Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tis The Season Of The Mince Pie

If you've stayed at Pottery House recently we hope you enjoyed the home made cupcakes we left in your room to greet you.

However it is Christmas so if you're staying over the festive season there's home made mince pies to welcome you.

Pottery House Home Made Mince Pies

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Storms Bring Dramatic Seas

It's great to see the frost and snow in the winter, but that's not the only excitement that winter brings.

Low pressure systems frequently rush across the Atlantic into Scotland bring strong winds and that means rough seas.

One such storm hit us a week or so ago, so we rushed out to the East cost and captured this photo at Burghead, between Naird and Lossiemouth.

Was so lucky to catch the sun going down behind the lighthouse.


Burghead

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Skimming Ice Across A Frozen Loch Tarff

Loch Tarff, on the road between Whitebridge and Fort Augustus is high in the hills and frequently completely freezes over during cold spells in the winter.

If you take a piece of ice and skim it across the surface it makes the strangest noise.


video

Friday, December 02, 2016

Follow Us On Pinterest

We love our photography and living in such a beautiful landscape means we have some great photos to share like the one below.

You can now see the best of our photos on Pinterest, see some of our winter photos using the link below.

Winter On Loch Ness



Loch ness From Dores Beach

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Predictions Of A Cold Winter

It's certainly started out as cold winter, even though we've not reached December yet. We've had many very cold mornings already with white on the grass and car.

We love the snow, we think it makes everywhere look beautiful, even Loch Ness which is stunning any time of year. And the Met Office this week are predicting a colder than usual winter in the UK, hopefully that means lots of snow in the highlands.

Met office

Here are a couple of fond memories of cold winter mornings around Dores beach and Pottery House.


View of Dores Beach from behind the Dores Inn

Behind The Dores Inn
Entrance To pottery House B&B

Loch ness

View from Dores Post Office, the smallest post Office In the UK

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winter Is Coming

We had hardly any frosts last winter at all, however this year here we are in mid November and it's white on the ground this morning.

And we've already seen snow on the tops of the mountains on the other side of Loch Ness from us.

The hens weren't so keep on the cold though, I threw a few food scraps out to them this morning, as I always do, and i was quite a while before they'd venture out of their house to investigate. Normally there's an undignified scramble to get out the hen house door when I throw something in their run.

Hopefully the sign of a cold, but sunny sunny winter to come.

First Frost Of The Year

Hens Not So Keep On The Frosty Mornings

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nothing Beats Home Made Jams, No... Wait, Yes It Does

If you've stayed at Pottery House I hope you've enjoyed our range of home made jams, but did you know that e grow most of the fruit too?

We have an allotment at the other end of Dores where we grow lots of produce, including fruits.

Our allotment with amazing views of Loch Ness


This year we've had a great crop of gooseberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and we've just started cropping the raspberries.

Red Gooseberries

Black Currants

Raspberries

Green Gooseberries

The Highlands of Scotland are well known for their quality soft fruits, due to the climate and the long hours of day light during the summer.
 
 Of course we have to make enough jam to last the year during the few weeks the fruit is in season, so it's a busy time and we like to make a few extra jars to sell because some people like to take some home.




If you've enjoyed the fresh flowers around the house many of them have come from the allotment too. Sweet peas are in abundance right now and the dahlias are just starting to bloom. Blue statice is a staple of our vases and looks great at the moment.

Blue Statice growing on the allotment
Sweet Peas






Saturday, July 23, 2016

Strawberry Jam Season

It's that lovely time of year when the soft fruits are in season and it's jam making time.

So far we've only made strawberry, with delicious fruits from Tollie Fruit farm, but there are gooseberries and blackberries ripening quickly on our allotment with the promise of raspberries to come.

We have a few jars for sale to guests, so don't forget to buy one when you check out.


Pottery House Home Made Strawberry Jams

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Online Deposit Payment System

We're pleased to announce a major change to our online booking system, making booking your stay with us quicker and simpler.

We used to take online payments for deposits through PayPal, but this was complicated to use, asked you the guest lots of unnecessary questions and was expensive for us.

We've now replaced this with secure online card processing company called Stripe, much easier to use and gives us much more scope for improvements to our system in the future.

Now when you click the "Pay Deposit" button you'll see this simple screen. Enter your details, click and you'll get a screen confirming your payment has been processed. Of course we'll still send a confirmation email.

If you want more information please contact us. 



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beautiful Day On Loch Ness

It's really been a beautiful week on Loch Ness this week. Clear blue skies most of the time and the Spring flowers are really coming through.

The countryside is covered is primroses at this time of year and they're looking spectacular all over the hills and even along the road sides here on South Loch Ness.



Another flower which covers the ground this time of year is the Wood Anemone, their tiny white flowers are all over the place at the moment, even in the garden here at Pottery House. 

 
Wood Anemone



And looking spectacular against the blue sky is the gorse.




