Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snapshots from a guest.

Barbara and Phil and their 2 delightful boys Andrew and Adam are regular visitors to Aspenwood. On their last visit they kindly gave me a CD with some of their photos taken on previous stays. Always welcome photos from guests...some of my favourites are shown below.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring cleaning.

Certain members of our tourist group - the South Loch Ness Tourist Group - kindly gave up some of their time to clear Inverfarigaig Pier of all the vegetation. Over the years the gorse has really taken hold making it difficult to fight your way through without getting lacerated to be able to have a panoramic view of Loch Ness. It is now a lovely place for a sit down and a picnic. We always mention to folk we see there that they can use our nearby wheelie bin for any rubbish. The group has also paid for clearing some of the trees and shrubs lochside especially the picnic areas by parking bays. There is now a much better view of the loch which is good for photo shoots and encourages people to stop and take in the vista. In late March we will team up to help clear the litter thrown out of cars along the loch by walking in shifts from Whitebridge to Dores collecting litter along the way. It is quite surprising how much we collect. Some Spring clean !

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beaufort Castle

We were promised temperatures in double figures today so we chose a walk from walkingworld along the north bank of the River Beauly which would take us along quite flat and pleasant paths. Drove through Inverness to the Lovat Bridge and turned off left towards the small village of Kiltarlity. Crossed over the River Beauly and parked in the little car park beyond. The walk was easy to follow and we strolled through oak and birch woods along the side of the river listening to the birdsong. A hawk sped across our path. The river was flowing very fast and the weir was very powerful and noisy. In the season the salmon would be seen leaping up the river and many anglers would be trying to outwit them. There are enticing salmon pools and quite a few lodges and wooden fishing chalets by the side of the river.Walked past Beaufort Castle - the ancestral home of the Frasers of Lovat but sold in 1994 to Ann Gloag the director of Stagecoach transport. Unfortunately we forgot that all the recent snow would melt and make the rivers overflow and we came to a sudden stop as the river had flooded our path. We had to turn round and walk back to our waiting picnic. It was lovely to get out in the mild fresh air and stretch the old legs.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Loch Ness page..

The snow and ice have now disappeared at lower levels although it is still visible above the snow line. Caught this young stag hoovering up food under the bird table. Now that it is milder it is noticeable that the numerous birds we have been feeding the past few weeks can now find their own food again. The temperature was a warming 8C today and it is pleasant to be able to walk outside without the worry of slipping and sliding. The cats have come out of hibernation and actually ventured out again. During this period of icy confinement I have been busy updating our Loch Ness website page with more information,links and photos and have learnt alot along the way.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weather update

On Wednesday we experienced sub zero temperatures all day and it was bitterly cold. Drove into Inverness to collect some rock salt for our own driveway and on the way back we passed some amazing icicles clinging to the rock faces by the side of the B582 road. The forecast for Thursday was for small flurries of snow so we put the rock salt down the driveway and by the house. Woke up Thursday morning to a blizzard and a covering of at least 4 inches of snow completely covering all our good work. Inverness Airport was closed due to the heavy snow although it did clear the runways and open for flights in the afternoon. The good news is that milder weather is on the way next week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chill out in the Highlands.

The snow has been laying for a week now and because of the overnight frost and cold temperatures it has been really icing up. Today we went up to Aspenwood and cleared the lane down to the cottage and the path to the back steps with 6 bags of rocksalt and a lot of sweat. Also topped up the nut feeders for the squirrels and birds...although we do not have guests staying at the moment these creatures still rely on us for food in this very cold weather. Unlike the grey squirrels, the reds do not hibernate and can be seen all year round. Had a slight flurry of snow earlier on today and the temperatures have been well below freezing all day. Last night we experienced an amazing pink sunset followed by a night full of stars. We have seen some dramatic sky scenes recently and living here is always beautiful whatever the weather...although the coal fire and whisky are always welcome in these chilly temperatures.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Overnight snowfall.

Until last night we have not experienced any significant falls of snow compared to south of the border. Lately we have had a few pathetic flurries but when we woke up this morning we had a white outlook everywhere and a layer 4 inches thick. Took a walk up the snowy path to Aspenwood admiring the views and checked that the birds and squirrels were well fed and watered. On the news we heard that the A9 was closed between Inverness and Aviemore due to heavy snow and about 60 schools are shut in the Highlands. Inverness airport was closed early morning but reopened at 10 am. The temperature now at 3pm is about 4C and the tell-tale sign of a clear blue sky means that we are in for a chilly night. Sit back and enjoy the walk we had this morning.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hello February.

February dawned with a night canopy full of stars followed by a day with clear blue skies. The daytime temperatures were about 2C although the wind chill factor made it feel much colder. Went for a drive to Inverarnie stores and returned the back way via Loch Duntelchaig and Loch Ashie. The air was so clear and the sky so blue that we found it difficult to believe that by Tuesday the snow will find its way up to Scotland from south of the border. Filled up the coal and log baskets and getting supplies in Inverness tomorrow just in case. Watch this space......