Archive for the ‘Skye and Beyond’ Category

Red Moon

January 29, 2019

I mentioned a special trip that we took last summer aboard Red Moon, and I said at the time that she deserved a post all of her own! So here we are! If you’re planning a visit to Skye this year, or even if you live on, or nearby the island, with maybe something to celebrate, then you could enjoy a wonderful experience aboard Red Moon, with very special hosts, Scott and Mary. They are a professional yacht crew, with many years experience, and are passionate about sharing their love of the scenery, history and wildlife of this small part of the world.


They provide bespoke cruises; anything from a lunch cruise, a night at anchor or a lengthier cruise around Skye, the Small Isles and Scottish West Coast. Red Moon is a vessel which is lovingly maintained, both outside and in. Inside she is furnished both practically and tastefully.

The first time we stepped aboard, was in 2017, to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. We chose the ‘Night at Anchor’ short cruise, departing from Kyle of Lochalse , (just over the bridge from Skye), mid afternoon and sailing to a sheltered bay on the west coast of the mainland. The weather wasn’t great so we couldn’t eat outdoors, but the stylish,  pristine galley was a lovely venue to sample Mary’s superb cuisine. She takes great pride in providing dishes using fresh, mainly locally sourced ingredients, which she obviously prepares with great care. We stayed in the bay overnight, returning to Kyle by lunchtime the following day after a delicious breakfast.


Our second cruise however, the weather was clear and hot. Kevin even braved the chilly waters! Scott took us ashore for some pre-dinner beach combing and on this occasion, conditions were perfect for some alfresco dining!

We were anchored in Loch Kishorn, just off the West Coast, our view towards the mountains, which embrace the Pass of the Cows, the spectacular route to Applecross which we regularly recommend to guests at Garybuie.

WOW!

 

A truly wonderful experience, with delightful scenery, accommodation, food – and of course, company!

Our return the following day was equally stunning, seeing the Skye Bridge from a totally different perspective than our more usual view atop four (or two!) wheels!

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A brief 2018 re-cap and looking forward…

January 17, 2019

I’ll begin by wishing you a belated Happy New Year and hoping that this won’t be the only post from Garybuie for 2019! This feels a bit deja vue-ish I have to admit, but I always start out with good intentions and then proceed to get swallowed up by major refurbishment projects, followed by increasingly busy B&B seasons. However, the D.I.Y issues were completed before Christmas this year, so I now have until the 1st April to re-charge my batteries, with a couple of time-saving plans thrown into the B&B mix!

2018 was another busy year in terms of visitors, April now being the only month when our three rooms aren’t filled pretty much every day. We also had a successful chicken breeding program, using both our incubator as well as the services of our ever helpful Silkies! Bruce was responsible for most of our season’s chicks, although in other respects he wasn’t the best of cockerels. He wasn’t great at getting his girls to bed so many of them tended to stay out partying well beyond bedtime, perching on top of bushes blethering and being completely uncooperative when we came to usher them coop-wards.

 

 

So, it was time to go online for eggs to incubate, this time Blue-Laced Wyandottes, with a view to rearing a more authoritative rooster! You can see our lacey youngsters below, perching with some pals.

Lord Lacey (A.K.A. Denis – more on that another day!) is now our resident cockerel, besides Wee Man of course, and so far his behaviour and crowd control are impeccable!

Probably the most time-consuming aspect of running the Bed and Breakfast is the laundry. Many of our guests are ferry passengers staying just one night before their sailing. Consequently, we calculated that laundry duties probably take an average of two hours per day, sometimes still pressing bed linen as the new day’s guests are arriving. We have a neighbour who runs a guest house/self-catering cottage and she sends her laundry out. She invited me to ‘piggy-back’ on her laundry service to see what we thought. What we thought was…WONDERFUL! The particular service didn’t cater for smaller B&Bs, but this year they are, so for this season I have my own contract with them – YIPEEEE! It’s amazing what a difference those couple of extra hours make. Not only is there more time to keep on top of outdoor chores, but it also means that we can occasionally get out for one of our three-hour-holidays, on the bike with some butties! And no matter what you may have read about crowds on Skye, there are still places where you won’t see a soul…

Another very special outing was aboard Red Moon, a boat that can be chartered for sailings around Skye. We climbed aboard in 2017 for Kevin’s birthday treat and enjoyed it so much that we did it again last summer, the weather being so much better on that occasion. To be fair it’s not a three-hour-holiday as we needed to take a night off, when, after stepping on deck, we sailed and spent a night at anchor, enjoying wonderful views, food and company! Anyway, here’s just a brief glimpse of Red Moon, as really she deserves a post all of her own!

Late Spring and early summer saw some fabulous weather; dare I say that it was too hot sometimes? Yes, I dare! I’m not a hot-house plant by any means! We even had a Spanish guest who was complaining (lightheartedly!) that it was too hot and that all the travel books had advised to bring plenty of warm/waterproof clothing. Consequently, he didn’t have enough tee-shirts!

