bus-highlands-scotland

    mobile-library-bus-highlands-scotland

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    2 comments to The wonderful colours of Scotland: YELLOW…

    • Connie in Colorado

      I think this is my most favorite post – ever! The photos of the yellows (gorse, rapeseed, rhodos,etc.) are spectacular against the wildness of Scotland. We will be there in a month, but – alas! – no blooming yellow gorse by then. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photo collection.

      Happy Spring!

      • Many thanks Connie for your very kind comment 🙂 🙂 That’s a great pleasure for us all to share with our readers our love for Scotland. We’re eager to go back there, whatever the season and whatever the colours for there are so much to discover and the landscapes are never the same… We’ll share many more pictures in our future articles on Scotiana and I’m going to put a number of them on Pinterest.

        But you live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world too, there, over the ocean! A few years ago we visited (trop vite hélas !) Colorado and its breathtaking landscapes, the great canyon… we live in a beautiful planet !

        Bon voyage en Écosse Connie !

        Et encore merci 😉 Mairiuna

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