I was up at the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve on beaver business recently, and liked it so much we decided to go back for a stroll round on Sunday.
The views of Ben Lomond and the southern Highlands from that area, the colours at this time of year, and the crunch of ice underfoot made it a great place to spend an hour.
The reserve is carefully managed and has an understated charm. There are big carved wooden benches and a shelter next to the carefully-constructed pond-dipping area, but the human touches don’t detract from the basic wild, wet, woody feel of the place.
Find of the day had to be superb ice feathers on an old stick. The explanation for this phenomenon, which happens in damp woodland on sub-zero nights, is that a fungus is involved, according to this BBC article.
The fungus produces something called a recrystallisation inhibitor, and this somehow makes the feathers more stable. Yep, even the explanation on that link doesn’t stack up that well. Weirdly beautiful though.
So the place was a hit with us, but I would have driven straight past it without knowing it was there, as indeed I did, many times, before I had to find it for work.
There are bright signs at wall height but you just don’t see them until you’re at the turning, and then it’s too late.
No criticism of the RSPB, who do such a great job there, but it seems the signage was put in when there weren’t many facilities there and they weren’t sure they wanted to pull in huge crowds. It’s also in a National Scenic Area so that was a consideration.
It’s now under review, I understand, and I really think they should blow their own trumpet on this one and advertise themselves more, so more people can enjoy the understated delights of this lovely place.