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It was with a distinct pang of regret that I left the Grant Arms Hotel after breakfast on Wednesday, 16th June. As during my previous stay in June 2019, I had felt so well looked after. For anyone who would like a holiday in the Cairngorms – not just for wildlife purposes – I cannot recommend it highly enough.

But it was time to make my way southwards. Indeed, I needed to descend (map-wise that is) through Scotland rather more speedily than I had travelled on my way ‘up’, as I wanted to spend a couple of hours at RSPB Loch Leven, given that it was so near to Kinross Services. So I took the faster A9 road, and stopped for no photos, much as I would have liked to. As the previous week, I plugged Steve Richards’s latest podcast into my ears, having downloaded it at the hotel, and was pleased to find that he had taken, not for the first time, one of my comments or questions to respond to. Moreover, he had mentioned my journey northwards. (And the following week he did the same again, this time referring to my journey southwards. He enjoys including personal references to his listeners who contact him.)

After stocking up on fuel and food provisions at Kinross Services, I made my way to Loch Leven, and spent a couple of hours there, in three hides, each quite close to the others. As I moved to, between, and from the hides, I enjoyed looking at the the wildflower meadows as much as I did at the birds.

Mainly greylag geese
Viper’s bugloss

Way in the distance I spotted one of my favourite birds, a lapwing, aka peewit from its call.

And then I noticed one ferreting around much closer to the hide.

It stayed quite a while. I moved to the next hide. As with the others, I had it to myself.

Two adult and two coot chicks
Mainly tufted ducks
Little grebe, aka dabchick
Dabchick with ?fish

There were several artificial ‘islands’ where birds could nest safely.

I took a final picture as I made my way back to my car afters two hours. I needed to move on.

Another enjoyable crossing via the Queensferry Bridge, though in rather faster moving traffic this time, and then I disobeyed my satnav’s instruction to avoid Edinburgh by using on the motorways surrounding the city to the south, and went instead across the top, parallel to the Forth, though sadly not actually seeing much of it. I had only visited Edinburgh once before, on a management course some 50 years previous (!) and I was pleased to see a little of it as I drove through in the very slow, sometimes stationary, traffic.

It was a lovely, but by now tiring, drive further along the Forth/North Sea coastline to Berwick-on-Tweed, where I was very happy to flop for the rest of the evening in my pre-booked B’n’B. It always amuses me when places give you a key to the front door, ‘for if you come in after 11 o’clock’. I wasn’t going anywhere after such a long day!