This weekend sees the passing of the “Winter Solstice” – the astronomical phenomenon which brings the shortest day and the longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest.
Around the world this event is interpreted in a myriad of ways, but many cultures regard it as a time of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
At Loch of the Lowes we will be marking the occasion with our Winter Solstice Family Fun Days. Throughout the weekend there will be a whole host of children’s activities and quizzes highlighting how the darkest days of winter affect wildlife. The event is FREE with all activities provided as part of the normal visitor centre admission charge (£3.50 Adult, £2.50 Concession, £7 Family, Children & SWT members FREE)
It has definitely felt more like winter on the reserve over the past week or so as temperatures dropped and we had the first snowfall. Bird activity at the feeding station has increased significantly and we’ve been seeing large flocks of Siskin & Long-Tailed Tits flitting about in the tree tops beside the hides. We’re still waiting for the first Brambling to arrive; they’re unusually late appearing, perhaps in response to the relatively mild conditions we’ve experienced so far this winter (and in Scandinavia where they come from?). Much to our delight we’re also beginning to get more regular sightings of our red squirrels which have been largely absent over the past couple of months due to a glut of natural food sources (particularly beech mast).
The Visitor Centre is open over the weekends after Christmas and New Year (but not the Fridays) so if you’re wanting to get outdoors for a nature fix after days of overindulging and watching telly then head down to Loch of the Lowes. There’s plenty to see and you’re always guaranteed a warm welcome.