What’s New

Sea glass and dolphins

Back in October 2017, I posted ‘The Best Place to Spot Dolphins’. I went back on the weekend to combine a walk along the beach with sea glass hunting! I was accompanied by an expert from America as I had never been sea glass exploring before.

Sea glass is bottles, jars and glass that have unfortunately ended up in the sea, but have been worn by the waves into beautiful gems. Find a good pebbly beach to collect these beach gems – and there is no shortage around here!  What I like about it, is sea glass is made by man but refined by nature. The sea takes our pollution and turns it into amazing little pieces of treasure. It can take many years to do this. You can also find ceramics too.

There are many beaches in our area which are great for sea glass hunting.  We found our haul over on Rosemarkie Beach, by Chanonry Point.  My American expert was overwhelmed by her lode! She found some incredibly interesting pieces.

Our sea glass haul

While she was hunting the glass, I was hunting the dolphins with my camera. One hour after low tide is the best place to spot them. Chanonry Point is (officially) one of the best places in the world to spot Bottlenose dolphins. There has been lots of dolphin activity recently, so there was a large crowd gathering. I was only there for about 45 minutes and saw a lot! Sadly, I didn’t capture any full-body breaching, but I will be back!

Capturing the dolphins on film

Cruising up Loch Ness

Yesterday was a fantastic good weather day. The sun was out and it was in the low 20’s. Bright blue, cloudless skies. We decided to get on to the water and do a cruise of Loch Ness. There are a few options with Jacobite Cruises. From a 2 hour cruise through the Caledonian Canal and onto Loch Ness. To a 4 hour cruise which lets you off at Urquhart Castle. With the time we had, we decided to do the 2 hour Freedom Cruise.

The cruise departs from Clansman Harbour, which is only about a 20 minute drive from Pinewood, via Abriachan. This two hour adventure includes a 1 hour return cruise across Loch Ness. And then a hop ashore one hour visit of the castle. We did find though that one hour at the castle wasn’t quite enough. So, you may decide to do the Rebellion cruise, which gives you 2 hours there. Our cruise was £22 per person.

The Jacobite Cruise boat arriving at the Clansman Harbour

Setting off from the habour, the haar (a Scottish word for fog or mist) was settling across the loch.  It made for a very eerie cruise. But we broke through it out the other side and gained our first sighting of the castle. This time of year (May), the boat was full but there was plenty of room up and below deck. We were on the deck so we could easily walk around and get photos.

All aboard!

I’d been to Urquhart Castle before but it was great getting a view from the loch!

Arriving at Urquhart Castle

Whilst at the castle, I also jumped in on one of the free Guided Tours. It’s a 30 minute guided tour of the castle and its history.

The tour guide at Urquhart Castle

But be cautious if you do this during your 1 hour cruise stop here. You don’t get much time at the end to finish wandering around before you have to get back onboard.  So much sure you visit the Great Tower before the tour starts and not leave it til after the guided tour.

Docking at the castle

This is a great little trip out. They sell refreshments and tourist goodies on the boat.  And back at the harbour, you could visit the Clansman Hotel for a spot to eat, an ice cream, or a look around their shop.

Sadly, we didn’t see Nessie this time!

 

 

 

 

The veg garden is up and running!

I am pleased to say that after much hard work (and some help from a local landscape gardener), the veg garden and seating area is almost done! Now, to be honest, this will be private space for our own use going forward. But we plan to make the veg and fruit available for our guests. This will be in exchange for a wee donation which will go towards a local animal sanctuary.

The veg area

This area used to be very boggy, overgrown and uneven.  Much drainage work has gone in to make it less wet.  The digger has done a great job in levelling it off. And instead of being overgrown, it’s now a landscaped secure garden area. Secure to keep the deer out, and the dogs in while I’m working in there!

The new seating area in the enclosed garden

In the four veg plots, I am trying to grow a variety of veg. This include potatoes, onions, leeks, kohl rabi, different lettuces, celeriac, carrots, round cabbage, chard, broad bean, beetroot and spinach. It’s quite exposed and windy up on our hill so we’ll have to see how it goes.  The seating and surrounding area is still being planted but already has an array of herbaceous perennials, azaleas and heathers. We’ve got some honeysuckle and clematis along the pergola too, and some hardy roses. Fruit bushes include cranberry, redcurrant, blackberry and gooseberry.

From what used to be a mess, this is a beautiful area now, taking in those stunning views that we are so lucky to have.

The view from the new enclosed garden area