Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wave Watching at Neist Point

We went to Skye with friends on Sunday, because we knew from the weather forecasts that a deep low pressure system with strong winds was heading into Western Scotland from the Atlantic. The idea being that we would head for the coast and hopefully see a rough sea.

So we headed for Neist Point which is up on the north west of the island, on the Duirinish peninsular.

It poured with rain all day but we where so lucky because as we reached Neist Point the sky cleared and there was a beautiful sunset. However Neist point is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, there are the most incredible cliffs along the shore with waterfalls cascading down them. And as the sun went down all the rocks where lit by a golden hue.

The sea was rough as we expected and we stood on the rocks in front of the lighthouse watching the waves crash in until it was almost dark and we could stand the cold no longer.

If you're ever on the north end of Skye go and see Neist Point.








Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pottery House Web Site - Movie Clips

We now have a page of movie clips on the Pottery House web site.

There is only 3 at the moment but we will add more over the coming weeks.

See www.potteryhouse.co.uk/movie_clips.htm

Loch Tarff

After we left The Falls Of Foyers we went on for a walk near Loch Tarff.

Unfortunately the path we planned on taking was closed due to the Glendoe Hydro scheme, so we went for a walk around the Loch itself.

Here are a few of my photos.



Monday, December 04, 2006

Falls Of Foyers - Spectacular

There has been a great deal of rain in the Loch Ness area for the past week or so, so we went on a trip a few days ago to see the Falls Of Foyers, just down the road from Pottery House.

We have never seen so much water coming over the falls, it was quite spectacular. The amount of spray coming from the falls made it like a heavy rain storm, even though at the time it was dry.

Even the path down to the falls was like a river.



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pottery House On TV

STV are doing a few articles on North Tonight this week about the Highlands And Islands Tourism Awards.

Today they came round and did some recordingwith us.

We'll be features on the program tomorrow night (Thursday).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Been Away

We've been away for a week, visiting friends and family down in England (and Wales).

These photos are of us landing at Inverness on the way home.

Hopefully there will be some more progress on the water recylcing project in the next few days.

Been busy bottling home made wine today.



Thursday, November 02, 2006

Highland And Islands Tourism Awards 06

I am please to be able to report that we at Pottery House are one of the finalists in this years "Highlands And Islands Tourism Awards".

We are shortlisted for the New Business category.

Full details at http://www.highland-tourism-awards.co.uk/shortlist.htm

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Water Recycling Project: The Piping Begins

Things are finally starting to take shape with this project. As you can see below I've installed the pipe outlet into tank 2 from which the water will overflow back into the main drain pipe.







I've also connected a copper pipe to the bottom of tank 1, this is where the water will be fed to the pump and then on to the outside tap. Bit of a challenge this one as I've only ever worked with copper piping once before and that was under instruction from my friend Michael, who's a dab-hand at this plumbing lark.

I was especially please as I managed to bend the 22mm copper pipe to the shape I needed (using a spring) and also solder the two lengths together to reach the pump. It's also connected to the bottom of the tank. Don't know if all these joints ae water-proof mind you!!!





And finally today I've connected the two tanks together, well almost. I've cut the holes in the tanks and have the joining pipe, but I need to tank connectors which I've ordered on Ebay today.

.





  1. All in all, it went well. Only problems I had where:
    tank 1 isn't sitting flush on the ground, think I'll have to sort that out before I fill it up with water
  2. I burnt my fingers while soldering the two pipes together, ouch!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fantastic Weather

The weather here in the Highlands has been fantastic for the best part of 2 weeks (other than 1 day of rain).

This photo is of Loch Tarff on the road between Dores and Fort Augustus, and was taken sunday.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Water Recycling Project: The Pump

Been looking for a second hand shower pump on Ebay just lately for this project.

Finally got one at a reasonable price and it arrived yesterday.

Means I can get on with some of the work.

More details soon.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jacobite Steam Train




We've been planning this since we found out about the Jacobite STeam train and finally this week we did it. We took the train from Fort William to Mallaig and back again.

Had a great day out, took lots of photots. Was great to see the Glen Finnan viaduct, frequently known as the Harry Pottery Viaduct.

Mallaig was a bit of a disappointment, few nice restaurants and a beautiful location, but the town is dominated by a very industrialised harbour which is very ugly and the harbour itself is full of oil, rubbish and traffic cones. In fact a friend of ours that saw the following photo said "Wow, you managed to make Mallaig Harbour look quite nice".


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Water Recycling Project - The Plan, revised

I know this doesn't bode well for this project but I''m rethinking the list of tasks in the previous post already, not so much the contents as the order.

It has occured to me that if I...

