Monday 31 October 2016

A Little Break

With the visitor season slowing down at last, Sue and I have booked ourselves a couple of very short breaks to give ourselves a change of scene. We made the first of these trips last week, staying at the rather lovely Bunchrew House Hotel just outside Inverness. Cupar gets to have his break in the Portree kennels... The hotel stands in large wooded grounds on the shore of the Beauly Firth. Our room (in the tower, just above the front door) faced the gardens, but breakfast in the dining room gave us views over the firth. We travelled in Puss Kat the Jaguar of course - what a fabulous vehicle!

Puss and Sue at Bunchrew
On our first day, we parked on the outskirts of Inverness and enjoyed a lovely walk all along the banks of the River Ness into the city centre, where we spent a couple of hours exploring the little museum and art gallery - which is definitely worth a visit if you find yourselves with a couple of spare hours in the city centre!

Next day, with the weather very much in our favour, we headed out to Fortrose (not far away) where we viewed the cathedral ruins, then embarked on a six-mile circular walk which took in Chanonry Point, the village of Rosemarkie, a bit of Rosemarkie's Fairy Glen, and the hill over Swallow's Den.
We later had a little wander around the small town of Beauly with its wonderful Abbey ruins. Sue took more photos than me, so I may add some of hers later.

Fortrose Cathedral, lychgate, built 1922 as a war memorial 

Chanonry Point lighthouse.
The point is reckoned to be the best place in the UK for dolphin-spotting
 - but the dolphins were in hiding while we were there.
Rosemarkie village - yes, I managed to pass the pub without pausing...

Fairy Glen - the autumn colour was fabulous, and a dipper (bird) serenaded us with the most beautiful of songs

View from Swallows Den.
We had walked from Fortrose (on the right), to the point, then to Rosemarkie (on the left), and were now heading back to the start. 

Next trip - in a couple of week's time - Dundee!

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Skye For Sale...?

Two of our good friends on Skye currently have their homes on the market, and it sometimes seems like almost everywhere on Skye is for sale. I guess it is a reflection of the constant flow of people moving here and moving away. Sure, Skye has its long-term residents - some who have lived here all their lives - but incomers come and go with an almost predictable regularity.

So, is it time for you to relocate to Skye? Well, property prices here tend to rise all time - just like most other places – so now is as good-a time as any. Here, though, the increase in prices is quite slow, and incomers from many parts of the UK will find prices lower than they are ‘back home’. Some properties here take a long time to sell. For example – there are a number of businesses for sale in Dunvegan just now, including a shop, a garage with adjoining cafĂ©, and several guest house/B&Bs. All have been on the market for at least a year. It seems that the properties which sell fastest are what I would describe as ‘little gems’ – small (2-bedroom) traditional cottages in decent condition, with great views, and priced well under £200,000.

There are three estate agents on Skye – Remax in Broadford, and The Isle of Skye Estate Agency and Skye Property Centre in Portree. On their books currently are quite a number of properties for sale, with habitable residential properties from under £100,000 to about £450,000 - and you get a lot of house at the top end of the price range! At these prices, it makes buying a plot and having a new house built look like rather an expensive option. There is a severe shortage of long-term rental property however – I get quite frequent enquiries through this blog for help or suggestions with finding rental property. Just now none of the Skye agents have ANY rental properties on offer. Maybe it a good time for anyone with £££s to spend, and keen on property management, to buy-up a few good houses for the long-let rental market?