As you've probably guessed, I love a bit of dereliction, and this place is one of my favourite crumbling piles.
I last visited this place in February, before all the greenery shot up, and I had a great time exploring the different outbuildings and photographing the faded glory.
But last night's visit was very different. Plants and trees have grown like mad in the few months since I was there, and most of the building was impossible to get into, unless I'd been prepared to wade through nettles and thistles reaching high above my waist.
But the sun was shining, and I was enjoying my first walk with a friend for a very long time. We chatted non stop as we wandered along paths new to me, full of lovely views, and happy memories for my friend.
We climbed an ancient stone stile after passing the mystical Temple Wood, and she talked about the memories of her children walking this path to the village school every day, and I pictured those magical days of freedom to run in the woods without a care in the world.
Although I didn't grow up in the countryside, I still enjoyed lots of freedom outdoors - to build dens in the woods at the bottom of the lane, and explore overgrown gardens of derelict houses up the road. Mum didn't worry about us being out playing all day, in fact it was what we were expected to do. So different for children growing up today.
Throughout lockdown I've seen families take their young children around the head of the loch, and watched them explore the sandy pools, learning about the local plants and wildlife from their parents. Our Primary School children are fortunate to have a large outdoor play area in the woods, where they've built dens and obstacle courses, and the children are out there in all weathers every week when school's running.
I think about the city children and wonder what they do. Have they been confined to stay within 4 walls all this time? That makes me feel sad. Some of those children will be very glad to be able to go back to school.
Here's an article on just what I've been thinking - https://schoolsweek.co.uk/outdoor-play-is-key-to-reopening-and-recovery/
And here's the latest news on the 'Connect, Communicate, Learn & Thrive Festival', with absolutely loads of interesting things to sign up to online! https://www.sfad.org.uk/connect-communicate-learn-and-thrive-festival
The sun is shining again today, and it's nearly time for the Knitting Bee. Yay!