Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What do they know ?

The weather has been rather dull and very wet this week and I have often had to go out in the mornings in the pouring rain to fill the nut and seed feeders to keep our wildlife in the manner to which they are now accustomed. They have come to expect a varied menu and I cannot disappoint the birds and red squirrels who bother to turn up and keep us entertained. Recently we have placed a connecting branch between a nearby tree and the bird table to make life easier for ther young squirrels to access the food on the table as they kept falling off and one did actually land with a splash into the bird bath underneath. We have recently observed that the squirrels have been coming down the branch, on to the bird table and filling their mouths with nuts and then racing at great speed across the driveway to bury the nuts in the grass. What do they know ?


Monday, August 20, 2012

Roe deer in the garden

Female roe deer with their young have been grazing on the grassy front bank in the early morning and evening with their coats catching the bright sun. The female has huge ears and no antlers and is the deer portrayed as Bambi in the famous tear-jerking film. These were just opposite the front door. At other times we have seen the male with his three pointed antlers but is he usually alone.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taking to the water of Loch Ness

Summer has finally arrived and the weather has been glorious. Loch Ness has been busy  with boating craft of various sizes , ranging from the large 'Lord of the Glens' luxury cruise ship down to brave kayakers. We've noticed many private and hired cruisers, colourful yachts and the two RIBs have been full of passengers on the trip from Fort Augustus to Urquhart Castle and back. It is good to see the loch busy in this welcome warm weather.



We took full advantage of the great weather and celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary on the beach with some cool refreshments and a paddle.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Badgers seen from Aspenwood Cottage

During their stay in a nearby cottage last week the guests were looking out of the lounge window at midnight and spotted two adult badgers with two youngsters.The badger family were snuffling around under the peanut feeders and stayed for quite a while hoovering up the food remains as they are strangely partial to peanuts. Several of their guests have been lucky enough to see the badgers shuffling about around the cottage grounds but you do have to stay up late.We know there is a very large badger sett in the forest next to the cottage and we have been lucky enough to see and film them from our neighbours house near to the cottage.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Follow up to Loch Ness Rescue

The lady who was involved in the rescue last Sunday involving the RNLI, the Fingal barge and the air ambulance helicopter was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. Fortunately her injuries were not serious and she with husband are going today to the Loch Ness RNLI station at Drumnadrochit near Urquhart Castle to say a big thank you. They might well be shown the video of her rescue....we did email the video to the RNLI and to the Fingal and they both replied saying they were very pleased to have seen it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Dramatic Double shout for Loch Ness RNLI

Last Sunday just as we were watching Andy Murray win a gold medal at Wimbledon we heard and then saw the yellow helicopter hovering above Loch Ness in front of our house. Dashing outside we saw the 'Fingal of Caledonia' barge floating strangely becalmed in the middle of the loch and the Loch Ness RNLI Lifeboat tied up to the side of the barge. The air ambulance helicopter was lowering a crew member down and there was much activity going on board the Fingal barge. Yesterday we were emailed the following information from the Loch Ness RNLI and the mystery was solved.

Volunteer crew from Loch Ness RNLI were tasked twice yesterday to respond to incidents on the Loch.
The first shout was to a woman who had fallen onto rocks whilst walking from Foyers to Inverfarigaig. The woman, who was on holiday with her family from West Sussex, had slipped and fallen down on to rocks by the loch side, causing injuries to her head, back, hip and leg.Her family had no mobile phone signal, but were able to hail the cruising barge Fingal, which happened to be passing close to the shore.The skipper of the Fingal, Donald Hind, recognising the severity of the situation, immediately radioed Aberdeen Coastguard for help and despatched two of his crew to the shore to assist.Loch Ness RNLI inshore lifeboat, Thelma Glossop, was launched on the Coastguard's request, and was on scene within 20 minutes.
Lifeboat helm, Howie Whyte, says: 'As soon as I realised the woman had head and back injuries, I requested that the rescue helicopter be despatched to uplift the casualty. They were responding elsewhere, but despite being low on fuel, they were diverted to Loch Ness.' In the meantime, the volunteer lifeboat crew of Neil Stebbings, Drew Taylor and Jamie Macpherson were put ashore to attend to the casualty. Neil, who has recently been undertaking helm training, took charge of the shore situation, ensuring that the casualty was given the emergency care needed to prevent further injury to the neck and spine. With the assistance of the Fingal crew who had been put ashore, Andy Galbraith and Erica Forbes, the casualty was put into a basket stretcher and transferred to the waiting lifeboat.Neil Stebbings said: 'It was very tricky to manoeuvre the stretcher down over the slippery rocks and onto the lifeboat. We couldn't have managed it without Andy and Erica's help.'
The lifeboat then transferred the crew, the casualty and her husband to the Fingal, to continue care and await the arrival of the helicopter.The RAF paramedic, having assessed the casualty, organised the transfer to the helicopter by winch.
Just as this was happening, the lifeboat received another urgent call to assist kayakers in distress further south on the loch. Leaving one crew member on board the Fingal to assist with the casualty, the lifeboat quickly headed south to locate the kayakers. They were found on the shore between Foyers and Fort Augustus, in a location inaccessible by road, and were transferred by lifeboat from the shore to the tourist vessel, the Royal Scot, who were able to assist by taking them back to Fort Augustus.
Howie Whyte said: 'The kayakers had become tired and the loch conditions were getting rough. They made the right decision in calling for help and getting themselves to shore as fast as possible. We were grateful to the crew of the Royal Scot, who offered their assistance and were able to provide a safe, warm lift back to shore for them. Today's events show just how well the boating community on the Loch work together with Aberdeen Coastguard and other emergency services to help those in distress.'
The lifeboat then returned to the Fingal to recover the remaining crew member, to find that because the helicopter was so low on fuel, they had been unable to take the casualty's husband with them. Once again, the crew was able to assist by taking him back to Temple Pier with them and giving him a lift to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness where his wife was being treated.
Sent in by Vivian Bailey .... Crew Member/Lifeboat Press Officer Loch Ness Lifeboat

Watch the rescue in action as we saw it happening.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Wildlife and weather update

The juvenile birds are eating everything in sight with a new hatch of siskins and chaffinches. The young robins are starting to lose their speckled appearance and are beginning to show patches of red through their fluffy first feathers. The deer have been on the front bank in the early morning and evening kindly keeping the grass down for us. We had a weasel darting about in the garden for a while and a large hare bounded up the driveway and ran past the conservatory and into the forest. We were so amazed that we just stood and watched in amazement at its size...we thought it was a dog at first. Philip the pheasant has been very vocal but no sign of any females or chicks. The young squirrels have been keeping us amused with their antics and I was able to get very close at times. They give me a curious look and then carry on munching....wonderful to see so much.

The weather has not been marvellous for Summer but alot kinder than other parts of the UK. We have had the odd shower and several warmish days and have been able to sit outside in the evening. This morning was very misty and we could not see across the loch to the other side but eventually the mist melted down into Loch Ness during the morning and we enjoyed a beautiful day......going down to the beach soon with a wee something!