A 12-hour coach journey marked the start of my long-awaited holiday to Scotland, staying at the loch-side town of Arrochar. On the way we stopped at Gretna Green, which to me seemed rather like Wroxham Barns only with every other shop selling shortbread. We had a chance to have a quick walk around Loch Long in the evening, where I picked out 3 Hooded Crows foraging on the strandline.
Day 2 began with a cruise on Loch Lomond. For such a large body of water, there were naff-all birds. Three pairs of Canada Geese, a few Mallard and an island of Lesser Black Backs was it from the boat. Driving round the edge a pair of Goosander at least hinted that there were birds, albeit hidden ones. It was a similar story at Loch Awe - birdless. In the evening a mountain-side walk was good for common small birds, until we reached a stream with a Grey Wagtail and two Dippers, which we watched bob up and down for a while.
Day 3 was my most anticipated day. Driving over the Rest And Be Thankful mountain pass, 2 Ravens made a welcome change from Buzzards. Along the side of a coastal loch we saw our first Eider, and an adult Yellow-Legged Gull before the ferry to Bute. Incidentally, the 3 minute crossing costs £88 per car or £174 per coach if you fancy going. Once you're there you can see the town of Rothesay, and Mount Stuart house. And that's it. It wasn't that bad, and in Rothesay harbour I found my first ever Black Guillemots. I couldn't believe how small they were, having presumed that they were the same size as Guillemots and being surprised to see a bird about the size of a pigeon!
Day 4 was a foggy trip to Edinburgh, with just enough time to have a look around Edinburgh Castle, and visit Royal Mile Whisky Shop, ironically because it's one of the best places to buy Real Ale in the city.
Day 5 and another 12-hour coach journey back to Norwich.
I'm glad to see not much has turned up in Norfolk whilst I've been on a (rare) excursion out of the county, although it looks like I've missed the chance of Brent Goose on my Whitlingham list!
Species list (including AGP/PGP) now 170 species.