Posted by: christinelaennec | July 23, 2010

Scottish Summer Pleasures

It wouldn’t be entirely truthful to say that every day has been summery lately, but we have had many beautiful warm, sunny days.  I thought I would write a post on some of the things I love about Scottish summers.  Below is a photo (I won’t bore you with the entire series) of a dramatic summer sky over Aberdeen.  The clouds were moving very quickly and it was a dynamic scene.  The rainbow was faintly visible in the strands of falling rain below:

shifting skies over Aberdeen, July 2010

Of course, a distinctive feature of a Scottish summer is the very short summer nights.  We are pretty far north – I believe Aberdeen is at about the same latitude as Sitka, Alaska (but mercifully without the deep-freeze winters). At the summer solstice, the sun sets at about 10:30, but the sky remains light for at least another hour, if the weather’s relatively clear.  I’m not too sure when it rises at the solstice, but I was once able to read by the light coming in the window at 3:30 a.m.

Northern sky, about 10:45 p.m., July 6th 2010

I think Rachel Carson was right when she wrote:  “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” (A Sense of Wonder)

One of my favourite Scottish words is “haar”:  the sea mist that steals in from over the North Sea.  One day recently the Dafter and I were in sunny Stonehaven, but from one of the streets on the hill we could see the haar coming in.  People complain about the haar, but unless it comes to stay for several days, I can appreciate its beauty (as well as its name).  I think it reminds me a bit of the Oregon coast, and San Francisco as well.

Haar creeping inland: Stonehaven, 15 July 2010

And lastly:  berries!  One of the many things I didn’t know about Scotland until I came here is that to the south of Aberdeen – Angus and Perthshire – is prime berry country.  We recently drove down the coast to a berry farm, Charleton Fruit Farm near Montrose.  They sell a huge variety of berries:  loganberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants – and also delicious asparagus (which I realise is not a berry or even a fruit).   Here are some of the strawberries that we brought home:

Strawberries from Charleton farm near Montrose. They were even more delicious than they looked!

Charleton also have a very nice coffee shop and a truly fabulous play area that even the older kids can use.  The Dafter and her Dad had a great time there:

play area at Charleton Fruit Farm

roses outside the coffee shop, Charleton Fruit Farm

If you’re looking for a place to go on a summer’s afternoon, and you’re somewhere near Montrose, Scotland, I recommend it!

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