Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Magnificent March weather

The past week we have experienced really beautiful weather along with the rest of the UK. We have taken full advantage of the balmy temperatures almost at 20C and relaxed on the nearby beach gazing out over Loch Ness. There have been a few yachts gliding along on the calm water and the RIB was full up on Sunday and ready for business until October. 
The clear blue cloudless days have of course produced clear nights full of stars. The planets of Venus [at the top] and smaller Jupiter are clearly visible now in the night sky along with the quarter moon. 
Today we went up to Aspenwood to clean and recoat the picnic table in the open plan garden area and also to prune back the purple buddliea bush. All this is very thirsty work and the residents of the forest were keeping a good eye on our handywork.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trip to Fort Augustus.

Yesterday dawned with a frost on the grass and a clear blue sky so we escaped over the mountains to Fort Augustus. Parked at the top where we could see a great panoramic view looking towards Inverness with Loch Knockie to the left and Loch Mhor in the far distance to the right. Drove down passing Loch Tarff to the village of Fort Augustus which is situated at one end of Loch Ness. This is where the Caledonian Canal enables boating craft to gain access from Loch Ness to Loch Oich and travel the length of The Great Glen. 
Fort Augustus had very few visitors at this time of year and we almost had it to ourselves. There were no boats using the lock gates yet although they will start to appear at Easter.
Enjoy the slide show........

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Litter Pick Up.

Every year, just before Easter when the visitors start to arrive in the Highlands thick and fast, the South Loch Ness Tourist Group organise a 'Litter Pick Up'. This morning, as members of this group, we did our contribution and walked along the top road from the turning circle at Inverfarigaig passing Boleskine House and graveyard to Foyers Lodge and then back home along the lower forest track, a round distance of about 5 miles.
We were armed with our own litterpickers, thick black sacks and sturdy gloves and eventually filled four sacks full of various types of rubbish strewn along the roadside verges and mostly thrown from passing cars although some was just too heavy to carry.
As we walked slowly along keeping a good look out for any debris the sun shone and the birds were joyfully singing. Certain plants were in bloom earlier than usual and the highlight was to see a red squirrel in a tree at Foyers Lodge captured in the sunlight.

Other members of the Tourist Group will be doing their bit next Sunday to ensure that South Loch Ness Side looks its best for visitors coming to the area. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

What a HOOT !

Every evening lately we have heard the loud call of the Tawny Owl somewhere in Farigaig Forest between our house and Aspenwood Cottage above us. The other night we think it landed on our roof as it was that loud. Owls are always a good sign of a thriving ecosystem, similar to having Sparrowhawks in the vicinity, as they prey on the smaller creatures which therefore must be in the area. It shows that there is enough food to go round.

 Guests staying in the cottage in the past took this photo of the tawny owl in a tree in front of Aspenwood Cottage and kindly allowed me to use it to create a canvas print which we put up in the en-suite bathroom of the cottage.
When I walked up the grass track to the cottage this morning I found this feather attached to a twig by the side of the path.
I posted this photo on to the photo-sharing website Flickr which I use regularly and a knowledgeable friend mentioned that it belonged to a tawny owl ..... what a hoot!

Friday, March 09, 2012

We're on the telly!

The month of March has really made its entrance providing a real mixture of weather this past week. We've experienced low rolling mist,rain,strong winds,sleet and snow showers. Today it is about 12C and the sun is shining....life is never dull here in the Highlands.
Yesterday evening we watched 'The Great British Countryside' on TV which this week featured the Highlands of Scotland. It was presented by Hugh Dennis and Julia Bradbury and they visited different parts of the Highlands while explaining the history,geography and geology of the area. Many of the locations we had visited ourselves and were familiar to us but it made us realise that we still had alot of beautiful places to explore.
While watching the programme we saw Hugh Dennis on the 'Ness Express' rib whizzing along Loch Ness near the southern shore where we live.
'Ness Express' on Loch Ness
Suddenly our village of Inverfarigaig came in to view and we could see our house and Aspenwood Cottage above us. We rewound it and paused the programme about 19 minutes in from the start to have a closer look and could see Inverfarigagig in great detail with all the local houses either side of the pier. We were on the telly!
Hugh cycled over the high pass to Applecross where you look down on dramatic hidden lochs surrounded by spectacular mountains.
On the road to Applecross
Julia went to Fort George and then opposite to Chanonry Point where she was thrilled to see the dolphins in action as we have many times.
Bottlenose dolphins at Chanonry Point

We are already planning some day trips to explore Highland locations we have not visited yet.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Anyone for carrots ?

As we drive along the side of Loch Ness en route to Inverness we always look out for the three horses in the field. They seem to be good friends and are always together in the field either standing stock still,eating at the hay feeder or running around. We parked nearby yesterday and got out to have a closer look. They came trotting over especially the brown and white one who was really inquisitive and wanted a stroke. They must be enjoying the pleasant warm weather on their coats and seem to be relishing their retirement.