Up Knock Hill

May 28, 2017

Earlier this month, when the famously fickle Scottish weather granted us a few days of unfettered sunshine, [m] and I took the opportunity for a Sunday trip to Largs. Located on the west coast of Scotland, or more precisely, on the Firth of Clyde, Largs is just an hour by train from Glasgow, making it an ideal destination for a day trip.

The seafront is dominated by two large Gothic Revival churches from the Victorian era. Other notable buildings include Skelmorlie Aisle, an early-17th-century mausoleum with a fine painted ceiling, and Nardini’s, allegedly Scotland’s most famous ice cream parlour, still housed in its original Art Deco structure dating to the 1930s – a testimony to Largs’ long history as a seaside resort.

On this occasion, however, we didn’t pay too much attention to any of these attractions, but simply walked along the seaside promenade and then headed straight for the hills north of the town. The first part of our walk took us through pleasant farmland. As we passed close by several farms, we also encountered all kinds of farmyard animals, both large and small…

 

As you’d expect in Scotland, though, most of the animals we saw were sheep…

… and, given the time of year, not just sheep, but lots and lots of lambs, teetering and frolicking in the meadows.

But lambs weren’t the only ubiquitous thing typical for the season: Wherever we went, the hills and hedges were covered in yellow broom which turned the landscape into an almost surreally colourful spectacle.

The effect became even more surrealistic as we walked further uphill and the vegetation changed into a grassy moorland.

Eventually, as we ascended Knock Hill, the highest elevation in the area, even the broom disappeared, and we found ourselves wandering through barren moor.

Knock Hill offers great views across the surrounding countryside and over the Firth of Clyde…

… all the way to the isles of Bute and Arran…

… and back down towards Largs.

It is said that the top of Knock Hill consists of the earthworks of an iron age fort. Whatever their origins, the rock formations up there provided a welcome shelter from the wind and, consequently, a lovely place for a picnic with a view.

Eventually, we made our way back towards Largs, albeit on a different route – part of the Ayrshire Coastal Path – closer to the sea.

The general character of the landscape didn’t change that much: We were treated to more views across the Firth of Clyde…

… more rolling hills, more yellow broom…

… and, of course, more sheep. Not that we minded. As the saying goes, you can never have too much of a good thing, can you?

Largs, too, looked every bit as lovely as in the morning, only a bit brighter and sharper in the late afternoon light.

As it turned out, it had also become a lot more crowded. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who had opted for a Sunday trip to the seaside, and the seafront promenade was buzzing with people. So, for all of Largs’ attractions, we couldn’t help thinking that heading for the quiet of the hills had been the right decision after all…

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The view from my writing desk is stunning this morning, with all the trees in full bloom, and the sun shining in a glorious blue sky. This will hopefully make for a productive day of PhD writing, interrupted by a stroll through the park and a nice brunch with [c], to make the most of this lovely Scottish spring day.

Some of you may have noticed that with the thesis submission now seriously looming [160 days, to be precise], I’ve returned to knitting as my favourite tool of procrastination and therapy. So, here I present you another project complete:

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Pattern: Fort Grey by Fiona Alice
Yarn: The Uncommon Thread Tough Sock [colour: Confetti]
Needles: 2.25mm
[More project details on Ravelry]

I think this is the most entertaining sock project I’ve ever knitted, with so much going on at every corner: a Turkish Cast-On and a Stretchy Bind-Off, purl stitches, knitting stitches, slipped stitches and some serious cabling all helped me to keep the writing panic at bay, and to get my creative thinking going.

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