#scotland #wildflowers #scotspirit #travel #tourism #flowers #lochness #southlochness #highlands

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Crazy Nest Site

We often get birds nesting in the garden, in bushes, in the woodshed, even in the Ceanothus under kitchen window.

However this year a black bird has chosen a very strange site. She's nesting on top of the gas tank round the back of the house. I guess it's a perfect site as it's very secluded and the gas tank is too smooth for any critter to climb up. Just seems  a very weird site.

Bird Nesting On A Gas Cylinder

Bird Nesting On A Gas Cylinder
 #lochness #birdnest

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Daffs Are Out

The Daffs are out, not only in the garden but all through the village of Dores. They're looking spectacular this year.







#daffodils, #spring #lochness #southlochness #scotland #scotspirit

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Sound Of South Loch Ness






This is what South Loch Ness sounds like. It's beautiful, amazing wildlife, but mos of all it's far from the busy A82 road and the tourist traps.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Faster Internet Now At Pottery House

It has finally happened, we've been waiting a long time for this, but as of this morning we have a fibre broadband link so we're now getting 50-60mb internet instead of the previous 5-6mb.

So, much improved internet access for all.

Wifi has always been free at Pottery House and now we have a faster link it will stay free.

We always travel with our ipads, so we know how much guests value a good wifi.


Over the next week or so we'll be implementing a new wifi network to give a better signal throughout the house and putting streaming services on all the TV in the guest rooms, so you'll will be able to watch BBC Iplayer, Netflix, etc through the TV. 

Faster Broadband Now Available

Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Hens Arrive At Pottery House

We love those free range fresh eggs from our own hens and we know our guests do by the comments we get, especially about their bright golden yolks.

Our previous hens were getting quite old and not laying many eggs, so as our plans were to be away quite a bit last winter, come the end of October we gave them away. Don't worry, they were given to people that wanted them as pets, not for the pot.

So we've been hen-less since, buying our eggs from a local farm instead, until last week when ten new hens arrived. Before that though their coop needed some work.

Hen house all cleaned and repaired ready for new arrivals

The lids on the nest boxes and the feed hopper (on the left) were both rotten, so we completely rebuilt them. The whole hen house has also been cleaned all ready for the new arrivals.

New hens arrive but they're still shy

The new hens arrived a week ago, usually they are quite timid but this flock are a lot more brave, very quickly settling in to their new home. Normally we'd keep them locked in for a week to get them but as this lot were quite brave we let them out after a couple of days. They're a little skittish but gradually exploring more and more of their run. 


First egg appears, seems everyone wants to take credit for it


Then yesterday we found our first egg, a bit small but they always are at first. Looking forward to lots more soon. 




Friday, March 25, 2016

Freshly Baked Rolls Every Morning

Pottery House Buttermilk Rolls



Guests were saying the other morning how lovely the Buttermilk Rolls are that we served that day with breakfast. The buttermilk gives them a lovely tang, a bit like sour dough.

They asked for the recipe, so I said I would add it here for others as well, so here we go.





For six rolls as you see in the photo, made in a bread machine...


200ml Buttermilk
1 tbs honey
1 tbs sunflower oil
190g white bread flour
100g wholemeal bread flour
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp easy blend yeast

Put all the ingredients in the bread machine and put on the "Dough" program. I think it's a good idea to check the dough during mixing, it should form a sticky ball in the machine, if it's too wet add a little flour, if too dry add some water. This is quite important as producing the best bread is reliant on the dough moisture content.

Once complete, split the dough into  6, you can then either roll into balls or put into silican mini loaf pans, cover with oiled cling film and place somewhere warm to rise, for about 45 mins to an hour.

Then sprinkle with flour and put in the over at 180c fan for 20 minutes until nicely browned.








Monday, March 14, 2016

Beautiful Spring Morning On Loch Ness

It's a stunning day here on Loch Ness today, first proper day of spring.

Clear blue skies, crocus and mini daffs are out and it's quite warm in the spring sunshine.

Took these photos at the bottom on our drive this morning on the way to visit The Dores Post Office.




Friday, February 26, 2016

Winter Refresh Ready For The New Season

Winter is a quiet time for B&B guests, so it's when we do all our tasks to keep the place in tip-top condition.

New Carpet

Biggest change this winter is new carpet through the hall, stairs and landing. The old burnt orange had a certain character to it, but it was getting worn and dirty in places, especially on the stairs. It was also dark for what is quite a dark space anyway.

New hall carpet looks bright, clean and modern.
It's now been replaced by a much lighter gray carpet throughout and we think it looks brilliant.



New hall carpet looks bright, clean and modern.





En suite Refresh

That's not the only change though, the en suite on the large double room has had an upgrade, a brand new sink with stylish cascade mixer tap and new flooring. The flooring we are particularly please with as it looks marvelous.

New sink and flooring in the large double en suite. 

