Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowing This Evening

It's -2 deg here this evening and been snowing on and off. The tree in the front with the Christmas lights on is now covered in snow and looks great.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow On The Hills

There's snow on the hills on the other side of Loch Ness today, most if which has fallen during the day.

This photo was taken out of the landing window this afternoon, here at Pottery House.


Striving For A Greener B&B

We're always looking for ways to help make Pottery House a greener business, so when the Energy Saving Trust started offering free online home evaluations we of course took the test.

Generally we scored well, but after an inspection it transpired that our loft insulation, although correct when the house was built, is below the current recommended depth of 12".

We're delighted to say that this week the contractors for the Energy Saving Trust called and added an extra 5" of insulation. We're sure this will help reduce our fuel consumption (and bills) as this will help keep all our guest rooms warmer.

It's definitely worth checking out the Energy Saving Trust web site.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

First Frost Of The Winter

Although the temperature last night only went down as far as 1 deg C here in Dores the grass was still white this morning, for the first time this winter.

That's quite late, some of our fuschias are still in flower in the garden.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Snow On The Mountains

Not particularly early or unusual this time of year, but a definite sign of autumn closing in and the oncoming winter.

Looks beautiful thought.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Green Tomato Jam

We had a lovely lady called Jeanette stay with us during the summer and during our discussions about home made jam she told us of a recipe for green tomato jam. She very kindly emailed it to us after she arrived back home, as we currently have a glut of green tomatoes we couldn't resist giving it a try.

What does it taste like? We'll, next time you're visiting Pottery House be sure to ask to try some. :-)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

New Menu At The Dores Inn

Great News, there's a new menu at the Dores Inn, and it's even more extensive that beofre.

Check out the new menu on our web site at Pottery House: Evening Meals

Don't forget: If you are coming to stay at Pottery House we really do recommend that you book the Dores Inn in advance if you'd like to dine there, it is only a small country pub and it gets booked up quickly, especially at weekends.

And it is the only venue for even meals within walking distance of us, so if you want to eat and the Inn is full it means having to drive somewhere.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Home Made Plum Jam

The plum jam is ready and it's delicious. You just can't beat home made, especially when it's with fruit from your own garden.

If you are staying at Pottery House in the coming months and would like to try the plum jam, mention that you've seen it on the blog and we'll make sure it's out for breakfast the next morning.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pottery House Maintains Green Tourism GOLD

Every two years we have an inspection by the Green Tourism Scheme. We had our inspection back in August and we're delighted to announce that we have maintained our GOLD standard.

We've made many changes since our last inspection, to help improve our rating, so we're delighted with our score. These changes include:-

  • completion of our water recycling system so we can use water from our washing machines to water the garden.
  • all showers in the house now have Mira Eco-shower heads, which use up to 75% less water (and therefore energy to heat the water) than standard shower heads.
  • the new lighting in the large double room is all compact fluorescent
  • we replaced the cooker and fridge as they were very old and the oven was next to the fridge/freezer.
  • we've replaced the bottled water in guest room fridges with jugs of filtered water, so no more plastic bottles
  • we've "disposed" of many items using www.freecycle.org so that rather than items becoming rubbish they can be used by others. Items include fridge/freezer, cooker hob and oven, kitchen table, old table, CDs and kitchen pots and pans.
  • We're recently joined WWF and the Micro lending site Kiva.
  • The Energy Saving Trust did an audit of Pottery House and recommended that the loft insulation be increased to at least 12", we're currently waiting for them to do this work.
  • we already use many "Fair Trade" products such as tea and coffee, but we're currently trialing "Fair Trade" bed linen.
  • We've taken part in many litter picks on the road between Dores and Foyers, in conjunction with the South Loch Ness Tourist Group, but in 2009 we organised this event.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fruit Picking - Plums

We've been away for a couple of days, and returned to find many of the plums from our tree laying on the ground, after some strong winds. So time to start off some plum wine.

If you look back in this blog you can find the plum tree photo, all covered in flowers. It's has turned out to be a bumper crop this year, plenty for jams and pies still left on the tree.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Falls Of Foyers After The Rain

There's been a great deal of rain in the area for the past 48 hours, so today we went to see the Falls Of Foyers, a short drive from Dores.

It was spectacular, never seen so much water coming over the falls before.
















Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New shower heads, same great showers, less water

At Pottery House our Green Tourism Award and our ecologically safe practises are an important aspect of our business.

So recently we replaced all the shower heads in the house with Mira Eco Shower Heads. They work by aerating the water so you get the same volume and powerful water output, but they use up to 75% less water (and therefore the energy required to heat the water).

