Heading Towards Winter Solstice

Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre will be open as usual next week-end, Friday (18th Dec) and Saturday and Sunday. Make sure to stock up on bird seed for your feathered friends and check out our array of cards, calendars and gifts for all ages.

Due to Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and 2nd January 2021 falling on Fridays and Saturdays, the following week-ends we will only be open Sunday 27th Dec and Sunday January 3rd. Why not pop up for some safe, warm, winter wildlife watching, with birds and red squirrels to entertain you in the feeding station and on the loch (from the Hides), hot drinks are available and quizzes for children.

Across Perthshire, we’ve reached that time of year when it’s dark by four o’clock in the afternoon. Birds and squirrels disappear from the feeding station shortly after sunset, 15:35 on 13th Dec, having eaten their fill during the 6 hours 55 mins of daylight. The days continue to grow shorter until midwinter 21st Dec (Winter Solstice) when there’s only 6 hours and 52 minutes of daylight – then our daylight increases again! (photo by Johannes-Plenio- unsplash)

The good news is, by 25th Dec, Christmas Day, we’ve gained a whole minute more! Hours of daylight are vitally important to nature and as the gradual lightening of this northern region of the planet expands, it signals the start of another growing season to bulbs, plants, insects and animals.

Winter 2020 and 1920

I heard someone say, ‘we’ve never been through anything like this before’, but, yes, we have.

There are similarities to the unusual restrictions and worries we have today due to the pandemic and those our great grandparents experienced one hundred years ago (okay, 101 years ago to be exact). Between 1918-1920, the Spanish flu pandemic raged around the globe before drawing to a close in the spring of 1920. It infected over 500 million people and killed over 50 million (some figures are as high as 100 million deaths). The virus hit when the First World War ended and the speed of its spread is thought to have been exacerbated by soldiers returning home at the end of their service.

Like today’s pandemic, the Spanish Flu’ virus was extremely contagious.  Everybody was urged to wear a mask but (without lockdowns) the hospitals filled up rapidly, tragically becoming unable to cope. Theatres, churches, cinemas and dance halls were closed, with everyone trying to keep apart for fear of becoming infected. There were no antibiotics at that time to fight pneumonia and no vaccine was discovered.

Grateful to have the horrors of war behind them, those who were not ill made the most of the festive period within their household. In those days, there was no TV, Netflix, video games or zooms and hardly any households had telephones.

Roll on one hundred (and 1) years and, mercifully, we are not emerging from a devastating world war but we are living through another pandemic with 1.4 million deaths worldwide to date. In 1920, the UK population was 44 million, today it is half again, standing at 68 million. Science and technology have come a long way with antibiotics and other incredible, life-saving interventions.  Laboratories across the world have pulled together to create not one but several vaccines to give light at the end of the tunnel.

Humans are clever and resourceful, especially when our lives are at stake and the next great threat to life is climate change.

For decades, scientists have been working quietly behind the scenes to invent ways to decrease the damage we inflict on the planet, reduce our carbon emissions, and yet continue to provide sufficient energy and food.  The growing demand for action on environmental conservation is being heard, thousands of projects are beginning to show fantastic breakthroughs.

We’ll share a sample of these brilliant inventions next week – positive news for 2021 and beyond!


Cherry Bowen






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Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre will be open as usual next week-end, Friday (18th Dec) and Saturday and Sunday. Make sure to stock up on bird seed for your …

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