Here it is , almost the end of August and I can feel a change in the air, I wonder what weather we will get today? Heavy rain, gales, intense heat or perhaps just a dreich day! We've all experienced raging hot days this month and the risk of flooding from heavy downpours. Is this due to global warming? It's scary to see what's happening in other countries where severe weather has been storming through towns, cities and small villages. The fires in the Amazon rainforests are deeply worrying for the whole world.
Some may say 'it's just the weather.' Maybe our planet is trying to re - invent itself, like a massive detox, after all with less humans there would be a much better balance
to the whole biodiversity on earth. So this is a plea for all of us to do something, because even the smallest of actions
can make a difference if we all make them. Let me list some for you: ● Turn your heating down and put an extra layer of clothing on, like a jumper or
body warmer. And don't leave the tap running while you are brushing your teeth.
● Take a re-usable bag with you to the shops ● Eat less meat ● Car share where ever possible ● Question if you really need to buy that product with plastic packaging ● Plant wild flowers to help the bees ● Provide a habitat in your garden for insects, birds and animals ● Take your litter home and keep wildlife safe The list of possibilities really is endless, but achievable for most of us. I think the biggest flaw is lack of education, why isn't saving the planet right at the top of the curriculum? An extremely relevant topic, it would cover almost every subject. After
all the kids are the future, we've done so much damage, so let's now do all we can to
help , support and offer advice with change. When I look out my window its a palette of mostly greens and yellows . The hills with a mauve haze from the heather. Recently I travelled further north with my family and
we thoroughly enjoyed our time away. We found pockets of magical places with not another soul about, a couple of places truly stole my heart and I could imagine myself uprooting and living there.
Walking with wild reindeer has almost became an annual event, and each time I go,
even though I know what's about to unfold, I still feel an emotional wreck. The
reindeer have an energy about them, each with their own character, some grumpy , some incredibly friendly to the extreme of demanding attention. They have a gentle way of being around you with their unique velvety antlers and their lovely muzzles nuzzling at you.
My daughter Amber was just as excited as me. The only slight drawback was that we
had to be part of quite a big group. There were lots of different nationalities in our group, including American, Chinese and Dutch visitors. They seemed lovely people,
but although many had an obvious interest and respect for the reindeer, I felt
some just saw the experience as a box to tick.
The reindeer herders led us all, winding along the narrow track up the side of the mountain, where the landscape is engorged by wild blue berries and Heather. The
views took our breath away as we stopped occasionally to keep the group together.
We've been before, so we chose to go to the back of the group. We had three gates to go through, all of which had to be shut behind us. In the
distance we could see the reindeer heading towards us, knowing the herders would
be armed with food.
Board walk paths are set out to make crossing the boggy moorland easier and the reindeer are wise to that, squeezing in-between people as they too find the going
easier on the boardwalk. As we approached the feeding station, the herders did a head count and gave us a
final talk about reindeer body language, telling us where and where not to touch the reindeer and that we could leave in our own time, but reminding us to shut the gates. We waited and allowed the reindeer to come to us, to respect their space and just
enjoy being with them. We all had a favourite - or in Amber's case, four of them.
Sadly Nutkin, her favourite reindeer from last time had died at the age of seven.
The herders couldn't pinpoint a reason. Thankfully she made a new reindeer friend
quite quickly, when one seemed to latch on to her. The reindeer are tagged with individual numbers so you can find out information about each one.
One of the herders came over to Amber and said, 'Oh you've found Olympus,
this was Nutkin's best friend.' As you can imagine, Amber was delighted to hear
that. She also loved an almost white bull called Origami and two of this year's
calves, Frost and Poirot. The group depleted quite quickly, and as we chatted to the herders we realised
only half a dozen people were still there - and we were four of them. Magic.
The reindeer settled and some began to lie down. They were special moments
and we walked back down with the herders thanking them for their time, and
wishing the herd well. We finished this beautiful day by spending time at Loch Morlich.
It wasn't all play on holiday, I did work a a little too. On our way north I delivered
some of my books to Loch of Lowe's Scottish Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre.
Here they have hides where you can sit and watch a great variety of birds, red squirrels, beavers and osprey. I had planned to drop off the books, have a quick look round then had off again as I knew my partner Clive was keen to get to the Cairngorms and we were all in need of lunch.
Instead, it was a few hours later before we left. Amber and I were way too comfortable watching a red squirrel scampering about and Clive and Jake were in another hide watching the osprey .
It's a real thrill for me to know my books are in the wildlife visitor centre in Dunkeld - and while I was there, two people from Belgium bought a copy of each book. I signed the books and told them all about Liddesdale. They had never heard of my lovely area but are now planning to visit as they are huge wildlife enthusiasts. Remember the last Saturday in August is our Holm show, an agricultural show with loads to do, and the fantastic band 3RIVER CITY is playing at night. Hope to see you there xx