Saturday 31 May 2014

Mountain Dog

I had the chance for a walk on the hills in South Skye this afternoon, but it was quite warm, and I had Cupar with me. I didn't fancy leaving him in the van while I walked in case he got too hot, so I decided to keep a very wary eye open for sheep on the hills, and to take him with me.

Boy, did he have fun! My GPS track showed that I walked about six miles. I reckon Cupar did at least twice that, and most of the time he was running, not walking. But even he seemed to appreciate the views... (click on any picture to view full-size).

'I like it here, I can run and run and run and ...'
Shall I have a swim...???'
'I've been cooling off in a peat bog'
'Just drying my face'
He's not in this picture, but I thought you might like to see the view!

Thursday 22 May 2014

A Blog-Reader Visits

I have been aware for some time that this blog is read by people all over the world. A few of the followers have stayed in our cottages, and one or two people have visited Roskhill while they are visiting Skye. The latest visit to here from a blog-reader was just yesterday.

This is Zak, here on Skye all the way from Oklahoma City in the USA. Zak first contacted me a couple of years ago, when he was planning a 'trip of a lifetime' somewhere in the world, and had discovered pictures of Skye (and this blog) on the internet. We were in touch by email from time to time, and now he has finally fulfilled his dream, and is here right now. He is a thoughtful and most interesting young man, with a philosophy of life which belies his tender early-twenties age.

Zak is travelling alone and independently with no definite plan of where to go or how long to stay where-ever he finds himself. He is back-packing, and wild-camping. Unfortunately, his visit to Skye has coincided with some windy and wet weather, which is definitely not the best weather for outdoor living, especially for someone who is used to a rather warmer climate than here in the Scottish Highlands. He is thinking of heading for somewhere a bit warmer and drier...

Zak is keeping a log of his travels in a blog called A Story Adrift. (Click on the title to open link). I wish him well with his adventure, and hope that maybe before he heads back home to the USA that he can fit in another visit to Skye, when he just might find some sunshine...

Monday 12 May 2014

Allotment News - Spring 2014

I haven't posted much about the allotment this year. Well, it's all doing fine. The spring weather has been much kinder this year than in 2013, with milder temperatures, less rain and no strong winds. This has made earlier planting possible, and all the seeds have been in for a week or two now. Unfortunately, my photos will show very little growth, as only tiny shoots are showing above the ground at the moment. (Click on a picture to view full-size). Oh yes, and I know the strawberries need weeding... maybe today....

What can be seen though, is that I have replaced most of the timber edging to the beds. When I first took on the allotment (it was pretty much wild then) I discovered that the beds had been edged with timber, though most of it was very rotten. Keeping the grass paths neat is certainly easier with an edge, and it also allows me to plant closer to the edge of the bed. I have use some reclaimed timber, and bought a few lengths of decking, which seems to do the job quite well.

The other difference from previous years, is that the 'wild' area on the river side of the plot is now somewhat under control. I removed a fence during the winter, and am hoping I can keep the weeds under control a bit better by managing the wild area, and only allowing what I want there to flourish. There are a lot of bluebells in flower over there at the moment.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Do You Post Reviews?

/Minor rant

Almost every time you buy something online these days, a day or two later, you get an email asking you to review your purchase. I almost never respond, though I tend to leave feedback on ebay purchases, because then I am generally reviewing the service provided by the seller rather than the actual item that I have bought.

The popular trend for online customer reviews possibly began with reviews for accommodation, with Trip Advisor being one of the biggest names in the accommodation review marketplace. Bogus posts on Trip Advisor are allegedly commonplace, though I do not wish to discuss that issue in my blog. We do not actively encourage our visitors to post on Trip Advisor, or on any other review website, but post they do, and we do have reviews on Trip Advisor. (TA don't do self catering cottages, but Roskhill Barn B&B is here). We get cottage reviews on the website of our online booking system - Freetobook. There are links to these reviews from the home page of each of our cottage websites.
Loch View Cottage - website
So, what is useful in an accommodation review? For the owner, it is good to hear that people have enjoyed a stay in one of our properties. Potential visitors will certainly be pleased to learn that the accommodation is clean and that the owner is friendly, and information about local things to do or places to visit might be useful. Recommendations about places to eat are, in my opinion, less useful, as eating out is a matter of taste (pun intended) and what is perfect for one visitor might be completely unsuited to the next.

We value all feedback, and constructive criticism is welcome, but if you find something minor that you think is wrong - we would much prefer that you speak to us straight away so we can deal with the issue for you, rather than putting up with a problem for the duration of your stay and then writing all about it in your review.

/Rant over