Friday 25 March 2011

Tucked away

Without question, without doubt, and with absolute certainty, the weather always, always gets better the day after our visitors have left.
At the bottom of our garden there is a track that runs along the side of the loch. Much of it overgrown and a tangle of fallen trees. If I turn right and follow the track along towards the head of the loch after a very short time
I arrive here at this dear little cottage - I think it's empty. It may be a holiday cottage, but it will certainly belong to someone
It's tucked away alongside the remains of a ruin that may have been a fisherman or crofter's cottage.
I don't know this tree, but it's bursting with cones
But, what I really love about this little corner, hidden from view and unexpected,  is the waterfall. It starts back at the top of the hill, and fairly thunders its way over rocks and gullies, stopping for nothing, on its way to reach the loch.
The sun, confident now our friends have gone, dances on the water.

The waterfall, in tremendous hurry, unable to stop, keeps flowing.
It is beautiful
and only minutes from the back garden. I guess the weather makes the difference.This is what I wanted our friends to see. They've said they're coming back, so, the sun may come out and shine, or it might do as it usually does when friends arrive - stay indoors!

Thursday 24 March 2011

Low tide

A recent, bigger full  moon has meant an extra  low tide. Fifteen centimetres might not seem much, but it was enough to uncover lots of little creatures lurking down at the edge of the sea
We met Lindsey,  a ranger employed by the Highland Council. And with our nets and pots, buckets and books, and Lindsey's knowledge of sea creatures
we got our heads down and got stuck in
Ulla, Lindsey's dog, (also seen here) was well behaved and enjoyed rummaging about on the shore too. And no harm came to any creature in the taking of this picture!
 A star fish, quite a large one, on his back so we could see all his tiny tentacles
A butter fish, because he's so slippery to try and pick up. A little bit like an eel but with a very flat body
His proper name, but I can't pronounce it, 'Pholis gunnellus' is a bit of a mouth full. He was tiny and very very quick and vanished in a flash when put back  in  the sea  at the end of the afternoon.
A tray of delights.
But, it was getting cold on the beach. We were with friends who had come up from Somerset to visit us for a few days. Somerset, where, I understood  it was slightly warmer than here!
On the way back up the beach  to the warmth of the car, we took a look at this wee little chapel. The Chapel of Sand believed to have been founded  at the time of St. Columba in the 7th century but this present building, I think, dates from the early 18th century.
 One of the most intact roofless chapels in the highlands it may be,  but it still needs a bit of propping up
And on the drive home, and on cue, what could be more iconic than this 'Highland Coo' waiting patiently by the side of the road for our visiting friends. He posed for photos with an air of bemusement! 

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Gone shopping.

I've been a bit quiet of late. Not much on the blogging front. I have spent the last week  with a paintbrush and a grouting tool and a tub of tile adhesive. But the shower room is now complete - and  pictures will  follow.
today has been wonderful. Big, bright bold and sunny.
And it's time to do the weekly shop. I think I must  have one of the best drives to the shops ever.
We've had a little bit of snow recently. But I want to reassure family and friends who email and phone us,  that we are not stuck in the frozen north! We do have the sunshine from time to time and the roads are passable. Today the 'pothole menders'  were out in force. The shops are stocked and the shelves are full - apart from vacuum packed chestnuts I noticed were missing today on the shelves in Tescos! People must be stocking up  in case they can't get out to the shops between now and next Christmas!
As I drove home again, I listened to the radio, and the presenter said what a horrible gloomy day it was and looking at the weather map he could see the only place with some sun appeared to be in Dorset. The rest of the country was covered in cloud.  I should just like to correct that and point out that it was also jolly nice here too!

Sunday 6 March 2011

Going down!

Enough is enough! I'm tired of splashing paint about. Yesterday I decided to go out in the garden. I'm tackling the dreaded rushes that need digging out. I dug out three, possibly four before giving in and coming down here to the bottom of the garden.
It's been ages since I've been down here. The roof on the summer residence has well and truly caved in!
A little bit of touching up needed here.
But I'm not doing house work today. I carry on, down to the shore
There is a lump of rock that sticks out at the bottom of the garden, and when the tide is out it reveals  its stunning and quite beautiful colours. I'm sure the colours intensify with each year.
These are straight out of the camera. No amount of post processing could improve on these incredibly vibrant colours. Sorry, I know I waffle on a bit. I just wonder what causes it - not my waffling, but what sort of chemical reaction happens to produce these rich luminous hues?  
A few days ago we were at the top of the hill, and now I'm  at the bottom.
 My lens cap could work it's way down here I suppose and nestle in amongst the shells
I do feel incredibly lucky to have all  this at the bottom of the garden. The crofters living here had peat at the top of the hill to burn and seaweed at the bottom to fertilize the land. It truly is paradise at times, especially when it isn't raining!
But the rain and wind and sleet and snow fade into a distant memory on a day such as this.

I'm almost certain that these ducks are red-breasted merganser. I've not seen them before, and my fuzzy photo and lack of a zoom lens made them difficult to identify. But they are common here in the highlands and will breed on sea lochs. I could just make out a fuzzy crest on the male. When the loch is calm it's a great opportunity for wild life spotting. I've still yet to see my first otter - but I know they are here.
Tomorrow, I'm grouting the shower room tiles, but when it gets a bit much I can always retreat down here!
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