Friday, December 25, 2009

Isle of Bute: Rothesay Winter Gardens

When I began this blog I thought the Winter Gardens was the name given to the formal gardens alongside the Esplanade in Rothesay. I've now found out that it's actually the Grade A listed building in my photos below. Built in 1924, many famous music hall entertainers performed here. Redeveloped in the 1990s, it's now called The Discovery Centre, housing the tourist information office and shop, a 90-seat theatre/cinema, and restaurant.

The surrounding gardens are very attractive and well looked after.

The statue of Alexander Bannatyne Stewart (1836-1880), Convenor of Bute. He gave thousands of pounds of his own money to charities on the island and cultivated flowers at his house, Ascog Hall, growing superb varieties of orchids.

The statue is in a bit of a mess but there's not much that can be done to stop seagulls from standing on his head!

This one was drinking water from a hole on the putting green - I just missed a better photo when his whole head disappeared down the hole!

The Rothesay coat of arms on a post near the Winter Gardens

Friday, December 18, 2009

Isle of Bute: Ettrick Bay

Another beautiful bay, perhaps the most beautiful on Bute, 3 miles west of Rothesay on the opposite coastline.

A stranded kite

Below is the Ettrick Bay Tearoom which had actually just closed when we arrived, to our disappointment, it being quite late in the day. However, the owner, Alex Gibson, who was inside baking amazingly large lemon meringue pies, actually opened up to allow us some welcome coffee and cakes, which we appreciated very much. There is a photo of him on the tearoom website here. (Next time we are on Bute we will come here for lunch because the food is renowned and Alex is an experienced and excellent cook. The menu was very enticing!)

Geoffrey enjoying his coffee. This was just before our smiles vanished as I lost my car keys and we were sure I'd locked them in the boot of the car. It was very kind of Alex to help us search for them - they were found eventually after I went back and forth between the car and the cafe several times. What a carry on!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Isle of Bute: Kilchattan Bay

We had a short but delightful visit to this deserted bay, just two and a half miles from the southernmost part of the island. My photos were taken at the very end of the narrow coast road, near the bus turning area and the shingle beach.

View across the water

The colours of the rocks and pebbles are beautiful, particularly the red sandstone (I brought back a small piece!) There was a lot of different insect life close to the shore.

A Rosy Rustic Moth (Hydraecia micacea)

I was actually holding the ragwort stem quite close to the flower head, to stop it waving about in the breeze, but the moth didn't seem to mind!

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)

Very pretty butterfly but harder to photograph than the moth. As always, I could have done with extra time to take more photos!