Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wee weasel

 Sitting watching the birds feed one afternoon when I noticed a siskin suddenly disappear into the earth. Went out to investigate this strange phenomenon and found the dead siskin stuck head first in the mouth of a narrow tunnel. As I was digging it out and filling in the hole to ensure no more future accidents I heard rustling from underground very nearby. As I watched, luckily armed with the camera, two little black eyes and a head emerged from another hole about 2 feet away and I realised it was a weasel that we had merely glimpsed recently as it darted rapidly around under the bird table. It emerged from the hole, gave me a good hard stare of disapproval for blocking up one of his tunnel exits and disappeared back down the hole. The weasel will certainly keep the mice and vole population down but they have been known to take squirrels too. Luckily our red squirrels are not showing in this cold spell and are tucked up in their dreys in the forest only occasionally popping out for food they have stashed away somewhere. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Scottish Open comes to the Highlands.

A golf course near Inverness in the Highlands is hosting the Barclays Scottish Open for the next three years. This has been held for the last fifteen years at Loch Lomond Golf Club but it is now coming to Castle Stuart on the Moray Firth between July 7-10th. There will be live coverage of the event, which is part of golf's European Tour, on Sky Sports and BBC and it is the most northerly British venue to stage a European Tour event. The Castle Stuart Golf Links club only fully opened last year and has already been voted one of the best new links courses in the world. It has an unusual art deco clubhouse overlooking the Moray Firth and is within easy distance of Inverness Airport and should be very good for a variety of businesses in Inverness as well as the surrounding area. It is perfect preparation for The Open Championship which this year will be staged at Royal St. George, Kent from July 14th. Last year the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond was won by Italian Edoardo Molinari.    Click for more information.
Aspenwood Cottage is about 25miles from Castle Stuart.......why not combine golf and Highland scenery and stay in luxury accommodation overlooking world famous Loch Ness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flush with success.

The temperatures did rise over the weekend and all the ice around the house melted making it safe to go outside once more. We went up to Aspenwood where we saw a hungry Philip the pheasant helping himself to the peanuts on the fence feeders. At the cottage we had arranged to have two new super-dooper modern push button flush toilets installed in the bathroom and en suite and they do look great. 
Had a fair amount of rain since but we mustn't complain about that seeing what others in the world are going through. Not been able to get outside much for a decent walk and stretch of the old legs but our two Loch Ness Mini Monsters found something else to do to keep them occupied in the rainy season....maybe we should follow their example.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Picturesque scenes.

The deer are coming very near the house in their attempt to find food under the snow. The birds are also desperate for food and I had to be very careful this morning putting the seed and nuts out as there was a treacherous icy layer sitting on top of the snow. More snow has been falling mainly on higher ground making Mealfourvonie, the highest mountain around Loch Ness, look very picturesque. The clear skies overnight have caused an extra problem of the recent snow and sleety rain icing up and the driveway is a glistening sheet of ice so we are not venturing out today for anybody. More snow is forecast for Wednesday morning and below zero temperatures for a few days and nights ahead. The good news is that by Saturday the temperature is expected to be a tropical 10C so we might be taking a dip in the loch....not!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Weather update.....brrrrrrr

The snow had cleared from around the house at the beginning of the week and it was quite pleasant to walk outside without layers of clothing and wet wellies on. The hungry deer came to feed on the visible grass and moss on the front bank leading down to Loch Ness. Then the temperatures began to fall as did the snow on Thursday. We are now covered again in the white stuff and, although it is very picturesque, it would be lovely to get back to seeing all the colours again. Temperatures below zero during the day and at night the clear sky is full of amazing stars. 

Monday, January 03, 2011

No skating here !

 Although the snow has disappeared from lower levels nearer Loch Ness it is still lying on higher ground. Driving by one of the smaller lochs near Loch Ruthven, which has a famous RSPB Nature Reserve because of the breeding pairs of Slavonian Grebes, we noticed there was still thick ice on the surface especially by the waters edge.
The road actually skirts this smaller loch and we got out to stretch our legs and admire the view of the sunsetting on the frozen water strewn with rocks and branches.
This photo just cried out for an artistic black and white edit.
Loch Ness never freezes because of its great depth although there can be a layer of snow or frost on the wee beach a short stroll down from Aspenwood Cottage.