Sunday 5 July 2020

Summer Nature Watch

One of the joys of Balintore's location is being able to observe the change in fauna and flora with the seasons. The foxgloves this year are not quite as spectacular as last year, but I always take delight in the "sports" which are not the standard purple. Below is a hasty arrangement of a white spike, a pink spike and a standard purple one.

tri-coloured foxglove display

This year I have been suffering from marauding sheep more than ever before. These are sheep that come from neighbouring fields and munch on Balintore's grass. Who can blame them? I don't do any lawn mowing myself, so their attentions are almost welcome except when they rip up my few plants.

Today, I had my first ever marauding cows: two calves who thought the grass was greener at Balintore and just went for it. Calves can clearly slip through fences much more easily than adult cows, and I would be very surprised indeed to see a full-sized cow at Balintore.

Greg and Gregor spotted a brood of wildcats in a hidey-hole within the castle grounds: a mother and three tiny kittens. At one stage, apparently, the mother was carrying one of the kittens. I was called over, and despite crawling on my hands and knees in the locale, did not spot them. Anyhow, we were all totally delighted. I am not a (domestic) cat lover, but a brood of wildcats in your garden is pretty special.

I was just about to do my food shopping, when I spotted some vegetation on top of one of my vehicle's tyres. My previous food shop has been over 3 weeks ago due to covid. "Typical," I thought, "trust me to pick up some grunge on my tyres.". I pulled out the vegetation, and to my surprise I found myself with a bird's nest in my clutches with a very annoyed blackbird sitting in it. She looked at me, emitted a loud cheep, and flew off. Underneath was a clutch of 4 beautiful blue eggs:

4 blackbird eggs in a nest

I was bowled over by the perfection of the round form of the nest. This was the first time in my life I had held an occupied one. At Balintore, nature comes to you.


  1. yesterday trip to Balintore had confusing information about the state and property of the castle.
    the way there was wonderful, it took a long time to contemplate the landscape and not to run over the hundreds of bunnies that were crossing the road.
    until you see the impressive castle at the top of the hill.
    suddenly I looked and saw how a chimney was smoking and understood that it was not abandoned ..
    I finally reached the road and the sign warning that it was a private road confirmed it for me.
    So come home and search for recent information until you find your blog.
    It seems to me an incredible work and a project that I am not going to deceive you, between daring and romantic that still arouses more my interest.
    would there be any way I could contact via e. mail with you.
    Thank you

    1. Hello Salomé,

      The castle is described as "derelict" on Google maps and I have tried to change it a number of times to "under restoration". These suggestions were all rejected.

      Your message prompted me to have another go, and this time the suggestion was accepted. :-)

      You can find me as MrBalintore on Facebook, and this will allow us to communicate.

  2. As I drove doing my deliveries as a courier last week. I delivered to a cottage in that area, the first time I’d ever been along the that winding track, the views were stunning. Then, turning yet another bend in the road emerged this giant breathtaking sight! I had to stop the van and stare. I had no idea what I was looking at. I didn’t see any signs for it. When i finally got 4G again later that day I had to retrace my route on the map to find it again. And even then it wasn’t stamped or acknowledged on google satellite map images. I only found the name when I dropped a pin on the map. Now I’m reading up and watching videos. But this all just added to the mystery for me. I’m fascinated.

  3. Delighted you have been drawn-in by Balintore! Come and visit.

    1. Can we visit the grounds anytime, or by appointment only?

  4. "At Balintore, nature comes to you."
    What a lovely phrase.