Dateline May 2000

Dateline 30th May

Argyll is lush and green. The gorse blooms are fading, but cotton grass splatters the landscape with sporadic speckles of white. The bracken is standing tall, but has yet to spread out its canopy. For the moment, the bluebells are still visible, but the bracken will soon obscure it and shade it out.

Dateline 20th May

Even the ash is in full leaf now, and the rich green of the hillsides is punctuated with yellow splashes of gorse and broom, and white daubs of Hawthorn, with the occasional little splatter of white rowan. Bluebells carpet many of the woodland areas. The best I've seen have been along the shores of Loch Eck, and Loch Lomond. In places, the trees appear to be growing out of a carpet of blue velvet.

Dateline 16th May

A wet dawn, but as the day wore on, the rain wore out, and the afternoon is hazily sunny and very warm again. Not much rain. Neither enough to keep the farmers and gardeners happy, nor enough to soak and discourage the tourists. So I suppose that's what they call a happy medium.

Dateline 11th May

Great news - the roadworks through Loch Awe village have finished,a leaving a wonderful new surface, freshly painted with bright white lines. Better still - no more traffic delays!

On the loch along the road, a solitary swan is seen rather than the pair, which suggests that the cygnets are not far away. Last year they started with 7, but only 3 survived.

In town, a lost soul of a driver wandered erratically before me, and turned into a one way street - going the wrong way! So now its officially summer .

Dateline 10th May

Wonderful weather. Among the woodland, the adolescent acne of the primroses has been drowned by the downy haze of bluebells. The grass is losing that first springfresh green, but the leaves still have it. Loch levels are low, and rivers sneak apologetically over stony beds, threading their way among the boulders which once they so disdainfully trampled. On a nearby steep hillside, the trees stand tall, but few branches grow back towards the hill. Most push out and up towards the light, and the opposite shore. All winter they stand as in Nazi salute, until subdued by the cloak of spring.

Dateline 6th May

Still dry. Still warm. Overcast this morning, but with the promise of sunshine later. Last weekend the Mull festival, this weekend the Oban Music and Dance festival. Almost every available venue is in use, ranging from the visitors centre in the distillery, to Loch Nell Castle, some 20 minutes out of town. Not to be outdone by their arboreal neighbours, the roads have sprouted traffic lights. The journey from Oban to Lochgilphead now needs an extra ten minutes.

Dateline 4th May

It's been warm all week!! Wonderful. The tourists are out, the cuckoos bellowing, and the rivers dying away to a trickle. May is the driest month in Argyll, and so usually the sunniest. T-shirts and shorts have been observed, and not just on the visitors.

Dateline 2nd May

A couple of warm dry days and what a difference. Most of the trees are now aleaf, the larch boasting a brighter fresher green than its evergreen cousins. The ash stands aloof, but the bulging black buds betray its intentions.

Tendrils of bracken have sprung from the grass like miniature bishop's croziers. For the moment they are isolated and slight of stature, but will soon rise and combine to overshadow the primroses and bluebells. The dead grass of winter has vanished almost overnight, miraculously replaced by the fresh green stubble of spring.