Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Country Walks

This is Flotterstone Reservoir in the Pentland Hills. I was introduced to it by my neighbour, Gill, a couple of weeks ago, and Hagos and I returned last week. There's a good car park by the Ranger Centre at Flotterstone Inn, and then there is the choice of either walking on the road (very few cars come by) or going off into the hills on one of the many footpaths. Part of the land is military and there are signs warning you may be 'ambushed'. Sounds fun.
The colours of the water, the hills and the heather are just amazing in the afternoon light. We chose a very windy day to go and at some points I was unable to move forward due to the wind pushing me back. But it was exhilarating.
On Sunday I met up with the Burnses (below) to go to Vogrie Country Park (Vogrie House, above). The house and grounds are amazing. It is all now owned by Midlothian Council, and though there is a sweet little cafe at the back in the main part of the house, the rest of it has an institutional feel about it. It was sold in 1920 by the Dewar family and operated as a mental health hospital. Later it was used as a communications centre during the Cold War. The downstairs is open to the public and has various rooms marked off for Boy Scouts etc. The house has an open day one day a year, I believe, where people can explore the rest of the house.
We went to do the Pond Dip, an event arranged by the Rangers, for kids to take a tray, a net and a tub with a magnifying lid to explore what lies in the pond. All the boys, including the biggest boy, were keen to get their hands on the net, and Lynsey and I were disappointed that at least one boy didn't fall in the pond.

I'm really enjoying finding different country walks and houses and castles in the area to explore.

In other news: I have just finished reading one of the most impressive books ever. It's The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters. I do believe that finding the right book at the right time is one of the most rewarding experiences ever, and I was exactly in the mood for The Little Stranger. It was so well paced and developed, and though there was one point towards the end where I suspected what was going on, Sarah Waters keeps it well contained. And the resolution in the very last sentence was just brilliant. I would highly recommend it. A word of warning though: it is a ghost story, and I finished it in bed while Hagos was away (I live in a country house, in the country!). I had only intended reading a few pages before falling asleep, as the following day I was due to get up early to drive to meet my sister for lunch, but the end of the book pushed me on, and I was so absorbed that by the time I finished it was 2am, and I became aware of my surroundings, realising I was alone, and how late it was, feeling a little unsettled!

And, other news: I have almost finished my second orange winter sock. I reckon three more nights of TV knitting and it will be done.

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