What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menootanaboot; Forest Bathing

Leaving Tayport in yet more blatter and gale, I was heading for St Andrews. However, I needed to be a bit more sheltered than would be the case there, so I headed a little inland to just outside the village of Strathkinness. There lies a small woodland area which is tended and managed by the local community.

It was early evening before I arrived, but it was still quite busy with dog walkers and ramblers. The Birch trees moaned in the wind, sounding not unlike a distant jet plane. Most folks were wearing wellingtons. Given the lack of appropriate footwear, I opted not to walk that evening!

I slept well and woke a little before the first dog walkers began arriving. A fry-up brekky and a couple of teas later, I got a little blogging done and made a couple of calls, then—on seeing the sunshine appear—hauled out the Rolls-later, donned the jacket and ankle boots, a shawl and beanie, and decided to brave the boggy ground. There was quite a bit of decently firm ground, but where it gave way to the water - it really gave way. Apart from the natural beauty that was to be enjoyed, it turned out there was a bit of history to learn, too. I hope you are able to make out these info boards...

One can observe the continuous wetness of the area by the growth on the tree trunks...

... and the winds of the week had taken a toll... this is the fresh stump of a 60m tall pine...

As I walked, at the boggy bits I mostly had to lift the walker and tip-toe best I could around the edges, though some of those were equally as soggy and fearfully slippy. It was more the slip and slide that worried me than getting up to the ankles in mud. A little after the cairn, though, a lady and her Boxer dog, Dan, came up behind me and offered to assist around the worst bits. She stayed with me until the end of the walk back to the car park. Dan was gorgeous and huggable (no pics; I was too busy trying to keep my feet under me!) She was not a local but used the facility regularly and was familiar with many of the Trust members. In fact, as we got back, two of the Trustees were there doing some work - Tony Wilson, the forestry manager, who was actually there to ring birds. There were 29 Blue and Coal Tits newly counted! - and Bill Donaldson, who had been sawing up some of the fallen timber. Lesley introduced me to them and they were happy to have a blether with me about the woodland and the Trust set-up. I was asking about making a donation, as there was clearly a dedication to the property, and it was, after all, privately owned, albeit by a community as opposed to an individual. 

I had also read the small print on the notice board - and there is a line (which I have marked in red on this photo) that had me wondering.

Now, I had clearly stated to Tony and Bill that I had stayed the previous night and intended one more, which was why I wished to donate, and neither of them batted an eyelid. I also noted on another page beside this one banking details for deposit, so I acted that very afternoon. I sent the deposit confirmation screenprint to the email addy, along with a lengthy note saying I had met these two gents and that I appreciated the tolerance shown for the overnighting. I also sent them a link to the National Funding Initiative, where they can obtain a five-digit texting number through which anyone can make a donation at no cost to the owner of the number. I let them know that Park4Night comments indicate this is a free parking spot without restriction, and no one seems to have noted this line. I suspect the majority of tourists are not going to read community notices! I added my own comment to P4N that there is actually a stated restriction, but sensible parking of not more than three vans and making a donation would certainly be worth consideration. I then put it to the Trust that by using the 70*** number from NFI, even the huge number of dog walkers could contribute, and it would be a win-win all around! (I did get a response a few days later with thanks for the money, and the points were acknowledged and would be discussed.) On both nights, I was joined by other vans, two the first night and three the second night. That was a potential £25 income opportunity for the trust (I had given a fiver for each night - there are no facilities other than a rubbish bin - toilets would have upped the ante).

Anyway, I had a lovely stay, albeit very damp and extremely gusty. Another one to revisit at different times of the year. 

Sunday morning dawned reasonably dry, but that wind—oh, that wind—I had to move on, and to St Andrews it was. That's for Thursday's post!


  1. There are several well-run community run woodland areas in Aberdeenshire - excellent places for walking dogs and appreciating nature. Several are ex-Forestry Commission plantations which volunteers are working hard to transform to more biodiverse habitats. All well worth supporting.
    Cheers, Gail.

  2. Well done for coordinating..it is a lovely spot but needs to be appreciated and cared for by all

  3. I may wondering how old that sign is and/or maybe they put the line in for a just in case some trouble maker is camping there, they can point to the sign and evict them easier. this a beautiful spot to camp for sure. the photo of the view through those beautiful trees that has the monument signs is my favorite. I love that view through the trees. would love to me Dan the Boxer

  4. Sounds a bit gruesome dismembering bodies and taking bits and pieces (hand and heads) off to other places. What would be the point of that?
    I’m appreciating you taking us along on your ‘fact finding- sight seeing trip of knowledge’ - it’s like a trip of a life time for us in other ‘worlds’ who will never get to see yours

  5. Hello,
    Look like a beautiful spot for a walk, except for the wet muddy areas. I have come across some well behaved and friendly boxers like Dan. I would have enjoyed watching the bird ringers. Take care, enjoy your day and have a happy week ahead.

  6. I am totally enamoured of the picture of the disintegrating log, aided by countless other organisms, returning its nutrients back to the soil, in the timeless cycle of death and rebirth. Such a classic shot, YAM.

  7. YAM gorgeous photos and oh how happy I am to read all about your trek I know how very very much you enjoy traveling.
    You are seeing so many wonderful places. The 3rd photo peeping thru the branches was very picturesque. If Bishop's Woods is really serious about no overnight camping they need to have visible signs in the area. As you stated, most folks do not read fine print.
    Hugs Cecilia

  8. Great post, Loved this series of pics. Stay well. Greetings.

  9. It's beautiful but it does look damp and wet.

  10. You are clearly going to need to invest in taller boots, and a 'mudbox' for putting them in inside your van. It certainly does look grim and damp in those photos - great nature place but a tough place to live for any length of time of that was the regular climatic conditions.

  11. I am loving all the history through your journeys!!!

  12. We loved following you down the muddy trails and keeping our fingers crossed you did not fall or get mired in the mud. Thanks for sharing another adventurous day.

  13. What a lovely place for a park up. You always seem to find such nice people wherever you go.

  14. It looks like a lovely place to park and it's nice they let you stay a few nights even with the notice. I hope they do change it and put up a donation box. Or whatever they do these days.

  15. I am enjoying your adventures. YOu are learning so much. A keen advocate. You are amazing.


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