Sunday, July 30, 2006

Visit To Mull

We've wanted to go to the Isle Of Mull for a long time, the original plan was to visit in time to see the sea-eagles on their nests, but we where too visit to do that. So we kept a couple of days clear last week and set off for the ferry at Lochaline.

The drive there took a great deal longer than we expected and we reached Lochaline just in time to wave good bye to the ferry, so we had a long wait for the next crossing. So it was 3.30 before we reached Mull, but once there we where amazed how beautiful it is, helped I suspect a little by the fact that the day we had chosen was of clear blue skies.

We made our way slowly up the Island to Tobermoray and the first place we visited was for boat trips. We where in luck, there was an extra trip that day at 5pm, by now it was 4 o'clock so we paid our money and went in search of our B&B for a freshen-up before returning to catch the boat.

The views of the Island, as well as the mainland where fantastic, but our hopes where not high on seeing all the animals promised on the trip. We couldn't;t have been more wrong. First sighting was a minky whale in a inlet diving for fish.

Next we where treated to large pod of common dolphins (which we learnt are actually not as common as bottlenose dolphins). We watched them for must be an hour, at times they swam next to and under the boat, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Later the boat captain spotted as basking shark, so we followed him for a while and a slowly swam and fed on the water surface.

On the way back to Tobermoray we spotted many porpoise, jelly fish (both moon and lions mane) and gannets overhead.

It was well worth the money for this trip.

After a fish and chip supper in the local bar we had a wonderful night stay at The Copeland B&B.

The following day the weather was not so kind, it fact it was cloudy and wet most of the time. We had a leisurely drive around the north end of the Island, Calgary bay was beautiful even in the rain.

We where then told that if you want to see Sea Eagles one of the best places is Loch Na Keal, so we headed off in that direction. We drove around the Loch but saw nothing so decided to head for the ferry home. However on the way back we saw a family group near the beach looking through binoculars and a telescope so we stopped. They excitedly told us that there where two sea eagles sitting on the beach, we had a look and sure enough there they where. They thought they where young birds and might even be the famed Itchy & Scratchy from the BBC Spring Watch program.

We sat and watched the two eagles for quite some time before once again heading off for the ferry home.

All in all a fabulous couple of days on Mull.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Visit To Glen Nevis

We had friends here for the weekend from Atlanta, so we went to Glen Nevis for the day.

The weather was beautiful, so warm in fact that we went swimming in the river.

We took a picnic with us and layed out our blanket by the river.

It was a perfect day.





Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Phew What A Scorcher

It's been very warm here today, at least it felt very warm, but when I checked my thermometer the peak today has actually been 0.9 degs lower than yesterdays high.

We only had one room to clean this morning, so as soon as we where done we packed up the car and went to Nairn. Lovely sandy beach there. We had a few hours on the beach, and even went for a swim in the sea. Although the top 3 inches of sea water was lovely and warm underneath was freezing.

BBC forecast for the next few days is cooler, can't say I mind, I'm useless when it's like this.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dry Weather

We went for a walk on DOres beach on Sunday evening and where amazed to see that the river that flows into the Loch at that point is completely dry.

I know we've not had rain for a while, but I didn't think it was that dry.

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Visit To Glen Affric

On Saturday we took friends of ours to what (in our opinion) is the most picturesque glen in the area, Glen Affric. The weather was stunning which made it even more enjoyable.

We stopped at the first car park and walked back to see Dog Falls. We then drove on to Loch Beinn Mheadhoin and walked out along the dam.

We then went on to Coille Ruigh na Cuileige and sat by the Loch and ate our picnic.

We then went on to Loch Affric itself and walked some way from the car park to the Loch. However it was so hot that we didn't venture too far before heading back to the car and home.

What a fabulous day!





Friday, July 14, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Home Made Jams


At Pottery House we like to serve our guests with home made jams and preserves with their breakfasts. So today we went to Balvraid Fruit Farm to pick the fruit for this years supply.

Alas there where no strawberries, but we did pick a good supply of gooseberries and raspberries. There should be enough for two batches of jams and for a gallon of wine.

Monday, July 10, 2006

(Final) Kitten Update

The kittens, reported in this blog last week, have re-appeared in our woodshed over the weekend. Saw their mother once but she didn't seem to be taking much care of them as when we fed them they where starving.

