Archive for the ‘day trips’ Category

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!

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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

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

Yo, ho, ho and a trip to Rum!

August 27, 2014

The weather this August has been very unsettled with hefty showers and unseasonably cool temperatures. We couldn’t believe our luck therefore, when our one ‘re-charging batteries’ day of dawned with clear blue skies and only a slight breeze! So join us on a trip to Rum, one of the Small isles off Skye. Our reason for visiting Rum was to explore Kinloch Castle (big, fancy house more accurately) built by George Bullough at the end of the 19th century.
We travelled to Rum with Misty Isle Boat Trips based at Elgol on Skye. The journey to Elgol was magnificent, skirting along the base of part of the Cuillin Ridge. The Ridge was so clear it felt that we could reach out and touch them.

the Cuillin

The construction of Kinloch Castle started in 1897 using red sandstone imported from Coire Quarry on the Isle of Arran and took three years to build employing upwards of 300 craftsmen, including stonemasons, carpenters, wood-carvers, stained glass makers and many other specialist trades. One in particular however was almost unique, that of electrician, as Kinloch Castle was the first private residence in Scotland to have electricity, with a dam constructed on the Coire Dubh burn for hydro generation.
The bill for this exceptional piece of grand architecture and bespoke decoration was approximately £15 million in today’s money.

Kinloch Castle

The castle was built by George Bullough, son of James and grandson of John. Our main reason for wanting to see the castle, is that the Bulloughs hailed from Lancashire, the county where Kevin and I lived before re-locating to Skye. Howard and Bulloughs was a huge concern, manufacturing machinery for the cotton industry and was situated in Accrington, where we both did a large part of our growing up. (More accurately, I lived a couple of miles away in Oswaldtwistle, another hot-bed of invention during the industrial revolution.) John Bullough started life as a lowly mill hand but had a very inventive mind, coming up with various improvements to the looms of the time. His son James had a good business mind and at the height of business at Howard and Bullough’s, more that 6,000 workers were employed and the factory covered 52 acres. James Bullough bought the Isle of Rum in 1888 for the hunting and his son, George, inherited the island, and half of his father’s wealth when he was 21. And George certainly knew how to spend! George married ‘society beauty’ Monica Lily de la Pasture (latterly Lady Monica) a divorcee (George being named in the divorce proceedings) shortly after the castle was built. She in turn made her mark on the castle, with major redecorating adding a more feminine touch to certain areas of the castle.

kinloch castle

The place is stuffed full of the weird and wonderful, as well as some wonderful inventions. Amongst the many unique features (including air conditioning in the billiard room) is a very special music player called the ‘Orchestrion’. The Orchestrion is essentially an organ driven by electric motor that plays perforated card rolls. Only three exist and the castle example is the only one that can be played. Apparently it was built for Queen Victoria who planned to install it in Balmoral Castle, but she died before it was completed.

orchestrion

orchestrion

There are plenty of rare, beautiful and even downright sinister things to see chez Bullough, such as the monkey-eating eagle…

monkey-eating eagle

…hand-embroidered, silk wallpaper…

silk wallpaper

…the original silk lampshades in the ballroom…

silk lampshades

…the dining room…

dining room

… Lady Monica’s bedroom…

bedroom

… a bath/shower which could probably squirt you in places you didn’t know you had…

bath

…and perhaps most bizarrely of all, a naked portrait of Lady Monica on the first floor landing! I don’t know about you, but drinking a hot cup of tea in such a state of undress is not very wise in my eyes!

lady monica

An interesting piece of ‘gossip’ from the castle involves the ballroom; a beautiful room with a sprung floor which curiously has its windows positioned high in the walls, preventing any person outside from looking in. Also, the orchestral balcony in the room has thick drapes which could provide privacy for the dancers if required. There was even a ‘secret’ two-doored cupboard for ordering and receiving beverages by a swift rap and a written request, whereupon your drinks were prepared by someone on the opposite side of the cupboard and their subsequent arrival being announced in a similar fashion so that no lowly cocktail-shaker could view any bawdy behaviour in the ballroom! There’s a dance in Scotland called ‘Strip the Willow’; maybe the Bulloughs took it literally!!