We trialed one of these is these in our own shower first and thought it was great, really didn't notice much difference, so now we've replaced all the shower heads in the guest en-suites too.

More details Daisy Green Magazine

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ness Express - New Boat Trip On Loch Ness


There's a new boat service on Loch Ness and the word is it's proving very popular.

It's a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) and runs every 2 hours from Fort Augustus to Urquhart Castle and back, about a 90 min trip.

More details on their web site Ness Express

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Continual Imrprovement At Pottery House

We're always looking to improve the service and quality at Pottery House, so this week we have had a credit card machine installed.

Although our online payments system has served us well we thought it time we took the extra step of accepting most major credit and debit cards at the house, making payment simpler for our guests.

Our online payments system will remain so guests can still view their bill online.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Raspberry and Gooseberry Jam

We're been to our favourite fruit farm this week and picked lots of fruit for jam making. Sadly we missed the strawberries, the farm owners told us they were two weeks earlier this year due to the fabulous weather we've had in the late Sprint and early Summer.

But we did pick basket of raspberries and two of red gooseberries. The jam is all made and we even had enough gooseberries to make a gallon of wine too.

Guests often ask if they can buy some of our jam, sadly we don't make enough to sell on, and what we do make is served each morning for breakfast. However it's not difficult to make and we're now added the recipe we use to the Recipes page of the Pottery House web site.
































The finished product.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More teapots addded to the colelction

Our teapot collection is well known, however until recently all our pots were large so if you wanted tea for one you beverage was served in a boring old white pot.

Not any more, recently a guest told us of a company that make and sell unusual pots and when we saw their web site we just couldn't resist.

SO the following two pots have now been added to our collection, and we love em.

Their web site is The teaPottery


Monday, July 13, 2009

Breakfast Room Rearranged

At Pottery House we're always pleased to receive guest feedback and as often as possible we implement changes as a consequence. Sometimes changes can be made very easily, others they take more time to organise.

Re-organising the dinning room has been a long term project, but at last we've made the changes some guests have asked for.

Until last Friday our dinning room had to tables, one for two people and one for four. This did mean that if we have 3 separate couples staying two couples had to share a table, not everyone was comfortable with this, and to be honest if we were staying somewhere we'd feel the same.

The problem with implementing a change has been obtaining square tables of a good size and quality that match the existing furniture. After a lot of searching on the Internet we finally found a supplier and the tables arrived early last week. On Friday when we had a day off we completely stripped the room down, put in the new tables and removed some items to give more space.

We now have 3 separate tables and more space to lay out items for breakfast. We think the room looks great. Hopefully you'll feel the same.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rhubarb and ginger jam

The jam making season is upon us again, and the first one of the season is rhubarb and ginger.

If you'd like to have a go the recipe we use is now on our web site.

Pottery House Web Site: Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Climbing Dun Dearduil

Went for a walk/climb with friends to the top of Dun Dearduil yesterday. A nice dry day here but some flashes of lightening in the distance.






Loch Ness across to Urquhart Castle
















Down Loch Ness towards Fort Augustus













On top of Dun Dearduil
















Down Loch Ness towards Fort Augustus

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dores Inn has lifejackets on the menu

The Dores Inn hosted a sea safety day with Loch Ness RNLI this weekend.

Dores beach was filled with spectators as the volunteers from Loch Ness RNLI carried out a simulated rescue and delivered a Sea Safety and Lifejacket awareness message.

There's more details on the Loch Ness RNLI web site


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Aqualega Success

We have many aqualega in the garden that come up every year, but they are mostly purple and white varieties so I wanted to grow something a bit more exotic.

So I grew Aqualega from seed last year, kept them in pots over the winter and planted them out this year. They've just started to flower, they are amazingly colourful.


Highlands Hotter Than Rhodes Today

Just seen the BBC weather forecast and it said that the Highlands was the warmest place in the UK today. In fact it was warmer than places like Rhodes and The Canaries. It has been a beautiful day.|


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Splash The Goldfish Joins the Pottery House Team

If you've stayed at Pottery House, especially if you are a tea drinker you're probably aware of our unusual teapot collection.

There are buses, post boxes, telephone boxes, teddy bears, snowmen, teapots with legs, a millenium teapot and even a house brick.

The latest addition to the Pottery House collection is "Splash The Goldfish"!!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Plum Jam 2009

Ok, it's not ready just yet.

However if you stayed at Pottery House between now and last October you've probably enjoyed some of our home made plum jam, but did you realise the plums came from the garden.

We have one tree, but last year we had so much fruit from it that we made pies, crumbles, jam and even two gallons of wine.

At the moment the tree is covered in beautiful white blossoms, so here's hoping for a bumper crop again this year.






Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Chicken Coop Roof
















For some time now we've been aware that the roof of the chicken coop was getting old and leaking a bit. Then over recent weeks it has started to colapse.

So we've been waiting for some good weather so we could get out there and replace it. Over the Easter weekend the sun has been shining, so yesterday we stripped the old roof away, reinforced the frame and put a new roof on.

Today we felted the roof to make sure it's water-proof.

And it looks great. Hope the chickens appreciate all the hard work.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Kitchen Changes At Pottery House

Not wanting to rest on our laurels, one area of Pottery House that we've wanted to improve for some time now is breakfast.

We get many positive comments about breakfast, and that's great, but we want to increase the choice and offer some more sophisticated options. However we are strongly against the idea used in many B&Bs of asking guests for breakfast choices the night before and intend sticking by that. As it says on our web site.......

"We don't know what we'll fancy for breakfast tomorrow, so we don't expect you to".

That brings with it a problem, although Pottery House was built for B&B the kitchen only had a standard 4 ring hob. Just cooking a full Scottish breakfast on this was challenging, especially when all 6 guests come down to breakfast at the same time, offering more complicated options was almost impossible.

There were other design issues with the kitchen, the oven was next to the fridge so the oven was trying to warm the fridge up and the fridge was trying to cool the oven down. Also the fridge was quite small limiting the amount of fresh produce we could store. And the electric Hob was very slow, making it take longer to prepare breakfasts.

However last week all changed. We now have a large American style fridge/freezer so we can store more produce and have a ready supply of filtered water and ice, for us and guests. And we have a large 7 ring gas range cooker (there was previously no gas at Pottery House).

It's proving a challenge getting used to the new set-up, not least because nothing is where you expect it to be. And the gas hob is very fast and far more responsive, I have managed to set the smoke detector off every morning this week so far (no burnt breakfasts I hasten to add).

Once things have settled down and we're used to the new set-up we will extend and improve our current breakfast menu.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Red Squirrels Are Now regular Visitors

We are delighted that the red squirrels are now regular visitors to the two feeders we have at Pottery House.

Most mornings they appear at breakfast time, much to the delight of many of our guests.
































Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Signs Of Spring

After we had almost 10 days of snow laying on the ground the Spring bulbs were very much on hold. But over the past week the temperatures have been up to 10 degrees C and the garden is making up for lost time.

First as always to burst into flower signalling the end of winter is the snowdrops. And this year they seem particularly prolific, even groups that we've dug up, split and spread out in other places seem to have grown well and are covered in white bell like flowers.

And it's not just us, they are flowering well in other peoples gardens too, and even appearing on grass verges and the Loch side where I've never noticed them before.

Such a welcome sight.






























Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dead wood bounty on bird reserve

We are "Friends Of Abernethy" donating to help preserve and expand this Scottish woodland.

It's good to see that the recent cold weather is having a positive effect in places.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7888898.stm

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Marmalade Time

It's that time of year again, when the seville oranges are in season so it's time to make marmalade for the coming season.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Land Of Narnia Found at Pottery House




After several days of various reports of a snow struck UK and not a flake in the Highlands, finally the snow reached us.....and what a beautiful day.

Here are a couple of photos, click to see full sized.

The full set of photos are on the Pottery House Photo Gallery at Pottery House Photo Gallery Snow Pictures 2009




The UKs Smallest Post Office Open Despite the Snow

Dores Post Office, reputed to be the smallest Post Office in the UK, was open as usual this morning despite heavy snow falls and road closures in the Highlands.

As much of the UK ground to a halt in the wintery conditions Lily King's office was open at the usual time this morning, ready for locals and visitors to Loch Ness alike.





Extraordinary Sunrise

On Sunday morning we had the strangest sunrise effect I've ever seen.

You see, the sun rises behind Pottery House, behind the hill, so we don't see the sunlight until it hits the hills on the other side of Loch Ness.

However on Sunday morning there was a particularly red sunrise, no big surprise in that, the strange thing was that above us was a single, very large cloud which reflected the red sunlight down on us. The effect was beautiful redy pink glow outside.

I first noticed the strange pink colour through the narrow bathroom window, so went out to investigate.

None of the following photos have been edited other that size/resolution.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pottery House wins 2nd travel award in 3 months

We are delighted to announce that this week the Internationally popular web site Tripadvisor.com have awarded us a "Travellers Choice 2009" award for "Best Inns and B&Bs, Europe", rating us as one of the top 5.

We are particularly pleased by this award as it is a direct result of the feedback left by our guests.

Thank you to all those that posted reviews on this web site.

Pottery House on Trip Advisor