When it comes to the seasons, I’m like a flighty lover. Every time another one rolls around — whether that’s the depths of winter, or the height of the Scottish summer — I declare I’m in love.
Autumn or spring is the only one for me; I adore the frosted leaves, or make eyes at the colourful buds appearing in the flowerbeds. Each one is held on a pedestal in my flaky heart for whatever reason and, the truth is, whether spring or autumn, summer or winter, each has its undeniable beauty.
As Christmas approaches, a trip home is like gold dust.
Between the city rush to get projects completed, the influx of social events and the pressure of present shopping, we couldn’t say no to a trip back west for the very important occasion of putting up the Christmas tree.
Down to our local farm shop we went on a freezing Saturday, wrapped up in down jackets, and between the conifers chose a seven-footer that (yet again) barely fits in the living room. Then the decoration of placing tired tinsel, fairy lights and baubles from years long gone willy-nilly on branches… I promise you there’s a joy in the complete chaos of these haphazard trimmings!
And after the tree, a walk along the River Clyde’s frosted coastline.
Not far from our family home is Ardmore Point, a peninsula of geological interest that curves out into the Clyde. It’s a low-lying but lovely walk which weaves around the water and gives great views across to Greenock, Helensburgh and the snow-dusted Arrochar Alps in the distance.
As we followed the trail, you could spot where the sun had kissed the ground with alternate muddy patches and still-iced corners. It was beautiful, the gorse and nettles sporting intricate crystal designs, layered from several nights of frost.
We walked slowly, spotting small details, and then we were followed.
As we rounded the west side of the point, the four of us noticed someone — something — out the corner of our eye. A robin. It bounced along next to us for a good fifteen minutes, darting between our boots and occasionally tapping its feet on a human leg or shoe. It came up so close, I could appreciate the detail on its wings; the shine on its eyes. I took the above photo with a standard Nikon 18-55mm lens.
Finally we returned home with frozen feet.
The north side of the point, predictably, was still sprinkled in white, the frost lying thick on the plants covering the peninsula. By the time we returned to the car park, my toes were numb and my nose pink. But — even in the harsh weather — it’s revitalising being outdoors in winter conditions. Your surroundings truly sparkle in ice; nature slows and even stills, as if pausing for the next stage of its symphony.
What’s your favourite part of the crescendo towards Christmas?