Saturday 25 February 2012

A February Evening on Skye

It was my turn for evening dog-walk-duty today, but this afternoon, I became a bit involved in my work revising our B&B website (more news about that soon) so by the time I set off for Dunvegan Woods with Cupar, daylight was already beginning to fade.

We've had a delightfully calm and fairly mild and dry day here today, with occasional sunshine. Our walk up through the woods was lovely - a few shrubs are actually beginning to show green shoots of spring, though the leaf buds on the trees are still tight shut. Once out of the woods at the top of the hill, our path crosses open moor, with a wonderful view back to MacLeod's Tables - tonight they were mysteriously shrouded in swirls of cloud.

Cupar was having a great time sniffing for rabbits and deer (or whatever other imaginary creatures he sniffs for), but I eventually became aware that it was actually getting rather DARK, and we still had a mile or so to walk back through the woods to the van in the car park. So we came back down the path pretty briskly - it would not be fun to be in the woods in total darkness. There is a path - but there are some significant boggy patches to negotiate!

As we arrived back at the van, a distant insomniac blackbird was still singing, but the owls were beginning to hoot. However, Cupar insisted on having his usual game of 'fetch' with a tennis ball, so we played for a while, until the owl hooting became a chorus, and bats were silently fluttering about above us.

I still have to pinch myself sometimes to remember that the dream we live here is real.

Allotment news

I intend to make a big effort to post allotment updates in this blog this year, every time I do something major out there. The news today is that the seeds for this year's planting have arrived by mail order from Suttons . It is to be:

  • Onion - Sturon  (from sets). 
  • Cabbage - Kilaxy (a club-root resistant variety - club root seems to affect the whole plot, and I haven't yet grown a decent cabbage here)
  • Brussels sprouts - Crispus 
  • Broccoli - Ironman 
  • Swede - Invitation (also club root resistant, though I've not actually had a problem with swedes)
  • Carrot - Maestro
  • Broad Bean - The Sutton
  • Runner Bean - Best of All (Trying 'tall' runner beans this year - if we get a summer storm, they will probably blow over, but the dwarf ones don't seem to crop very well)
  • Potato, 1st early - Lady Christl (Another try to grow some really good 'new' potatoes...)
  • Potato, 2nd early - Maris Peer 
  • Potato, maincrop - Desiree (red potatoes which grow really well here)
Planting won't be starting for a wee while as the soil is still very wet and cold. I am supposed to be rebuilding the cold frame soon, as the existing one has rotted to the point where it is almost unusable. I just need to get myself motivated for that job! But all the brassicas started in the cold frame last year, and made good strong plants before planting them out, which was probably key to the excellent broccoli and sprout crop we had.

More to follow!

Thursday 23 February 2012

Soggy Skye

From the tourism point of view, I probably shouldn't say this - but we have had an awful lot of rain this winter....

Rivers and burns are flowing high, and our lawn squelches when I walk on it. Maybe it is a good sign that we will have a dry summer.....???

Monday 13 February 2012

Stunning Skye

I had the chance to get out for another walk yesterday - I just don't seem to get enough time for walking these days.

Ridiculous - I am supposed to be retired!

Anyway, I set off with a slightly ambitious route plotted on my GPS device, taking in a summit and a long walk through difficult boggy terrain to get to a bronze age souterrain or earth house. I knew this bit would be wet, because I've been there before, but with a flat camera battery... This time, I made sure I was able to get some pictures.

I'm pleased to report that I completed the 7 miles or so in a shade under four hours, with only slightly soggy feet, and will append a few of my pictures here. I will be posting about 50 more on Geograph, so if you want to see them all - they should all be there within a day or two. This is the link to my Geograph profile page:

Glen Bracadale - not a path, road or house in sight! (The little dot on the right is a ruined barn)!

View to Loch Bracadale from close to the top of Ben Duagrich

Entrance to the earth house - constructed some 4000 years ago.....!!!!!

A peep inside the entrance...

The route  back home.