As it was such a beautiful day, we even had the opportunity to have a walk around the area before returning to the boat.

kinloch castle

kinloch castle

kinloch castle

On our return journey, just to provide a perfect ending to a wonderful day, we were surrounded by a pod of dolphin who encouraged gasps of delights from all the passengers! They were way too unpredictably fast for me to photograph one leaping from the water, but here’s one just under the water next to the boat – so that you know that I’m not making it up!

dolphin

A beautiful Easter day

April 20, 2014

THE VIEW

The View

These past few days have been getting better and better weather-wise, today reaching perfection I think. BB approves of this change and has been enjoying the great outdoors with her family. She doesn’t venture far but seems very content.

BB

All of our guests had an early start this morning so we had the opportunity to take this season’s first ‘3 Hour Holiday’. I swapped apron for motorcycle helmet and off we went, Talisker Bay being our destination. We had our picnic on a large flat rock and just enjoyed the scenery…

Talisker

talisker

Sea stack

We were even treated to the sight of a pod of dolphins in the bay but they were a bit too far away to get a decent photo so you’ll just have to take my word for it! It was a joy to see the newly unfurled leaves on the trees…

new leaves

…and adding even more colour to the vibrant spring day was this unusual Skye resident.

peacock

EVENTFUL – active, busy,dramatic,fateful, full,lively, memorable,notable

December 12, 2013

Those words, taken from the Collins English Thesaurus, sum up the past week or so here at Garybuie. To be fair, things started out uneventful, commonplace, ordinary, unexceptional, unremarkable, insignificant. After collecting my larch branches and delving into the loft for the Christmas decorations, I got on with making Garybuie feel a wee bit more festive because the weather was SO gloomy. It didn’t take long for Pusscat and Hamie to find their ‘Waiting for Santa’ spots!

festive fireplace

Events became more lively last Wednesday. Gales had been forecast and on this particular occasion the Met. Office got things right. (Unfortunately) We laid in bed listening to the gathering storm and eventually, I fell asleep only to be woken later by Kevin half-whispering, “Christine, Christine…I need you to wake up. Part of the conservatory roof has blown off and I need help”. That got me fully awake and moving! The sound in the conservatory was awful. With the wind inside and out, all the roof panels were vibrating, sounding like some kind of ominous drum roll. We headed over to the old church to find some plywood, followed closely by Pusscat who was almost howling in distress. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining although the lightening show was quite something. Armed with stepladder, wood and nails, we started to board up the gap on the inside; me holding the wood in place, Kevin busy with the saw and hammer. The wind played a tug of war with the ply, determined to pull it from my grasp but finally, we were wind and water-tight once more, miraculously just before the heavens opened. This all took place at 4 a.m. and we slithered back under the duvet at 5.30. As you can see, our nocturnal efforts aren’t overly attractive but it will suffice for now. Luckily the escaped panel hadn’t disappeared up the glen but had wedged itself in the shrubbery, so Kevin managed to replace it the following morning.

roof repairs

Winds of 102 mph had been recorded on Skye that night, not the strongest we’ve experienced, in 2005 (I think) 143mph was recorded, just before the anemometer disintegrated! It was scary at the time, probably more so because it was during the night, but mainly because the wind being both indoors and out seemed to be doubling its strength and I felt as though sooner rather than later, the whole roof would have been torn off. But then I thought, Get a grip woman, this is NOTHING compared to what all those thousands of poor souls have suffered in the Phillipines. How does a roof panel compare with the complete loss of your home and family members too?

Of course, although the following days remained eventful, the events were somewhat calmer! First of all, after the storm it snowed! It didn’t hang around for long though and we soon returned to a gloomy wetness.

gloomy glen

I busied myself making Christmas cards and then off we went to Inverness, Christmas shopping. We haven’t been for a couple of years, getting gifts online instead. It was quite nice though to see the decorations and hear the carol singers, as well as being able to get ‘up close and personal’ with potential gifts! We stayed overnight and then it was great to escape the crowds, noise and traffic, returning to the peace of the glen!

Inverness

Inverness 2

The only problem with buying gifts is that they all need wrapping and parcelling up to send to family and I’m glad to say that I’m almost done with my Santa’s little helper role for this year! Of course all the usual chores still need to be done albeit at a slower pace than in the summer. The hens spend a lot of time in their Winter Spa hiding fro the rain, whereas the ducks are having a grand old time out in the field, digging up all the juicy morsels which present themselves when the ground is so wet. I took Max, our neighbour’s dog, out today and spent a few minutes checking in with the cockerel who moved from Garybuie to start a new life with some new ladies!

new life

It’s not just the blog which has been neglected this past week or so, but my painting has too. Anyway, there are the beginnings of a new portrait and hopefully I shall be able to spend some time on it at the weekend. Now this is one cute pair and I know that many of you will recognize the duo!