1) install the tanks
2) connect the first tank to the utility room drain pipe

the next time the washing machines are used the first tank fills with water so when I go to cut a hole in the tank to connect it to the second tank..... big flood and I probably electrocute myself with the drill.

Revised plan:

1) install the two tanks
2) connect the two tanks together
3) run a pipe from the first tank to an old shower pump and then on to an outside tap on the wall
4) connect an overflow from the 2nd tank to the main sewer (via a u-bend)
5) connect the first tank to the utility room drain pipe.


Much better.

Water Recycling Project: The start

Before this all kicks off I thought I'd give you an overview of what I intend doing. I know I posted the diagram, but now I'll show you the real location.

Now if you've had a look at the Pottery House web site you'll have seen the front of the house, the flowers and gardens, the view of Loch Ness from the house and even the bedrooms and bathrooms. Now I'm going to show you a view of Pottery House that guests do not see.

















This is what it's like under the house, a maze of passageways with pipes, wires and plumbing. This is where I'm going to create my water recycling project (or maybe a big flood with two empty tanks sitting in the middle of it)!!






Do you see the white pipe in this photo. Now that's the all important pipe, it is the drain pipe from the washing machines in the utility room.

At least I think it is, I'm fairly sure it is. Maybe I should put one of the washing machines on a very hot wash then hold this pipe as the wash finishes.

This pipe passes through the wall into the next section, photo below, where it joins a main sewer pipe. It's the lower of the two white pipes in the second photo.

















So ALL I have to do is

1) install the two tanks
2) cut the pipe in the first photo and put it through the higher hole in the wall (which is clearer in the second photo), into the first tank.
3) join the two tanks together with a section of pipe
4) Put an over-flow pipe from the second tank back to where the current pipe joins the main sewer.
5) Run a pipe, with a pump, to a tap on the outside wall.

Now number 5 is a whole issue all on it's own and I'm not even sure how I'm going to achieve this, the least of the problems being how do I put a pipe through a breeze-block wall. So I'll come back to that bit later.

My next problem is how do I cut a hole in one of my plastic tanks so that I can join them with a pipe and then seal it round the edges. Perhaps I can get a drill attachment, back to the DIY store me thinks.......................


By the way if your looking at this project thinking "Why on earth is he doing that" or "OMG: don't do this", please post some comments, I'm making this up as I go along, so I could do with all the help I can get.

Water Recycling Project: Phase -1, does my butt look too big


If you've been reading my blog about my water saving project then you may remember that I bought a water butt for storing water under the house, but then found it wouldn't fit!

Glen then pointed out that next to the wood shed is a 25 gallon water tank that he was using as a water butt (which we inherited when we bought the house), and suggested I swap the two round.

Great Idea, and hence phase -1. Have to do this before I can start my eco project.

The new water butt has a tap at the bottom so you can fill your watering-can, so it needs to be on a stand so that you can fit the can under the tap. So today while I was in the DIY store I bought a stand and another 25 gall tank.

I could then replace the tank by the wood shed with a the water butt, and then I have two tanks for my construction project.

Ta Da!!!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

End Of The Dry Summer

There is a small burn that runs off the hillside at the back of Pottery House, into our pond and then out the other side. It has been dry this summer, in fact it has been dry since March until today.

It started raining around lunchtime yesterday (Sunday) and it rained all day, all night and into today until around 3pm this afternoon.

The effect was that by breakfast this morning such a volume of water was flowing into the pond it couldn't escape fast enough and the pond was overflowing across the path and into the vegintable patch.

Probably only seen it flowing like this twice before in the 2.5 years we've lived here.

Loch Ness was also at it's highest point this afternoon since the great storm of January 2005.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Away To Mull AGain

No posts for a few days because we've had family visiting, so we've been to Mull (again) for a visit.

This time we visited the south end of the Island, staying overnight in the very nice Achaban House just outside Fionnphort.

On Monday we took the ferry across to Iona, just for a short walk.

On Tuesday we took a boat trip to the Island of Staffa, which is one of the most amazing places I've been to in the world. I've known of Fingals Cave since music lessons at school when I was quite young, so to actually be there was quite amazing.

On Mull we saw sea eagles and otters.

A very enjoyable visit.




Thursday, September 21, 2006

Water Recycling Project - The Plan


Here is the final plan of our water saving project.

The idea is that waste water from the wachine machines will flow into the tanks under the house. We're using two tanks because we didn't think one would hold enough. We can't put one large tank in because of the limited head space under the house.

The water flows into 1 tank and then through a connecting pipe into the second. The second tank has an overflow into the main drain, with a water trap to stop smells escaping.

We went for this two connected tanks idea, with the water flowing into one and then overlfowing out of the other so that in the winter when we are not using the water for the garden there will always be a flow of water through both tanks which should help stop the water stagnating.

