Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Snowy Knoydart.

Lots of wind, snow and sleet at Knoydart today, but I went on a circuit with the local ranger and found out a lot about this highly successful community owned peninsula. The main thing to say is that it is environmentally sustainable and very successful. 
There is a lot of dark history to the area as well. The clearances decimated the peninsula, which at it's height had 2000 people living here. When the community foundation took over there were 50 people, now there are 100 and growing.
In 1934, Lord Brocket moved in and became a Nazi sympathiser. There is a momonument he left to his family and himself still standing on the island. More recently, his grandson has appeared on 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here.' He has also been done for fraud.
In the afternoon, I painted Nevis bay and surrounding mountains and there are marks where the snow flakes fell. Luckily there is a magnificent log cabin in which I sheltered when a(nother) squall came through.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Out Walking on Knoydart

The clouds were low and menacing so we decided to take a walk along the coast to Doune. We managed to keep out of most of the occassional flurry of sleet and snow because we were sheltered from the prevailing wind by the mountains. After walking about an hour we decided to let Harvey off the lead. Bad Mistake! Just as we took the lead off, three magnificent stags trotted over the road ahead of us. Harvey's nature took over, he ran away up the hill and disappeared. Over the next hour and three quarters Ben and I walked up the nearest hills to try and find him, to no avail. It was beginning to get a bit desperate because the mountains around there are big and he had done a real runner. Not only that but the snow had decided to get serious. Just as I was thinking we would have to go back to Inverie and ask people to keep an eye out for him, I spotted him from my high vantage point, trotting along the road back towards where he had run off. I gave him a good telling off, but it was tinged with a feeling of the return of the prodigal son.
After that we all went for a very long walk along some magnificent coastline and then across a track between the mountains, it never let off with the sleet and snow all day.

Monday, 29 March 2010


Harvey, Ben and I are staying at the bunkhouse at Inverie in Knoydart. Although the weather forcast for the UK is very cold and snow, we have got the very cold but we traveled up her in glorious sunshine. We made Callender and bacon rolls by 9.30 and Mallaig by 1.15. A quick crossing on the ferry and here we are in a magical place and the bunk house even has heating.
Within thiry  minutes of arriving Harvey and his new friend Penny, the Beagle were running around Long beach (5 mins from the bunkhouse) and jumping in and out of the river Inverie . Later we went up into the hills behind Inverie and I have not listened to such peace for a long time. Tomorrow looks set for a long walk, either up a Munroe or along the coast, depending on the weather!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

What to do on Sunday, if you can't run or bike

Missed out on the Lasswade 10 today, due to a sore back… naturally, it was perfect weather, which can’t be said for the cross country races I took part in over the winter. My own fault - I should say ‘no thanks’ when someone asks me to help them lift a glass fronted book shelf up the stairs of their new house. Up to now, I have had two remedial massages and I’m on the ibuprofen. I will get another massage next week, but I guess that I'll have to wait for it to heal.

Still, at least it has given me time to do other things. Today I did some painting, which turned out to be therapeutic. I also took my dad to North Berwick and Harvey along the beach. They both had a great time and it just shows that being injured gives you more time for other things.

Harvey has been having an eventful time… no change there! On Saturday we were in Victoria Park, Leith. He was hell bent on chasing around with other dogs and in that neck of the woods there is a lot to choose from. I thought that a little discipline was in order, so in the afternoon we did a ‘Stay’ session. Harvey excelled himself. He stayed where I told him too, and only came to me when I told him too. Today’s walk on the beach went well and he behaved well. I have to take into account that he has vast amounts of energy and wants to run and run. Finding the right dog for him to run with is the secret.

CAFÉ CAFÉ… On the way home from North Berwick we called in at the Sunflower Café, East Fortune. I’ve never been there before. It is at the far end of the Garden Centre and judging by the number of people at the tables, it's a popular place. I stood in the queue and was soon rewarded with a delicious tray bake and a perfect filter coffee with the option of hot milk. Prices are reasonable and the outlook through the window over the fields is good.
Just outside our window, two partridge type birds pecked about, I wondered if we were watching them eat or they were watching us. The menu looks good and the place is well worth a visit