Thursday, December 30, 2010

Countdown to Hogmanay...

Hogmanay Celebrations will begin tomorrow evening to welcome in the New Year. Fortunately for travellers the snow has mostly disappeared from lower levels and the temperature is about 6C with the odd patch of fog drifting along the Great Glen and hovering over the water of Loch Ness.
On the way to Inverness yesterday we parked and looked across at the stunning reflection of Urquhart Castle jutting out into Loch Ness.On the return journey we stopped near the village of Dores to look at the amazing view down Loch Ness towards Fort Augustus.The sun was setting quite low and sparkling on the water and snowy mountain sides and the colours in the sky were beautiful.
Enjoy your Hogmanay Celebrations. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stag party

During the last week most of the snow and ice on lower ground has melted in the warmer temperatures although there are still some white patches on higher levels. The deer and stags are now able to get to the grass and moss easier and are filling up before the coming cold snap which is forecast very soon.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

White Xmas for this Red Squirrel

Last December as the snow rapidly descended we watched from the windows of Aspenwood Cottage as this very hungry red squirrel dashed from the forest nearby and fed on the peanut feeder on the fence outside the lounge window.  By the end of his lunch he looked like a bit like a Christmas decoration. We just managed to make it back home in time before the blizzard really set in but we did keep all the wildlife well provided for during the chilly winter period. This year the snow, although arriving early, has not been so bad as in the central belt [Glasgow and Edinburgh] and today the temperatures have risen to well above freezing. During Spring 2010 we did have a new 'squirrel platform fence' erected to make life easier for all the wildlife who visit and it works a treat.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Looking forward to Thursday....

It is still very cold with the odd flurry of snow but the forecast for Thursday is that temperatures are going to climb well above freezing during the day and night, so hopefully we shall see the back of this early wintery spell. This year the snow arrived a month earlier than last year but we were well prepared. It does look very picturesque mainly because most of the snow remains inaccessable and is still wonderfully white. The hungry deer have been down at lower levels and are foraging nearby for grass and digging up any they can see.
Luckily the sacks of sunflower hearts and suet balls arrived by van and the birds, of all shapes and sizes, are extremely grateful for anything on the menu.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Looking for food...

There has been no more snow here for the last few days although it has been bitterly cold and there are long icicles forming on the sheer rock surfaces at the bottom of Inverfarigaig hill. The road into Inverness is clear and has been well gritted so we went into town to get some provisions, passing a picturesque snowy Urquhart Castle jutting out onto Loch Ness on the way. This famous castle is open all year except for Xmas Day and is a very popular attraction, steeped in history and mystery.

On the journey in and out we noticed several buzzards by the loch side keeping a beady eye out onto the snowy fields for anything edible, which would be very easy to spot in these untouched white conditions.
We even saw a buzzard sitting on a post at the side of the road in town on the new road by Fairways Golf Course. On the way back we got behind a line of cars stationary near the Dores roundabout and wondered what was going on when we saw a deer on the pavement by the side of the road. It had emerged from some woodland and nobody was quite sure which way it intended to run. It took a long look at all the cars and wisely decided to go back into the woods. Before we went home we drove to Aspenwood to feed the birds and noticed lots of footprints in the snow, birds, pheasants, deer and a pine marten's prints crossing the carport. All the creatures are really looking hard for something to eat.
Later in the afternoon we noticed a weird scene towards the east just beyond Urquhart Castle. The sun was glistening very brightly on the snow but we knew that the sun set would be in the west....a strange but beautiful weather phenomenon.