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Binscarth Wood On An Autumn Day

By Bernie Bell

Pics by B&M Bell

Binscarth Wood, near Finstown, is a good place to walk at any time of year.  It’s particularly appealing now, when there is still a lot of greenery, though the leaves are turning and falling, and there is a feel of autumn in the air.

“Leaves are falling, all around, time I was on my way……… “ –  Ramble On – Led Zeppelin

Binscarth Woods Autumn Bell

As we wandered up the track, we started to see some fungi, and ferns – some big, some small …………….

And, of course, trees – interesting shapes, with light coming through the leaves and branches…..

In the wall, along the way, I noticed an old-fashioned stile, with the last of the years pink purslane, flowering…

Binscarth Woods Autumn purslane Bell

At the top of the main track which runs alongside the wood, there is what used to be a kissing-gate, but –  ‘as man proposes, nature disposes’ – the tree has grown across and through the gate, so – NO KISSING!  You have to go through the main gate instead.  You could kiss anyway, if so inclined!

And this is where you might notice the first of the St. Magnus Way https://www.stmagnusway.com/  signs, on one of the gate posts…..

Binscarth Woods Autumn St Magnus Way Bell

You will now find yourself on an tarmacked roadway, which you follow up hill.  Along the way, you might notice the strangely twisted branch on this tree…..

Binscarth Woods Autumn trees Bell

I wonder how that happened?  Did honeysuckle grow round  it, compressing it into those twirling lines, then died back, leaving its mark on the branch? Or, as Mike suggested, was it something to do with how the wind catches that branch, twisting and turning it?  Do Orkney News readers have any ideas?

Just before this road curves to the right, you will see a small track going straight ahead, marked by the second of the St Magnus markers.

Binscarth Woods Autumn St Magnus Way Bell

Walking along this track, if you look up to your right, you can see a small cairn, peeking through furze bushes, on the side of the hill.  As far as I know, this cairn doesn’t have a name – I don’t know  if it’s even been excavated  – there are so many cairns on Orkney, the archaeologists can’t get round to them all!

Binscarth Woods Autumn cairn Bell

We got as far as the gate onto the track which runs along by the Loch of Wasdale, but, by this time, driving rain had started, so we turned back. It is, however, possible to walk right along by the loch, to Refuge Corner, and beyond, if you wish.  Refuge Corner has an interesting tale  ………….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/02/10/living-in-a-box-then-and-now/

Walking back down the main track alongside the wood, looking over the wall, we saw an excellent ‘den’, with its Guardian Gargoyle –

And finally, to round  off our autumn walk, more fungi, on fallen trees…….

3 replies »

  1. Ooops – that should read ‘an un-tarmac-ed roadway’ – though I’m not even sure if there is such a word, as un-tarmac-ed – you know what I mean – a bit tidier than an earth-track, not as tidy as tarmac!

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