The change of seasons brings a reminder that nature will pursue her cycle of newness, growth, seed setting and dormancy despite everything we throw at her, either intentionally or through human carelessness.

This year, summer as we know it didn’t happen. Children didn’t attend end of term parties and proms, families didn’t take their summer holidays, visits to Grandma & Grandad were cancelled, and even barbecues and get togethers were stymied, by the big black cloud of Covid, hanging over the world.  Yet still the trees grew, the crops formed, the new grass fed the animals and the earth kept turning.

So here we are, clocks a changing, nights coming earlier and leaves falling like rust from underneath my first car, with perhaps several more months of limited social lives ahead of us. 

Tempting as it may be to hibernate until it’s all over, we have to find new ways of getting our happiness buckets refilled, and maybe the natural world is where we’ll find them.

Autumnal trees
Autumn Trees

Fortunately, in Scotland our natural world has a wealth of wonders in every season.  No-one ever came here for a suntan, and our scenery is always spectacular whether in sunshine or on stormy days.  The wilder the storm, the brighter the rainbow after all! 

So, let’s set our sights on what we CAN do, what IS open, and what WONDERFUL experiences we can gather over the next few months.

Summer holidays might have been in short supply, but what’s to stop you having a couple of wee ‘chill breaks’ during the winter and early spring? Travelling as a couple or a family is generally possible, and the simplicity of shorter, low key breaks means less pressure and the associated stresses of complex arrangements. Even if the restrictions are tightened, these trips aren’t planned weeks ahead, so there’s usually some wriggle room built in.

And guess what?  We have some great ideas for you!

Let’s start off with a series covering the Clyde Islands of Cumbrae, Arran and Bute. Three very different islands, offering a world of experiences, and each with one great thing in common: yes, they all have a wonderful Scottish Gin to explore!

So, why not book a winter trip to one or more of these islands, or better still, book it as a gift! What could be lovelier in a loved one’s Christmas Stocking!