Needless to say, the minute school holidays started, and our family came to stay for a week, the weather changed and didn’t change back! At least our granddaughter, Holly, was happy to be dancing in the Rain!

 

And the kids could hide under the trees for their picnic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we still managed to get out and about, poking around in rock pools and finding fossils and dinosaur footprints!

 

 

 

 

 

And when the season was over, the big project this year was the installation, after a sixteen year wait (!), of a new kitchen! Like everything at Garybuie, stripping things back ALWAYS reveals some flaw or other. On this occasion, it was historical water damage to the floor. It was worrying to say the least when the joiner had to keep removing more and more of the flooring before he could make any progress!

 

Anyway, in then it was well worth the wait and I’m looking forward to cooking all those breakfasts when the new season begins!

 

And now that all the work is complete, there’s time to catch-up on other winter tasks…

…Dottie likes to supervise my paintings…


…Hamish likes to check on any parcel deliveries…

…and Patches is in charge of temperature control!

We headed south for Christmas, enjoying the company of our family and all the gifts from Santa…


…and in particular a special gift in the shape of Sean, our fourth grandchild, who arrived in early December! His brother, Patrick, seems quite happy with his arrival so far!

It’s Gertrude’s fault!

February 16, 2016

Now I should have LOADS of pictures to show you after our trip south, enjoying a holiday with family at Centre Parcs in Penrith. The problem however, is that I neglected to pack my CAMERA! Can you believe it? I blame Gertrude, the storm that is. She swept across Skye the night before we travelled and in her rush, decided to uproot one of our large conifers out back. Uproot and leave reclining gracefully on the power cables! Fortunately, the power guys were on the ball arriving on the scene within the hour, calling in the tree-cutters, felling the tree, cutting it into logs and stacking them, clearing up loose debris and restoring power by mid afternoon! That’s what I call customer service! Anyway, in all the excitement, my camera was forgotten.
En route south, we stayed overnight in Falkirk and visited the Kelpies there. Of course no camera, so I’m relying on the Helix Park website to provide a photo of the breath-taking, 90 feet high sculpture. We could have stayed there all day, seeing how the appearance of the steel-clad beasts constantly changed in the shifting light. We will return!

Kelpies

As for Centre Parcs, we had a great time – mainly in the pool, where there were waves, rapids, slides and flumes galore! I’ll tell you something, Granny and Grandad Skye slept VERY well! The weather was kind too so the kiddies got lots of cycling in although poor Patrick was under the weather so couldn’t make the most of it. Here he seems to be using Jedi mind control to work the pedals, rather than his weary legs!

Patrick

Even the twins’ legs gave out eventually, needing a ride home at the end of a long day…

twins

Thankfully our daughter-in-law, Sarah, was more reliable than me in the photographic department!

On our return to Skye, the bathroom – yes, the saga continues – is almost complete. In the photos it looks complete but we still await a diamond bit and a plumber to return from holiday, cut the marble and plumb in the basin. ‘Smoked Trout’ is the paint colour. Who comes up with these names?!!

bathroom

bathroom

bathroom

Back home – where flights are cancelled!

October 26, 2015

We’re home now after our wee jaunt to the Isle of Mull. We’ve been catching up over the weekend with all things Garybuie and of course Yohan, our WWOOFer. He did an excellent job of looking after the place and left today, leaving us home alone.
Yesterday, the rain poured with varying gusto so I decided to open up the Winter Spa for our feathered friends.

guineafowl

It was much appreciated – especially the unexpected salad bar!

winter spa

Today has seen a huge improvement on the weather front and everyone has had a happy, relaxed look about them; preening or just enjoying the sunshine…

preening

muscovy

…or water sports!

muscovy

Flights are cancelled at the moment for the adult muscovies as they have undergone their annual moult. However, primary feathers are beginning to grow back in as you can see with Biggles, so normal service should resume soon!

Biggles

The young muscovies however have a full set of flight gear – it’s just that they’re not quite sure what to do with it as yet!

flight gear

To finish this post, here are a few random shots from Mull…

Towards Iona

Towards Iona

Tobermory harbour

Tobermory harbour

Calgary - the original!

Calgary – the original!

Lochbuie

Lochbuie

Lochbuie

Lochbuie

Inquisitive Highlander

Inquisitive Highlander

Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve

old wrecks

Fingal’s Cave

October 17, 2015

At school, over forty years ago, I heard Mendelsshon’s Hebridean Overture for the first time and studied geology for the first time also. Since then, I’ve always wanted to visit Fingal’s Cave, erroded from a spectacular basaltic island and inspiring Mendelsshon, with its surging waves and superb accoustics, to write his stirring piece. It’s been a long wait but well worth it! (The weather was fantastic too!)

