Well they do say Scotland is known for its rain and whilst many would disagree we undoubtedly get spells of it! Indeed on Saturday the rain poured and poured and coupled with snow melt gave the rivers no option but to swell up and fast. The end result in this corner of the world is that the River Spey and indeed its tributaries, such as the Druie, simply cannot cope and have no option but to go sideways resulting in a lot of Rothiemurchus going under water!
It has not been un-heard of for some of the Rothiemurchus staff to have to swap their cars for a boat and row themselves from their dwellings to get to the nearest main road!
Staff and students from Robert Gordon University visited Rothiemurchus estate this week to launch a weather balloon to raise money for a children’s charity called ‘Dreams Come True http://dreamscometrue.uk.com/where children with terminal illnesses can have a dream come true. The fund-raising involves ‘selling’ people their dream. They can think about their own dreams while being inspired by, and contributing to the charity. Dreams were t on a piece of biodegradable paper and attached to a weather balloon filled with helium. A parachute, a GPS tracker and a camera in a secure box with the bag of dreams underneath were also attached and the whole structure was released into the sky .
The balloon was released on Rothiemurchus and landed at a location in Aberdeenshire. These incredible pictures show the balloon being prepared for launch and then the balloon when it climbed its way to the dizzy heights of 21000m!!
A fantastic event to be involved in and it certainly provided a different view than the one that we are used to here on Rothiemurchus!!
Although our Ranger Service at Rothiemurchus are our eyes and ears out on the ground, speaking with visitors and looking to see what wildlife is about on a day to day basis, there are just some wildlife that is hard to spot due to the nature of their habits. Indeed Pine Martens are a species that can predominantly only be seen in the dark given their nocturnal behaviour. Our wildlife cameras manage to get a glimpse of one in the middle of the night and a brown hare also decided to show itself for good measure!
For those interested in nature another good reason for the enjoyment of snow is the ability to see much more clearly the evidence of what creatures have been out and about during the day / night and indeed not always that far from home! With snow on the ground the Rothiemurchus Ranger team can gain a better insight as to what type of animal is in certain areas that during milder greener times would be at times very hard to understand without 24 hour surveillance.
Whether it be badger, pheasant, otter or even dogs, walkers or tyre tracks; the snow is not just good for throwing, sledging or skiing on!!
It remains cold here on Rothiemurchus with further snow and freeze / thaw cycles. With snow on the roofs during the day and the temperatures fluctuating around zero these beautiful shape like teeth form adding to the wintery feel. The Ranger and maintenance teams have been enjoying themselves clearing the snow on a regular basis – yes I am sure the odd snow ball has been thrown as well!!
I am not sure about you but we think these two would certainly give Eastenders Phil and Grant Mitchell a run for their money! Joking aside these beautiful creatures are our two cross-breed bulls enjoying a bit of winter sun after the recent stormy and snowy weather. They are always a winner with our guests who come on a land rover or hairy coo safari.
This year winter just seems to be stuck in a cycle of freeze and thaw. This blog is written on a day that has reached 7 degrees but tomorrow the snow is set to once again cover the land that has just thawed from the last fall and temperatures set to plunge to take Rothiemurchus back into a winter wonderland.
In the meantime the countryside has returned to its colourful self and the water is once more flowing down the rivers. The trees this time are not frozen in time but are having a bath!