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Glenshee Photograph Scotland

Glen Shee, Scotland. 10x8 Photograph (25x20cm) Glen Shee, Tayside from Robert Harding.

Having passed Bridge of Cally, North of Blairgowrie, the ascent of Glen Shee towards Braemar and Deeside begins. After a few miles the trees become less abundant and the arable land of the lower part of the glen gives way to heathery moors and mountainous country. At about seven miles from Bridge of Cally the road rises to a height of 1,000 feet above sea level. Beyond this an area of really bleak and high mountains is entered, a great contrast to the pastoral country at the lower end of the glen.


By the time the Spital of Glenshee (Spital, from the Gaelic Spideal, a hostel) is reached the road elevation is approaching 2,000 feet above sea level. Up here the air is very invigorating and ptarmigan can sometimes be seen from the road. Spending most of their life at a height of at least 2,000 feet it is seldom they are observed below this level. They are indeed hardy birds of the wild moun-
tains of the Highlands. Apart from great hunger or a
terrific blizzard, and the latter often occurs on the
mountains here, there is no force that can drive the
ptarmigan down to the sheltered parts of the glens.
Their summer plumage is mottled brown gradually
changing to nearly all white in winter as a protection
against predators whilst they move over the snow
covered hills. Female ptarmigan are sometimes known
to use a display of injury feigning to distract predators
from their eggs and chicks.

Glen Shee (Gleann Sith, the Fairy Glen), has a strong tradition of the Fingalians whose fighting capacity and exploits of adventurous courage are still spoken of in Highland history. Their period of time is generally supposed to have been the fourth century. It is said the Fingalian warriors hunted the wild boar when it roamed in upper Glen Shee and to this day are places bearing names associated with the huntings: a certain small loch is called Loch an Tuirc, the Boar’s loch, Tobar nam Fiann, Well of the Fingalians, etc.

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