Saturday, 1 June 2013

Roslin Glen

After seeing many photographs on the Blipfoto site featuring bluebells and wild garlic I felt a deep desire to see them for myself. So today we decided to celebrate the start of summer by a visit to Roslin Glen country park. This park is situated in the valley of the river North Esk, below Rosslyn Castle and the now famous Rosslyn Chapel. The valley was once home to a rich industrial landscape with gunpowder mills and a carpet factory both utilizing the fast streaming water. That was in the past though and nature has now reclaimed this area which is rich in flora and fauna. It might look above like a gentle stroll but that is deceptive.
Most of the paths involve a fair amount of scrambling and it's very up and down. Fortunately it has been dry for quite some time so unlike our previous visits there was no mud. Just as well as I lay on the ground for quite a few of the pictures.
We came for the bluebells but first we stumbled on the endless white carpet of wild garlic, easily identified by the accompanying smell. 
Close up the details of the tiny flowers (only about 1/2") are delightful. The official name for flower is Allium Ursinum or Ramsons, but I have always called it wild garlic.
The park is managed but mostly the policy is to let nature do it's own thing. Trees are left where they have fallen and they are soon reclaimed by moss and lichen.
Ferns grow abundantly here (due to the dampness, no doubt) and their fresh fronds were a beautiful addition to the white as well as the blue that had also started to appear.
And then we were in the bluebell part of the woods. The quotation "And like a skylit water stood, the bluebells in the azured wood" by A. E Houseman couldn't help but come to mind. And after coming home I also discovered in my The Romantic Language of Flowers book that "it is said that if you wade through a carpet of bluebells, you will disturb spells that fairies have hung on the bluebell flowers and this may bring bad luck". We were very careful!
It's interesting to see how bluebells (Endymium nonscriptus) go from what you can see above
 to developing their dangling bells.
We also came across these delightful little flowers. Sadly I have no idea what this might be (and any suggestions are welcome!).  It was a large scrub and the leaves look very much like rhododendron leaves but it's definitely not that. The flowers looked at together are like little brushes. Must have a good look in my plant encyclopaedia.
Although we tried to spot Rosslyn Chapel from below in the valley looking up only the roof of the new visitors's centre can be seen. However Rosslyn Castle is a large presence in the glen and can be seen from a variety of spots. This was the best view of it through the trees. You can more pictures of the castle on a previous blog post here.
It must have been a very ominous presence in days gone by, sitting as it does on an outcrop of rock and towering over the entire river valley. Can you imagine the toil it must have taken to build it in such a place more or less with bare hands? Somehow seeing the stones of all different shapes and sizes and arranged all higgledy piggledy brought that home to me so well. The hands that made it have left their mark and no doubt those long ago workmen had no idea that their castle would still be standing proud after all the many centuries. Did they smell the wild garlic and think about the bluebell fairies? It might be a romantic notion but I think they did. We humans have always had an eye for nature's beauty.


Leslie said...

What a lovely post. Not just the photos, which are beautiful, but the fanciful thoughts you have about the long ago residents of the castle. I always think things like that and try to imagine how my day would go had I been one of the local women. Very much harder, I'm sure, with probably not much time to enjoy the bluebells and ferns. You're fortunate to live near such places. Here in California, nothing's much older than a few hundred years.

Ann Hall said...

The wild garlic is especially lovely!

Grace55 said...

These are fabulous photos frieda and a lovely memory of a superb day .
Last Saturday we went to our local bluebell wood where there are ancient beech trees that date back to 1600.
All the paths through the woodland are well maintained and there is good access for walkers and wheelers.
Garlic grows there amongst the pretty bluebells and it all smells divine together in the warmth of the sun.

theresa martin said...

Spectacular photos. So green and lush and lovely. Isn't nature grand that it reclaims the earth like it does.

Linda said...

Catching up here-again. You now have your own blue poppies, I remember when you had photos last year, they really are apectular and unusal. The photos are all wonderful to see and here the stoies. The quilt is beautiful! The colors and the circles-I like circles. What a job to block it into shape.


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