So we phoned the SPCA and a very nice lady came round with a big net and took them away. Aaaah.

She said they'd already got a home for two of them as they have people waiting for a pair of kittens, and didn't think they'd have much of a problem finding a home for the other two.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Garden Flowers


It's always nice with a B&B to put fresh flowers into the rooms and around the house, and it is especially pleasing when the flowers are grown in your garden.

One of the great successes this year has been a sweet pea called "Lilac Ripple". They have been flowering for a couple of weeks now (grown from seed) and even after I cut nearly all the flowers from them after just a few days they are covered in blooms again.

This display in our entrance hall includes Scabiousa and Veronica flowers with the Sweep Pea.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Seaside Weather

It's the sort of day to go to the seaside.

Although there is white fluffy clouds about, the sun is shinning for most of the time and it's quite breezy. Very pleasant in fact.

A great day for walking along the shore watching the waves.

We have friends arriving today, so hopefully the weather will remain summery for them.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sunny Afternoon on The Black Isle




It was a nice sunny day here once we'd finished cleaning the rooms, so we went to the Black Isle for the afternoon.

Drove to Cromarty first which is a lovely, quiet, little town with a very sea-sidey feel to it. We decided to try the new Pizza restaurant called Suton Creek, where they cook home made pizzas in a wood-burning oven. We waited ages, then the waitress (I think she was the owner too) came over and appologies that there had been a mistake with our order and it would be a little while longer. After 15 mins she came over again and apologiesed once again and gave us a free drink each.



When the food arrived it was delicous, so all in all a very positive experience. The fact that they cared enough about our custom to compensate us for the mistake and subsequent wait, and the fact that the food was very good would mean we would definately go back.

After lunch we had a walk around Cromarty and then stopped off at Chanonry Point to watch the dolphins on the way home.

Kitten Latest

The kittens where giving us real problems yesterday evening. The where going and hiding in the garage (we where worried they would get shut in and starve) and then they started making a little bed for themselves in our utility room. One of them even dashed and hid behind the boiler when I walked in the room. When I did manage to coax him out he dashed behind the washing machines. Finally the ran out and out the back door (after some cartoon style running and sliding at the same time, on the lino).

Then later yesterday evening we saw the mother cat in the garden so she must have come back for them.

Today? No sign of the little "darlings"!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kitten Update

We thought they'd gone. We went out about 11.30am this morning and the kittens had disappeared. We thought perhaps their mother had come back for them.

But this afternoon we found them in the flower beds and this evening they are still hanging around the house.

We've put food and water out for them, so they are fed.

And we've spoken to the SSPCA and they are sending someone to collect them.

New Arrival At Pottery House


Had a surprice this morning, went out to feed the chickens and there's a little black & white face looking out at me from the shelves just outside the kitchen door.

When I took a closer look their are 3 tiny black and white kittens on one of the shelves.

Don't know where they've come from, maybe they're wild.

Will ask around the village today, to see if someone has lost them. Will also keep an eye out to see if their mother comes back for them.

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's been a funny day at Loch Ness, weather wise. While England appears to be sweltering in a heatwave it has been decidedly cool and cloudy here today.

Forecast says it will cheer up tomorrow.

Don't want the heat, but some sunshine would be nice.

Sunday, July 02, 2006






I must say the garden is looking absolutely super at the moment.

Last year was our first full season at Pottery House, and we where somewhat disapointed with our progress in the garden.

We've come to the conclusion that this was a combination of two things, a very poor summer (not much we could do about that) and very poor soil. To help the soil we spent a lot of effort manuring sections of the garden last autumn, and it appears to have paid off.

We already have a glut of lettuce and it wont be long before the broad beans are ready.

And the flower and shrub beds are looking lovely.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Waste Recycling


Our new compost bins from Highland Council arrived today. A white van backed it's way up the drive and we both stood there saying "I haven't ordered anything, have you?".

When he opened up the back we realised what it was.

They seem a good size for £10 each, we've put one behind the garage and the other in the chicken run. The chickens have been told they have 10 days to lodge any objections in writting, or the bin stays.

Hopefully this means we'll have all our own compost from now on.