Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lunch at the Cluanie Inn.

A break in the April showers last week allowed us to enjoy a day out.The view along Loch Ness towards the east coast did not look at all promising so we headed west to Fort Augustus and decided to aim for lunch at the Cluanie Inn which is now in new hands.Drove through a busy Fort Augustus and continued on the A82 before crossing over the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich.This is always a magical sight with the snowy mountain backdrop. 
We skirted the loch before heading off to Invergarry on the A87.This road would eventually take you to the Kyle of Lochalsh and across to the Isle of Skye but we did not intend to go that far today - we were on a serious mission to eat.The journey passed pleasantly alongside picturesque Loch Garry and then Loch Cluanie until the weather started to close in.We passed several snow topped Munro mountains and we suddenly felt very small.

 The highest mountains in Scotland are known as Munros, after Sir Hugh T.Munro who,in 1891,surveyed all the country's mountains above 3,000ft [914.4 metres] and painstakingly catalogued them in his Munro Tables. Currently there are 283 Munros recorded and the highest of which is Ben Nevis at 1344 metres. In good weather there would be lots of 'Munro Baggers' around the Cluanie area as climbing and collecting Munros is a very popular but extremely challenging activity. 
The Cluanie Inn was a welcome sight and it was good to sit down in the warm out of the sleety rain. Lunch went down well and when the rain stopped we headed back home.
Near Loch Tarff we spotted a magnificent stag with his hinds on the hillside....but that is another story!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Red squirrels dining at Aspenwood Cottage.

Natalie and Ben stayed at Aspenwood in April to celebrate Natalie's 21st Birthday and the red squirrels duly came out to wish her well and join in the party....a good time was had by all as you can see.
Many thanks to Natalie and Ben for sendng us these photos and allowing us to put them on the Cottage Diary for all to enjoy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The 'Scottish Highlander' barge.

Yesterday was very wet and windy making the water of Loch Ness extremely choppy.Several cruisers passed along the loch bobbing up and down like corks on the white waves.The 117ft 'Scottish Highlander' barge seemed to take these weather conditions in its stride and glided smoothly by. This spacious luxury barge sleeps 8 and is available for hire for a 6 night trip. It cruises along the Great Glen from Inverness towards Fort William and uses a minibus for excursions along the way to Cawdow Castle and Culloden Moor.The temperature dropped overnight and we woke up to see a covering of snow on the mountains opposite although the wind had died down and the rain had stopped. Along came the Jacobite Legend,one of three boats which form the Jacobite fleet offering cruises on Loch Ness. It was very close to the house and not on its usual route cruising along the Caledonian Canal to view the ruins of Urquhart Castle. It was possibly a corporate event as there were lots of people inside,and a few brave ones on the top deck,who seemed to be having a good time. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring lambs.

On the way back from Inverness this afternoon we saw our first lambs in the field at Dores where gangs of them were playing and leaping about in the warm sunshine. The weekend weather has been gorgeous with temperatures nearing 20C. We have been taking absolute advantage and sitting out as much as possible. The cats seem to have come out of hibernation and enjoy lying around in the sunshine and keeping watch over us mere humans. There was a lovely reflection on Loch Ness this morning but it was soon shattered by passing cruisers causing a strange ripple effect to last for ages before we could hear the wash from the boats crashing onto the shore.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Spring cleaning.

The birds are very vocal now and there is much chasing going on. They have been busy collecting nesting material which can vary from small twigs to the fur of our two cats which is thrown out after their regular morning brush - recycling at its best. A pair of pied wagtails often appear bobbing up and down on the low fence and grooming themselves spectacularly. These black and white birds have a distinctive long wagging tail which never stops moving and they relish feeding on the new batch of flies which has hatched in the warmer weather. They prefer to be in the vicinity of water and are often seen flying near to Loch Ness shoreline where they must have made a nest in the bank.

The pheasants are also rather noisy throughout the day but especially in the early morning on the bank right in front of the bedroom window. Last year we followed the progress of seven pheasant chicks and watched them grow into adults so we are looking forward to another batch of youngsters.
....and now for something completely different.....the track from Farigaig Pier to our house has got really, really bad over the past few years with more potholes than road and quite uncomfortable to drive on. All the neighbours agreed that work needed to be carried out and that drainage channels had to be put into the surface enabling rain water to escape down to lochside and not lay and create even bigger holes. Ray put his organisation hat on and now all this work has been completed with several drainage channels, a new road surface and signs encouraging drivers to 'please slow down'. The new road is a joy to walk along, drive along and dance along....must go now as the music has started !