Fingal's cave

Fingal's cave

Fingal's cave

Finga's cave

Fingal's cave

In safe hands

October 16, 2015

Although vegetable production has been a disaster this year, our poultry breeding program has been very successful, the garden being well populated by the ‘Garybuie Gangs’!
Mrs Under-by’s gang…

Mrs Under-by's gang

…the Guinea Gang…

guinea gang

…Polly Blue-tail’s Gang…

Polly Blue-tail's gang

…The Shed (small) Gang…

The Shed Gang

…The Surrogate Silkie gang…

Surrogate Silkies

…The Turbo charged gang, our only hand-reared chicks this year, who are always so thrilled about getting up in a morning, I can’t catch them on camera…

Turbo charged gang

…and finally, the polytunnel gang.

Polytunnel gang

A lot of birds, a lot of work. We have just arrived on the Isle of Mull for a long-awaited holiday, so we needed someone to take care of our wee beasties; Yohan, another WWOOFer, has been getting to know the routines for the past few days and so we leave everyone in his very capable, French hands!

Yohan

As I write, I am looking at a view of the harbour in Tobermory. We’re staying in a wee apartment on the top floor of the red building.

Tobermory

Blue skies on Skye

April 19, 2015

After the high winds and horizontal hail of recent days, no wonder Huff looks surprised at the arrival of a perfect blue sky!

Huff

Time for our first three-hour-holiday of the season; off on the bike to Plockton on the mainland.

P1000521

Plockton is a beautiful spot, especially on such a clear, sunny day.

Plockton

Our main reason for visiting however, is to call in at the Plockton Inn for lunch. They have the most delicious seafood menu using local fish. Their prices are very reasonable too.

plockton

More travelling

February 19, 2015

In reality this time, not in the virtual sense! That was quite a trip on Tuesday though, wasn’t it? All those people wanting to chat over there in Illinois! Anyway, now we’re heading south; it’s time to visit the family once more, before the B and B season begins. So, here’s just a very short pictorial record of our route on the first day…

Leaving the mountains of Skye

Leaving the mountains of Skye

Loch Linhe

Loch Linhe

Waterfall in Glencoe

Waterfall in Glencoe

Garybuie heads west

February 17, 2015

Seriously west in fact; all the way across the Atlantic and more! Celi, on her Farmy in Illinois, has kindly invited me to write a wee bitty about what goes on at Garybuie. If you’ve never visited The Farmy, then this is your opportunity to meet some great characters, read some wonderful stories and admire photographs of the highest quality. Step this way…Patches

Plans for 2015

January 4, 2015

Someone started early with their New Year plans. On the first of January, Polly-Bluetail, one of the Musco-teers, decided to go broody!

Polly-bluetail

We could do without it but as she made her nest in a sensible place i.e. the duck house, we’ve let her get on with it so that she’s not tempted to lay further afield. We’ve restricted her to four eggs only!

After the beautiful, crisp days of Christmas, we’ve moved on to gloomy, wet and often windy weather. Everyone just quietly gets on with their own thing.

By the log store

Puff and Biggles

guinea fowl

Lucky and Chance

Part of my own thing is to keep up with my paintings. One of them I started well before Christmas but had to put it to one side whilst Christmas gifts were painted. You may recognize her; she’s been pregnant and produced six kittens since I first put pencil to paper!

'Butter wouldn't melt'

And something more wintry!

Mountain Hare

Dad got me a great present this Christmas. A couple of years ago, I read a book entitled ‘The Seven Daughters of Eve’ by Professor Bryan Sykes.
“The Seven Daughters of Eve is a first hand account of his research into an extraordinary gene which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line, allowing us to track our genetic ancestors through time and space. Professor Sykes has found that almost all Europeans can trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, whom he has named Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine.”

I’d decided that 2015 was going to be the year when any money I received for Christmas was going to go towards discovering which of those sisters was my prehistoric ancestor. But on Christmas morning, I opened a box which could only contain one thing…

Oxford Ancestors

…a DNA testing kit to determine my maternal origin! WOW! So, as soon as the Post Office was open after the Christmas break, off went my DNA samples to Professor Sykes’s team at Oxford University.

Apparently, dad was bitten by the DNA bug and had actually had his own DNA examined. For men, their ‘Father Clan’ can also be determined through the Y-chromosome, described in Professor Sykes’s book ‘Adam’s Curse’. Dad’s clan is that of Oisoin, which has existed for 35,000 years. His maternal ancestry goes back to Helena who lived 20,000 years ago. So, when I get my results in a few weeks time, not only will I know my maternal ancestry but because dad has his own DNA analysis, I also know my (indirect) paternal lineage too! O.K., I suspect that some of you have nodded off by now, so I’ll get back to the present day and our New Year plans for 2015!

On the Bed and Breakfast front this year, we are going to provide dinner for our guests should they require it. Nothing fancy, just good, locally produced food, a fair amount of it produced by ourselves. But the biggest project is to get into the breeding of Quail. We intend to breed them for both eggs and meat and will supply either local restaurants and/or the butcher’s shop. There’s a lot of preparation to do as we have to build accommodation from scratch, source packaging for our products and of course obtain Quail eggs to incubate and provide our breeding stock!

Frozen gate


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