Tuesday 4 December 2012

NCR Snow Snow Snow and Edinburgh Botanics

Growing up in Australia where it is an effort to "go to the snow" (ie the mountains where it snows in winter), I have always loved snow in Scotland.  So this morning I was delighted to wake up and find it had been snowing.  Below is what I saw out our window.  There wasn't much snow lying.  Probably just as well.  Sigh!  I love the thought of looking out over a scene blanketed in peaceful white snow but I know it is just not very practical.

We had planned to visit Edinburgh Botanic Gardens so once we attempted to organise ourselves.  Actually we didn't do brilliantly.  We just missed the bus that took us there directly, regretted not taking a blanket for Sylvia's legs in the stroller and found that I had taken a hat instead of a scarf for my neck.

We took a bus that dropped us off in Raeburn Place in Stockbridge instead.  It meant a visit to a charity shop first.  They really know how to do a charming Christmas display in Scotland.

Then we walked past a park where the poor birds were tentatively walking along the frozen pond.  I was worried we might see one fall through the ice as it seemed quite thin in places.  You can see the tracks of the birds along the ice.  We also admired the clear view of Edinburgh Castle.

Once we arrived in the Botanics, Sylvia was out of her stroller and very excited to stand in the ice.  We were pleased she wore her new gumboots.  I don't think her mary jane shoes would have survived very well in the snow.  Of course, as those of you who understand snow might have guessed, it was just a pile of snow in the corner of a path.  Yet for a little girl who has never seen snow, it was very exciting.

We had lunch at the Terrace Cafe.  I wrote a  post about the Botanic Gardens when we visited in 2009, so I wont go into great detail about the gardens.  E seemed less happy about the cafe and his haggis this visit.  I really enjoyed my root vegetable and mull of kintyre cheese bake, though with a cheese scone it was too filling to finish.  (As with last time, the cheese scone was not the best of the trip.)

I really liked the offerings for kids.  They had lots of little things to choose from.  Sylvia had cheese wotsits (like cheezels), a piece of cheese, apple juice, jelly and pineapple chunks.  It is one of the best places we have been for kids food.  So much on children's menus is just a small serving of adults food.  The Terrace Cafe did kids style food really well.

After lunch we wandered down the path towards the gate past the huge old trees.  The Botanic Gardens are truly beautiful with amazing twisted branches and views of Edinburgh Castle and Salisbury Crags.

Most memorable of all on this visit was the wildlife.  We watched the antics of a few squirrels.  They dart across the paths so quickly but if you spy one at the bottom of a tree they are entertaining the watch.

We stopped to look at the ducks in the pond.  While we were watching them we saw a robin red breast.  It darted about with its red breast glowing in the wintery landscape.  I was very pleased to snap a photo of the robin in the snow (at the top of the post).

I am sending it to Jacqueline for the Festive Photos edition of No Croutons Required.  It is a hard decision because there are so many wonderful festive sights on our Edinburgh travels.  But the robin in the snow is such a traditional Christmas image and it is so rare to be able to photograph one that I have chosen this one.

We passed more snow as we walked through the gardens.  Not heaps of snow, but enough to enjoy without it making it hard to drive a stroller along the paths.
Last time we visited these gardens, Sylvia was a little baby who sat placidly in her stroller with the plastic cover over her to keep her warm.  This time Sylvia was in and out of her chair and her gumboots fell off more times than I care to count.  It made for slow-going but she enjoyed herself thoroughly.  She did feel the cold, the skies threatened rain and we had arranged to meet the lovely Shauna (more about that later).  So it wasn't a long visit but we will remember it for a long time to come.


  1. Your photos are so beautiful Johanna - are the bird ones with your new lens? They are fantastic. I'd like that top one on a Christmas card.

    In Western Australia I'd say it's near impossible to get to snow, rather than just an effort, so I relate to Sylvia's enthusiasm in her gumboots :) The few times I've experienced snow in England I was akin to a 5 year old myself (once with a bad ending when I slid down a hill at Dover castle in a very ungainly way, to the amusement of my entire extended family!).

  2. Some beautiful photos. I love the quiet peacful whitness of freshly fallen snow too. None here yet in Sheffield, although its threatening

  3. The botanical gardens here is nowhere near this pretty in the winter!

  4. I love the robin - so gorgeous! I have never seen one in real life.

  5. Love the top photo and the squirrel is very cute too! Would you believe it's been snowing in parts of the Victorian Alps over the last couple of days? The weather can't make up its mind, one day it's extreme heat and then it's freezing again!


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