Showing posts from 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

And looking spectacular against the blue sky is the gorse.

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

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.

 #lochness #birdnest

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

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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 th…

Freshly Baked Rolls Every Morning

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 ris…

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.

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.

It's now been replaced by a much lighter gray carpet throughout and we think it looks brilliant.

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 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 do…

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

1.6kg Seville Oranges4 lemons2kg Preserving SugarEquipment

hand blenderpreserving panjam funnel jam jars
Here we go:

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. Put a plate in the freezerTake the fruit out of the pan and throw away the water. Put a fine kitchen seive over the preserving pan.Cut the oranges and lemons in half and then gently scoop out the centre into the seive. You want to …

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.

Winter Loch Ness

Even in the winter Loch Ness and Dores Bea ch is still magnificent.

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 websitemake free wifi available to our guestsinstall 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 s…

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.