Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scottish Highlander Barge

Whatever the weather certain passenger cruise craft have to carry out their business and entertain their guests. During an interval in the recent misty weather we saw the Scottish Highlander barge go up to Urquhart Castle in the afternoon on one of its 7 day cruises.The 117ft long craft travels from Inverness to Fort Augustus on the first day of its cruise where it docks for the night and the entertainment begins. The following day it journeys back up Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle allowing passengers to view the ancient structure at close hand from the loch whilst enjoying drinkies and lunch prepared and cooked by a master chef . By the time the barge returned to Fort Augustus, passing our house en route, the night was beginning to close in and it looked quite magnificent lit up in the darkness. The Scottish Highlander barge caters luxuriously for 8 passengers and cruises along the Great Glen from Inverness to Fort William stopping for day trips to various sites of scenic or historic relevance along the way.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunset from the beach.

Although it was a bit chilly the other evening we wrapped up well and went down to the nearby beach to sit on the seats and watch the sun setting.Took an essential warming dram with us and it was quite beautiful just sitting on the peaceful shore of Loch Ness watching the sun quickly disappear behind the mountain.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fort William

A very low cloud base was hovering over Loch Ness yesterday morning covering the mountain tops opposite. Seemed like a good time to go out in search of new anoraks and fleeces ready for the coming winter. Decided to go down to Fort William which has a good supply of outdoor shops because of the proximity of Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the British Isles at 1344m. Drove over the mountain and alongside Loch Tarff amazed at the changing colours on the trees. Skirted Fort Augustus and enjoyed a leisurely journey to Loch Oich noticing all the time that the cloud base was getting lower. We had to stop at the swing bridge which was shut to allow the 'Lord of the Glens' cruise liner to pass through the Caledonian Canal from Loch Ness and onto a very mysterious misty Loch Oich. Drove by Loch Lochy, through Spean Bridge and reached Fort William after about an hour and a half. A successful venture as we both managed to buy exactly what we wanted. Fort William is at the head of a sea loch, Loch Linnhe, and the sea mist was really coming in so we decided to head for home but a different way. Turned off right at Spean Bridge through Roybridge and home via Kingussie and Aviemore. On the way we drove alongside beautiful Loch Laggan, a long narrow loch to the southwest of Newtonmore. The area has been used by the BBC for the filming of the TV series 'Monarch of the Glen' and we could see why it was chosen.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Big cats and little cats.

The first snow fell on the CairnGorm Mountains this weekend and it has been very chilly at night with temperatures in single figures during the day.
Studied the weather forecast intently and today looked good enough to go for a drive and visit the Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig just beyond Aviemore. So armed with a picnic and all the photo gear off we drove in the sunshine. We were really looking forward to seeing some new arrivals - 3 new tiger cubs born on 11 May this year, a baby snow monkey,an elk and bison calf and "Mercedes" the polar bear. Unfortunately the weather forecast turned out to be completely wrong and the rain fell down harder the nearer we got to the Wildlife Park. This was not good photo-taking weather so we turned round and came back home where our wildlife was very pleased to welcome us back home. We shall try another day soon.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

2009 Loch Ness Marathon.

We woke up to a clear blue sky this morning which was a welcome change from the rather blustery weather we have been experiencing lately. Very pleased about that as the 2009 Loch Ness Marathon starts at 10 a.m. this morning.

Walked up the grass track passing Aspenwood Cottage to the top road to wait for the runners entering the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon this year. The race starts at Whitebridge and they run the 26 miles - initially along the south side of Loch Ness, up the punishing undulating uplands beyond Dores and eventually finish in Inverness by the River Ness. One of our guests,Paul, was entering the Marathon for the first time so we watched and waited with Michelle and their beautiful dog Nikita. It was very chilly but great fun and we had some good laughs with the competitors as we tried to keep their spirits up. We found out later that there were 3521 entrants just for the Marathon and the first past the post was Simon Tonui from Birchfield Harriers based in Birmingham who completed the race in 2.20+13 secs. Our guest also completed the race...so well done you !