New Hens

Our hens were getting on a bit and not laying as much as they once did, so at the end of last year they all went to good, new homes. Our new pullets arrive in a couple of weeks, just in time for Easter, although as they'll only be 17 weeks old I don't think we'll have eggs from them by then.

Maintenance

There's been lots of odd jobs needed doing too, extractor fan needed replacing in one en suite, shaver socket was broken in another. All the rooms have new kettles, they are smaller so more suitable for one or two persons and therefore more energy efficient. All the house signs and room information books have been reprinted as they get worn and faded over the year.

And last but not least, there's a brand new welcome mat at the front door.


Be sure to book soon to avoid disappointment at our website Pottery House Loch Ness B&B


Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Quick Cheat Orange Marmalade Recipe

It's the time of year that the Seville Oranges are in the shops, so it's a great time to make home made marmalade.



The only problem is slicing up all those oranges is slow and tedious, so I want to share with you my recipe for  a cheat method. You get a more chunky marmalade, not so clear, but it still tastes the same.

It wont win any awards, but it takes a lot less effort and tastes just as good.

For approx. 8 jars of marmalade you'll need

Ingredients
  • 1.6kg Seville Oranges
  • 4 lemons
  • 2kg Preserving Sugar
Equipment

  • hand blender
  • preserving pan
  • jam funnel 
  • jam jars

Here we go:

6. Roughly chop the peel and put in the pan
  1. Put the oranges and lemons in a large saucepan, ideally a preserving pan, cover with water. Bring to the boil and then boil gently for 2 hours. Allow to cool, leaving overnight is fine. 
  2. Put a plate in the freezer
  3. Take the fruit out of the pan and throw away the water. Put a fine kitchen seive over the preserving pan.
  4. Cut the oranges and lemons in half and then gently scoop out the centre into the seive. You want to get out all the pips, but you don't want to scrape out more than is necessary. 
  5. Put the pips and gunge into the seive, slice the rind into rough pieces, about 8th's is fine and then put in the pan. 
  6. Squeeze the pip gunge through the sieve until as much of it as possible is in the pan, I find running a soup ladle  round is the easiest way (keep the ladle out, you'll need it later).  Throw what's left of the pips away.
  7. Add the sugar to the pan and put over a low/medium heat until the sugar has all melted. 
  8. Now using the hand blender chop up the peel, just give very short bursts, as a large piece surfaces hit it with a quick burst of the blender. Do this until there are no more large pieces left, but be careful, you don't want to end up with orange soup, you want a good even mix of small pieces. 
    8. Use the blender to chop the peel into small pieces, the size is really your choice. 

    8. Once chopped it should have this sort of consistency
  9. Now bring up to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Put your clean jars into the over on 100c.
  10. Test for setting point: To do this get the plate out of the freezer, drop a blob onto the plate and leave for a minute. Then push it with your finger, if it wrinkles up it's ready, if not put the plate back in the freezer, boil the marmalade for another 5 minutes and try again. Repeat as nceessary.
  11. 11. Pour into hot jars and seal. 



  12. Pour into hot jars, put on lids and once cool label and store. 


Of course there's an easier way to obtain home made marmalade, we have a few extra jars so you can buy one to take home when you stay at Pottery House Loch Ness B&B.




Thursday, January 28, 2016

New basin In The Large Double Room

Lots of people have said to us that they would prefer mixer taps in the bathrooms, we agree.

So when we updated the en-suites of the front double rooms we put in new sinks. It was just the large double room to do.

So this week we've put a new sink in there. It's got the same "cascade"tap that we put in the other two rooms because we think they're stylish and great fun. The new sink is a wide style with a large flat area all the way round, lots of space to put bits and bobs.

We think it looks great, hope our guests like it too.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

First With Quality, First With Technology

At Pottery House we believe in good old fashioned quality.

Quality beds and bedding, quality showers, quality breakfasts and quality service, but that doesn't mean we have to be old fashioned. In fact often Pottery House leads the way.

We were one of the first B&Bs in the area to:

  • make online booking available through our website
  • make free wifi available to our guests
  • install wall sockets with USB charging ports in our guest rooms for phones and tables. 
Now we're at it again. We've just installed Internet streaming service on the TV in the Front Double Deluxe room.

Now you can relax in your room and enjoy UK TV Catch-up services such as BBC Iplayer, ITV Hub and 4 OnDemand on the room TV. There are also free Movie and TV services.

Why only 1 room???  Partly because we want to try this Streaming device and get some feedback from guests before we put in the other rooms and partly because our Internet speed is limited at the moment to 8Mb and this would struggle with Media streaming in all the rooms.

However in the next few weeks SuperFast Broadband is due to arrive in Dores and as soon as it does we'll not only make it available to guests via our free wifi but we'll also implement media streaming in all the guest rooms.

 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Dores Inn Closing For Work

If you are thinking of visiting Pottery House over the next week please be aware that the Dores Inn will be closed for work on the kitchen.

We are happy to recommend other restaurants in the area if you are thinking of visiting, just drop us an email when you book.