Friday, 4 October 2013

Burial chambers & seed collecting

Well, that's my mum away back home, it's been lovely to have her here visiting this past week but I know she's always glad to be going back to her own home and I would be exactly the same.
I think she had a good time while she was here, to be honest there's not much to show people once they've been a couple of times but isn't it always the way that you remember places you should have gone once you're sat at the airport waiting for their flight home!
Anyway I told her she'll just have to come again next year so I can take her to the places I had thought of - think it worked! Hope it worked! lol

Apparantly despite having been here a few times now I have failed to take mum to see the Grey Cairns of Camster, I'm not so sure though - I think she's just forgotten the trip because it's usually the first thing we take people to see because it's only 5 miles up the road.
Well just in case she forgets again I'll blog it here lol

These particular cairns are among the oldest stone monuments in Scotland, they're over 5000 years old and are two of the best preserved burial tombs from the Neolithic anywhere in Britain.
So much is still a mystery when it comes to these Cairns but we know they were definitely used as burial chambers - you can also enter the cairns via a tiny doorway but it's cramped and you have to crawl to the centre room on your hands and knees, I've done it many times but it's fairly creepy and not the spiritual experience you would hope for.

Just 6 miles in the opposite direction of our house is the Stone circle at Loch Stemster.
I've loved stone circles ever since visiting Avebury when I was a kid, these ones are on a much smaller scale than Avebury but it's still way cool to have them so nearby.

Not my image

The purpose and date of this circle are unknown though it's likely they belong to the Bronze age and while it's usual for the flat fronts to face inward of the circle (though this one is actually a horseshoe not a circle) the standing stones at Stemster have their sides facing inward - for what reason, who knows!

I've managed to have a quick check on the PT today in between pallet dismantling and I was pleased to see that the Apples are about ready for picking now. Neither tree is producing huge apples but the Braeburn is of a fairly decent size and the Golden Delicious would have been too had I thinned them out adequately weeks ago.

Braeburn apple

Golden delicious apple+9

I've decided this year that I'm going to collect seed from plants I wouldn't normally bother with and I noticed the Echinacea was looking particularly brown and full of seed. I have no idea about collecting seed from from Echinacea and therefore have no idea what the seed is supposed to look like when it's ready to harvest. These were falling off the head as I picked them though so I guess that means they're ready?

Todays little watcher as I ferried back and fore moving wood was Bob the Great Horned Owl, he was a rescue case and has a split beak.
Say hello Bob


  1. You are lucky to have such fantastic monuments close by. I love ancient monuments and always seek them out when somewhere new! Love the first photo. And as for Bob ... can I have him please? Beautiful.

    1. I agree Elablue, it is nice to have these things close by, we go to the Cairns quite alot really.
      Alas, Bob is not so friendly - beautiful but with a mean streak - I fear he would have your eyes out lol.

  2. What wonderful monuments you have, I was fascinated by the burial chamber and would love to crawl in and have a look.

    Your apples look wonderful....and a good reminder for me to collect some seed too.xxxx

    1. It's really creepy crawling through snowbird lol and very very claustrophobic. If you panic half way through it's tough cos you can't turn round - I still shudder at the thought lol.
      Happy seed collecting xx

  3. I've been to the Camster Cairns (although not for a couple of decades) but the one that eludes me is the Whaligo steps.

    Have you grown Stemster potatoes?

    1. Ooooo, Whaligo steps, certainly not for the faint of heart lol - a good leg workout though and so so beautiful when you're down there. I think there's a go there now that has put up cctv so he can see when unsuspecting victims attempt the steps, he then rushes out full of info, tags along and probably hopes to get a tip at the end of it - enterprising but oh so slightly annoying lol.
      Have never grown Stemster potatoes, in fact I'd never heard of them until you mentioned them (embarrassing fact) so I googled them, seems they are more popular in France than the UK.

  4. Crawling through cairns reminds me of pot holing on residential visits that I took my class of 11 year olds on. I ended up doing things I would never normally volunteer to do as you can't wimp out when you are the children's role model. Miss cannot afford to be a wimp!!

    Bob's tufts look much bigger than on other eagle owls I have seen

    1. Lol Sue, I've never thought before about the poor teachers who have to do these things to get the kids through, I'll bet those kids never once noticed your discomfort though, such is a teachers ability to hide these things - teachers certainly are not wimps lol.
      Bob is a Great Horned Owl not an Eagle Owl, of which we have 2. You're correct, their tufts are not as big as Bobs who actually very rarely treats me to such erect tufts - must have been a good day for him lol.

    2. That's what comes of not reading things correctly! As for hiding feelings I managed quite well although a male colleague's teeth actually chattered when we had to abseil off a viaduct!


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