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Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Colinton is the highest part of Edinburgh, and Bonaly, where we live, is the highest part of Colinton. There are one or two houses higher than us but not many...we are as high above sea level as one can get in Edinburgh. Saturday night it snowed and snowed and snowed and so, when we woke on Sunday morning we really were in a winter wonderland.
We decided to go for a walk as we were snowed in and couldn't do anything else. It was deathly quiet and beautiful.....and about minus 8 Celcius. We wrapped up well and set out for the Pentland Hills under which Bonaly sits.
We slogged uphill past Bonaly Tower. It looks like a castle but is really a "folly", that's anything ridiculous an overly wealthy Victorian had built on a whim. In this case Lod Cockburn of Edinburgh desired a country seat as well as his mansion in town and thus built this castellated hunting lodge. Today, it's very romantic looking but is now maybe tree or four apartments. Such is an aspect of our heritage...such follies, even more ridiculous than this scatter the countryside from 150 years ago or so.
In the autumn, I saw a deer in this small enclosed copse...sometimes people see deer in their garden but we never have. I wonder if the deer that roam along here can find enough food at this time of year. We saw three deer recently further up the hilside but it's difficult to spy one at this time of eyar, especially in the snow when it's like this.
Bonaly Country Park, at the foot of the Pentland Hills is actually outside the city limits. Our house is right on the edge of the city and by walking up to the park we walk out of the city. The scenery is truly spectacular.
We were for most of the time we were out completely alone and the silence was ear-shattering! It was broken every now and then by the soft dull thump of snow falling off branches and hitting the snow-covered ground.
We did this walk with some guests in the summer nd they loved to sit on a park bench which looked north over the city. We sat and chatted and enjoyed the view under a lovely warm sun then but on this walk we were unable to sit as the bench was completely under snow. The view of Edinburgh was crystal clear and equally beautiful though.
We were out for about two and a half hours...it was hard work clambering through the snow as often we were the first people to have walked that way after the most recent snowfall. At one point, we saw ski tracks. I think it would have been easier to have gone skiing but very few people have cross country skis on hand here. The last time I saw snow like this was when I lived in Lappland, Northern Sweden.....thirty five years ago!
By the time we got home, we were aglow and our hands and feet were tingling in delicious anticipation of the warmth.
Outside, the sun, low on the hills, cast soft pink and purple shadows over the ground, while the direct sun turned the glistening white on the trees into sparkling gold and silver coral reefs. Everything was so different, as if a foreign country had visited itself upon us.
This weather is very unusual...the news today said it is over 30 years since we had anything similar.....but I was in Japan at that time. For me, I remember a winter when I was about 11 or so, 1959 perhaps when it snowed like this. I can't remember if it lasted three weeks or so then though.