Algy thought that perhaps he had absorbed enough salt water and sand for a while. It took him all morning to clean his feathers after his night-time adventure on the beach, so he decided to try a much drier and more sheltered environment for a change. After flying inland for an hour or so, he alighted in an open woodland where the steep slopes were covered in masses of beautiful heather. It was a gorgeous early autumn day, and the air was warm and full of the fragrance of honey. Reclining on a soft bed of heather flowers, Algy laid back and relaxed in the sunshine, idly watching the late bees, and thinking of an old poem that he loved:

High waving heather ‘neath stormy blasts bending,
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars,
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
Man’s spirit away from its drear dungeon sending,
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.

All down the mountain sides wild forests lending
One mighty voice to the life-giving wind,
Rivers their banks in their jubilee rending,
Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,
Wider and deeper their waters extending,
Leaving a desolate desert behind.

Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,
Changing forever from midnight to noon;
Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.

Algy hopes that if your spirits have been trapped in drear dungeons, they will ascend this weekend and you will have a happy, relaxing time xoxo

[Algy is quoting the poem High Waving Heather by the 19th century English writer Emily Brontë.]

Algy has some beautiful Scottish heather for you! He can show you something of what it looks like, but he wishes that he could also send you the fragrance, because the heather smells of honey 🙂

As he perched in the heather bush, inhaling the sweet perfume, Algy thought about the changing seasons. The swallows and sand martins
had already left, and some of the leaves were beginning to turn. It was the autumnal equinox, and from now on the nights would be longer than the days. In this northern land, the days had already shortened dramatically, and before very long the hours of darkness would last from late afternoon until after breakfast-time, and the winter gales would start to batter Algy’s home again. It was time to start collecting dry leaves and flowers to line his nest for the winter!

Algy has his very own rock garden, just a stone’s throw from his
nest. It lies between the cliff face and the sea, and it’s full of
flowers and low shrubby bushes which grow all higgledy-piggledy among
the rocks. It is not much to look at in the cold, dark months, when the Atlantic storms batter the
coast, but in the late summer and very early
autumn it is in its glory, with beautiful ling and bell heather to
tempt the bees and other insects with the fragrance of honey, and many
late-flowering wildflowers, most of them in shades of purple or
creamy-white. Green mosses and ferns grow in the deep, dank hollows
between the rocks, and along the concealed burn which runs down to the
sea there is a large swathe of aromatic bog myrtle. It’s a beautiful
spot, and if the weather should happen to be fine, Algy spends many
happy hours among the flowers in his garden, inhaling the fragrance and
admiring the view.

Algy wishes you all a happy Sunday afternoon and evening  xoxo

The gale had raged for a day and a night, and then calmed down to the normal steady wind that very rarely ceased. Algy looked up at the grey, grey sky, and out across the ocean, towards the horizon. He could see that it was about to be exceedingly wet again; indeed, it looked as though it would probably rain for the rest of the day. Flying up the brae from the beach, Algy paused by a tiny, trickling waterfall. By tomorrow the water would be hurtling down the hillside, dancing and frothing with white foam as it tumbled down to the sea, but at the moment it was trickling as peacefully as could be, as though it did not have a care in the world. It made a gentle, soothing sound as it found its way through the rocks, and Algy was happy to perch on a damp clump of heather, just listening to it while he waited for the rain to start.

Listen to the sound of the tiny trickling waterfall which Algy heard.

West Highland woodlands are very rarely without a supply of fresh running water, so when Algy set out to explore the woods he soon came upon a pretty wee waterfall. Although the late autumn sun was very low in the sky, it still conveyed some slight warmth, so Algy perched for a while on a sunlit branch, to watch the tumbling water and listen to the sounds that it made

Algy had begun to feel that although it was unquestionably exciting and a lot of fun to help his assistant with his crowdfunding campaign, it was also very tiring, and a challenging occupation for a fluffy bird. He longed to be out and about adventuring in the wild places again, so when he noticed that his assistant was fully absorbed in her work, Algy slipped quietly away and flew over to the old oak woods, where everything was peaceful and calm. The hillside woodland was very open, especially now that the trees had shed their leaves for the winter, and among the rocky outcrops there were many banks of deep heather where a weary fluffy bird could find a soft perch. So Algy picked a spot where he could rest comfortably, and for an hour or two – or three – he dozed there happily, pretending that he too was an ancient rock among the woodland heather…

The wind was rapidly growing stronger and a severe gale was forecast for later in the day, so Algy decided to catch up with his reading while he could. He found himself a cosy, sheltered spot on a bank of late-flowering heather, and tried to tuck his head into his book, although the wind had other ideas…

Sitting there in the heather with the wind in his feathers and a gale blowing up, Algy was inevitably reminded of a poem by Emily Brontë:

          High waving heather, ‘neath stormy blasts bending,
          Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
          Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
          Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
          Man’s spirit away from its drear dongeon sending,
          Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.

          All down the mountain sides, wild forest lending
          One mighty voice to the life-giving wind;
          Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,
          Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,
          Wider and deeper their waters extending,
          Leaving a desolate desert behind.

          Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,
          Changing for ever from midnight to noon;
          Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,
          Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
          Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
          Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.

[Algy is quoting the poem High Waving Heather by the 19th century English writer Emily Brontë.]

It was a surprisingly fine September day for the West Highlands, and although a strange white mist hung rather ominously over the ridges in the distance, it felt comfortably warm in the hazy sunshine. Algy decided to spend the afternoon just wandering around the local landscape, admiring the colours of the moorland in all its autumn glory, and sticking his beak into patches of heather to make sure that they smelled of honey. As he inhaled the comforting scent of the tiny flowers in one particular clump, he remembered a much less pleasant afternoon he had spent in that very same spot, on the first day of February this year – and he began to wonder what the coming winter would bring…

As Algy made his way up the burn, the sky clouded over rapidly: he could see that it would be wise to take cover soon, before he got pelted with hailstones or sleet. Algy had now reached a spot where the ground started rising again, and the burn tumbled over wee waterfalls as it carved out deeper channels in the rock. There was green heather here too, which made a welcome change and would provide a nice, soft bed for the night. Algy felt sure that he would be able to find a hiding place for his baubles somewhere amongst the rocks…

On either side of the pass the mountain sides rose up quite steeply, until they vanished into the low clouds which drifted constantly along the ridges. Everything was dripping and soggy from the mist, so Algy perched rather awkwardly in a young birch tree, to avoid soaking his feathers on the wet ground. It wasn’t exactly raining, but then, on the other hand, it wasn’t exactly not raining … “And that’s the West Highland summer for you,” Algy grumbled to himself.

Algy thought of all his friends far away, and particularly of his special Tumblr friend Ted in the USA, who celebrated his 40th birthday a few days ago, and who seems to love the Scottish Highland landscape. Algy sends you a big fluffy hug and late congratulations on your 40th birthday, Ted – and a thousand thanks for all your support and encouragement, and your reblogging of his adventures on the excellent LuxLit 🙂 May you have many, many more happy years ahead, and make many more wonderful images :))