Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Mythical beasts

Well that was a busy Bank Holiday weekend! We had my parents staying with us, which is always a good excuse to be tourists without actually going on holiday. We were even blessed with sunshine for the weekend, which has been a bit of a rarity this summer🌞
We didn't go far at all on Saturday - after a quick trip to asda for picnic provisions we drove over to Tayport where the RSPB were running an event to mark  the 10th anniversary of the introduction of sea eagles to the area. We had a bit of a wander around the harbour where we saw some wading birds, and a cormorant catching the sun.

I suspect this seagull had it's eye on our ham salad wraps....

From there we headed to the promenade to join the 'wildlife wander'. We didn't see any Sea Eagles, but the RSPB staff pointed out a variety of bird life on the sandbanks, including godwits, oystercatchers, a couple of herons and most exciting of all an osprey catching a fish! I've cycled through Tayport a few times, never realising the variety of wildlife I was probably passing. I still can't quite believe I got to see an osprey so close to home!
I knew there were to be talks by RSPB staff and volunteers but hadn't realised there'd also be 'dignitaries' in attendance, local MSPs Willie Rennie and Mark Ruskell, who is the species champion for the white tailed eagle at Holyrood. This is an interesting (and award winning) scheme linking MSPs with endangered species of plants and animals.

 From where we were standing it looking like it was raining pretty heavily over Angus, but the rain never made it to Tayport.
By evening it had clouded over, but was still dry, so we walked into town for dinner at The Bach. We were lucky to get a table - we only got one because a group with a booking hadn't turned up, which is frankly their loss. The menu's changed slightly since we last had dinner there, to a more tapas style approach, which works pretty well.
I went with a pulled lamb khobez and the vegetable tagine, both of which I'd recommend. The menu suggests two or three plates per person - I'd suggest sticking with two if you want a dessert. I went with the affogato since this is a pretty coffee obsessed place!

From there it was on to (sshh!) the secret bar to introduce my parents to the combined joys of prohibition era Swing music and deadly cocktails.....

The barman seemed pretty excited at dad's choice - turns out it's his own recipe and has so far got him to the regional heats of a national competition, so assuming we followed the instructions on the card correctly we may have helped him on his way to the final in London, so good luck Dimitrios!
We'd sort of planned to walk home but in a stroke of good fortune we managed to pretty much walk out of the bar and on to a bus home - bonus!

Sunday was shaping up to be another nice day, so after a lazy breakfast we headed off to Falkirk to see the Kelpies.  We've passed them on the road before but never visited so didn't really know if it would fill an afternoon, but with the Falkirk Wheel and Callendar House as back up we were confident we could keep busy. We parked at Falkirk football stadium as recommended by the Kelpies website, and took advantage of the stadium cafe to grab lunch before heading through the Helix park to the Kelpies. You may have seen pictures of the Kelpies, or even seen the maquettes that tour around, but nothing quite prepares you for the scale of them.

It might seem odd paying for a tour of a sculpture, but it was well worth it to get a view from inside Duke, the head down Kelpie. There were only 5 of us in our group, and I think the guide was more used to large groups, including children, but we all sort of went along with it!

And this is what you have to do to fully appreciate the space....
After coffee and cake, we wandered along the canal, and watched a boat going through a lock before heading back to the car.

It was getting on a bit by this time, but it would have been a shame not to see the Falkirk Wheel at all.  We arrived just before closing time, and in a great bit of timing, just in time to see the last turn of the day.

It really is a remarkable feat of engineering, as impressive as the canals it joins. From there it was home for a late dinner of paella - any excuse to get the big paella pan out!
Not very authentic - apparently Spaniards would never put chorizo in a paella, but I always do!
So a very enjoyable weekend all round, and now for a week off, which means my next post will probably involve tales of decorating the kitchen.....
Oh, the mythical beasts are the Kelpies incidentally, which eat people in case you wondered 😲

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