Easter Daffodils at Balbirnie, Fife

Let’s go on a wee virtual walk on this lockdown Easter Sunday. When I took these photos of the daffodils on the Balbirnie Estate/Park in Fife last week the daffodils were in full bloom and as usual getting a bit battered by the wind, it always amazes me how much bad weather they can put up with, they’re obviously not as delicate as they look.

Balbirnie Daffodils

Balbirnie Daffodils, Fife

Some of the boundary stones that edge the Balbirnie driveway have faint ancient markings on them but most must have been placed there in fairly recent years. These stones aren’t far from the Balbirnie Standing Stones and they date back to the Bronze Age.

Balbirnie Daffodils, Fife

The daffodils below are growing in what counts as the rough of the golf course I suppose and we sometimes end up helping a golfer to find their ball. One day last month, in the glory days before the course was shut to golfers because of the lockdown, we witnessed one golfer whacking his ball in the rough and he managed to bounce it off a tree really hard, it bounced back with such force and ended up further back than the start. It might have killed him if it had hit him, but as it was – he almost died of embarrassment I think!

Balbirnie Daffodils, Fife

Even a water hazard looks quite scenic when framed by tree branches I think. We usually steer well away from the fairways when we go for our walks although in theory in Scotland they can’t stop anyone from just wandering over the course even as people play. But we noticed that the dog walkers are claiming the course at the moment – with no worries about anyone yelling FORE at them as they amble along. Every cloud has a silver lining for someone I suppose. Anyay, I hope you enjoyed your virtual breath of fresh air, especially if you are unlucky enough to be stuck in a flat.

Balbirnie golf course, Fife

Balbirnie Estate, Fife

The weather has been so bad recently that we hadn’t been able to get out for our usual walks, so when a bit of dry weather came along we grabbed it although we knew it would be muddy underfoot. The weather never seems to bother the deer that live around here although they have been ranging further than normal and I know that because twice recently they’ve walked across roads as we’ve been driving along, thankfully not going very fast.

Deer, Balbirnie, Fife

The wee burn below is new, there’s normally a trickle in this area which just disappears into the ground but it’s actually flowing now but was easy just to step over.
new burn

Balbirnie path, Fife

It’s squelchy underfoot though and walking down the very steep muddy path below is nasty at the best of times. I wished I had armed myself with a stout stick, but with some nifty footwork I managed not to skite on my bahoukie!

Balbirnie path, Fife

Balbirnie snowdrops,Fife

Once at exactly this spot a fox rushed past us, coming from behind and just about brushing past me, I thought it was a dog at first, then a horribly aggressive pit bull terrier with no collar on and no owner in sight ran past me too. Those dogs must have quite a poor sense of smell because it didn’t realise that the fox had gone off the path and into bushes nearby, where I’m sure they have a den.

Balbirnie, snowdrops , Fife

Balbirnie,snowdrops, Fife

The ‘back’ burn as it is called locally is much fuller and faster than normal, as you would expect with all the rain and sleet we’ve had. Not that I’m complaining having seen on the news what other people are having to put up with.
back burn, Balbirnie, Fife

We’ve been living in this area for almost six years now and we’ve never seen it flooded like this, walking into town for the Guardian in the morning has been interesting, dodging the mini lochs and rivers that at times have reached across the road.
Balbirnie Floods, Fife

No scooting across the golf course as a bit of a short cut, as you can see it has been fairly cold too with ice on top of the floodwater.
Balbirnie floods, Fife

The flagpoles outside the Balbirnie House Hotel, which was originally the ‘big hoose’ in this area, have recently had new flags run up them. I don’t think they last too long in our windy weather. I’m just so glad to see that they are continuing to fly the Europan flag.

Balbirnie House Hotel , Fife

You’ve had quite a few virtual walks around here recently and looking at my bathroom scales it seems like I’ve been having virtual walks too. I hope you’re having more success than I am!

The Balbirnie Park, Fife

It’s officially spring now and a couple of days ago I took my camera with me on a walk around the Balbirnie Park in Fife. Originally this land was the Balfour family estate but now it belongs to Fife Council and it’s well used by the local people – walkers, cyclists and even now and again people riding horses as there are some bridle paths there. Get your walking shoes on and come with me!

Back Burn

The wild garlic is really burgeoning now although only the leaves, so I wasn’t accompanied by its pungent scent, the flowers won’t be long in appearing now if the weather keeps mild. That aroma will probably assail me whenever I open the back door in a week or two. By the bye, I was at a ‘fancy’ food market last weekend and there was a stall there selling bunches of wild garlic leaves at £5 a bunch. At that rate the land around Balbirnie is worth a fortune! It’s good for making pesto, if you’re that way inclined.

Back Burn

It’s a quiet walk, apart from the birds who keep up a constant chatter but are mainly in hiding. The Back Burn as this small stream is called is I suppose what attracted the neolithic people to settle in this area 4 or 5,000 or so years ago. You can see a post about their nearby stone circle here.
Back Burn

There are a few picnic benches dotted around but they don’t really detract from the essential wildness of the place.
Back Burn

As far as I know there’s only this one giant redwood (sequoia) tree on the estate although as those trees were introduced to Britain around the time of the Battle of Waterloo they’re more commonly know as Wellingtonias here – in honour of the Duke of Wellington’s triumph in battle. This one doesn’t seem too large to me so possibly it isn’t actually a giant one. I suppose a lot depends on how old it is though.
giant redwood tree

Hallelujah – the first rhododendron is in flower, as you can see this one is being propped up as it’s trunk wouldn’t bear the weight of its top. In common with many Victorian estates Balbirnie has lots of beautiful specimens, some of them quite rare and planted when there was a vogue for the next exciting thing to be found by plant hunters of the day, many of whom were Scottish.

Rhododendron, Balbirnie, Fife

Well, that was just a wee wander along a part of the large Balbirnie estate, I hope you enjoyed the breath of fresh air and aren’t too tired. I went home and had coffee and a biscuit of course. Well I deserved it I think, but I wish I could offer you one too.

You can see more images of Balbirnie Park here.

Pony and Trap

We were having a Sunday afternoon walk around part of the parkland at Balbirnie. The house itself is now a rather posh hotel, but the grounds are owned by the local council and there’s a golf course there too of course, well it is Fife so there’s always a golf course nearby.

Walking down the hotel driveway I heard this pony and trap long before I saw it, it wasn’t the clip-clopping which I heard though it was jangling bells.

I think it must be something to do with the hotel, maybe they pick up some guests from the railway station, to give them a Victorian experience. Anyway it was a nice sight but it did remind me of that Jane Austen spin off comedy which I saw at the flicks fairly recently, Austenland. No surprises that the film wasn’t up for any BAFTA awards as it was just a bit of light silliness, but I was pleased to see that Cate Blanchett got a BAFTA for her work in Blue Jasmine which I think was the only other film which I saw last year.