Today was the moment I’ve been waiting for these long months past. High up on the breathless slopes above Dunscore, two curlews rose out of the blue frost and let the updraught of the Cairn Valley get under their wings. Whining with all their baleful, gloomy glory, they flashed their white rumps and paidled out into the stillness.
I had headed up for a walk when I woke to find the day had dawned as clear and as crystalline as blade of ice, and the Heights of Stroquhan have been on my list as a possible venue for black grouse observation. Although there were no grouse seen or heard on this walk, which covered three miles of forest and bog, it was a total joy to move through such beautiful marginal ground of the kind to make your heart leap in your mouth with every fresh horizon. As the sun rose and blasted the delicate frost into clouds of mist, the sweaty vapour hung above the trees until it was finally burnt away altogether.
Now that the guests are arriving, Spring is really underway.