The tanks will be connected to an old shower pump, connected in turn to a tap on the outside of the house. Turn on the tap and in kicks the pump and out flows the water. That's the theory anyway!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Environmentally Friendly Water Recycling Project

At Pottery House we try to be environmentally friendly and we already have a Bronze from the Green tourism scheme, but we're always looking for ways to improve.

It occurred to us the other day that we use quite a lot of water on the garden so it would be good to find a way to reuse household waste. We have a plan!!!

As Pottery House is built on a hill there is a large area under the house, through which the pipes and electrics run. We've had the idea of putting a couple of water tanks under there and connecting them up to the waste pipes from the washing machines in the utility room. We will then get an old shower-pump and connect the tanks, via the pump, to a tap on the outside of the house. Then whenever we want water for the garden we can use the waste from the washing machines instead of fresh water.

As we always use ECOVER washing products there shouldn't be an issue with the water quality.

Seems like a great idea, so we're going to give it a try. We where in Wicks the other day and saw a large water-butt which would be perfect for our needs, so we bought it. First hitch, the water butt is too big to fit under the house. So we'll have to go back to the original plan of 1 or two water tanks.

Will keep you posted on this mammoth project!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wonderful Weather

Wow. Friday, Saturday and most of today has been absolutely beautiful. Friday was clear blue skies, a little high cloud on Saturday, then nice most of today and a lot warmed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Autumn is on the way

Now that we are well into September tehre's a definate chill in the air and the sunshine has a much more golden colour than during the summer months.

The garden is still in full bloom, but for home much long I ma not sure. The current 5 day forecast for the area is for 3deg C tomorrow night and 2deg for Friday night. I expect that will kill a lot of blooms and start the trees changing.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Prints Of Photos For Sale

I'm offering some of my best photos for sale as A4 sized, borderless prints on high quality glossy photo paper.

See our web site for details.


www.potteryhouse.co.uk

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Peacock Butterflies

After I said in yesterdays post that I haven't seen many peacock butterflies this year, today in the garden they outnumbered the red admirals.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Basking Shark in the Moray Firth

We went to Chanonry Point on the Black Isle for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, just to see if we could see the bottle-nosed dolphins.

No dolphins, but to our amazement we saw a basking shark. It looked like a seal nose sticking out of the water at first, but then the whole fin can out of the water, in fact you could see two fins. We only knew what it was because we saw them on our boat trip out of Tobermoray on Mull a few weeks ago.

It caused quite a stir with all the dolphin watchers rushing down to the waters edge to watch it meander past. One gentleman told me that that was the first time in 37 years that he'd seen a basking shark in the Firth.

Sadly no photos as I didn't take my camera with me that day.

Butterflies On The buddleia

This year seems to be a very good year for butterflies here in the Highlands, especially at the moment, late summer.

Cabbage whites and peacocks are frequent visitors, but the Red Admiral seems to be in abundance especially on the buddleia.

The only down side to this is our swedes and cabbages have been ravaged by caterpillars.




Monday, August 21, 2006

Pottery House Garden

One of the great pleasures of running a B&B is to have the time to look after the garden. The first summer we where here, 2004, we didn't really have time to do much as we only moved in in May. Last year the garden was very disappointing, partly I think due to teh cold summer, and partly due to the soil being poor here.

This year has been much better though. Our pots and hanging baskets are looking very good at the moment, as well as the flower beds.

And one thing I like t grow is standard fuschias, I start with 69p pots from the garden centre and by this time of year they should be reasonable sized bushes. But the trick to stunning standards is to keep them over the winter, they always look fantastic from the 2nd year on.

Here are a few of mine.




Friday, August 11, 2006

Loch Ness Sunsets

Although it's been a beautiful summer here in the Scottish Highlands, the number of impresive sunsets across Loch Ness has been down on previous years.

I wonder why?

This evening had a beautiful sky though.


This photo was taken from the garden at Pottery House across the Loch to Abriachan.

More sunset photos in our gallery at www.potteryhouse.co.uk

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Summers Day On The Beach

We spent the afternoon today on the beach at Nairn.

It was 24deg and mostly sunny, so nice in fact that I went for a swim in the sea.

It's strange swimming at Nairn, because of the sand banks you have to walk a long way out before you find enough water to swin in. And then some way out the water starts to get shallower again.

The water was quite cold, took some getting used to.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rain, rain and then it rained some more.

The past few months have been very dry here, the burn that runs into our garden has been dry for months and even the river that runs across Dores beach into Loch Ness is dry.

However yesterday it rained and rained and rained. It rained so heavily at one point that it was bouncing off the roof, haven't seen rain like that for a long time.

Even Loch Ness has risen to it's highest level since late winter.