Boo and marmalade

Three-hour holiday

May 21, 2012

As the weather seems to have finally taken a turn for the better, we decided to take one of our three-hour-holidays,  well, nearly four actually! No guests on the previous night so no breakfasts, no laundry and no excuse for not making the most of the day. So, we hopped on the bike – maybe Kevin hopped but I did more of a stiff-legged, laboured slither. In my defense though, I am only 5’2″ and the bike has a seat which is waist-high. Also, any fluidity of movement is seriously hampered by short legs and armoured motorcycle trousers. Graceful I am not – think short Robocop!

Anyway, first stop was for coffee in Plockton on the mainland.

We then headed to Glenelg via the beautiful Ratagan Pass (Bealach Ratagain), where the view of The Five Sisters, complete with a dusting of snow, is superb…

From there we descended into Glenelg where there are two fairly well-preserved Brochs; fortified dwellings scattered throughout the Highlands, dating from around 2000 years ago. We didn’t actually spend time at them on this trip but I thought I’d show you one anyway!

Also at Glenelg is the wee ferry, our favourite route to Skye and our first trip on it this year.

A lovely short break!

A chilly trip out!

April 16, 2012

Clare with one of our new arrivals

Our guests today left fairly promptly after breakfast as they were catching the ferry to the Outer Hebrides. Even so, they still had time for a quick visit to our ten newly hatched chicks!

It’s been a beautiful day, starting off all pink over the ridge first thing. Because of an early start, chores were consequently completed earlier and Kevin suggested a wee trip out on the bike for lunch. So, with bedding and towels blowing nicely in the breeze, we set of on our first trip of the year. Temperatures were in single figures however, so the ride was a bit chilly. Eilean Donan Castle over on the mainland was our destination and at about an hour and fifteen minutes, it was far enough in such a temperature! The colours en route were dazzling, the lochs sparkling and distant snow-capped mountains completed scenery which was breathtaking.

Brief respite

January 5, 2012

There’s been a brief respite in the atrocious weather conditions today. We awoke this morning to a strange and recently rare, blue hue to the sky, with the greens and russets of the landscape once more in evidence! As tomorrow is supposed to return to the more usual wet and windy, Kevin suggested that we go out for a picnic. Neist Point was the choice, the most westerly tip of Skye. As ever the scenery was spectacular but with a particularly stiff wind which didn’t encourage any hanging around! We managed to find a sheltered spot down on the rugged, black basalt shore for our picnic, where we just enjoyed the sights and sounds surrounding us. It was too windy to get a photo of the Point from the more usual, dramatic angle, so the first picture is from a previous visit, just in case you missed it on that occasion!

picnic spot

Neist lighthouse

Now sheep aren’t generally known for their entertainment value, although admittedly I did have a pet lamb once who had the occasional moment, but on our way back up from the Point, we watched a flock of sheep whose antics made us smile! As if under some kind of silent instruction, a flock of maybe 100 animals suddenly started heading in the same direction towards the steep path to the top of the cliff. Had the dinner bell rung? Was there a sheep council meeting about to begin? They were certainly in no rush, forming an orderly queue all the way…

As we brought up the rear, we soon learned that the reason for the sheep’s sudden migration was apparently nothing more than that the top of the hill was bathed in sunlight, whereas the lower slopes were becoming shaded by the great craggy outcrop of Neist Point as the sun began to set.  Who said that sheep were dumb?

The Thurso Threesome

November 6, 2011

Monument at the Dingwall auction mart, in honour of cattle drovers of yesteryear and crofters of today

Yesterday was an exciting – and tense – day when we went to the poultry auction at Dingwall, near Inverness. It was an early start to get us there in time for the commencement of the sale and we set off armed with the list of birds on offer, with the ones we fancied carefully marked. Except that on arrival, the list kinda goes out the window when you’re faced with row upon row of squawking contenders. Prior to our arrival we’d intended to bid for some pullets from the same breeder who produced our ‘Wick Chicks’, as all his birds are in tip-top condition. Looking at his specimens this year, we soon realised that they were going to go for a high price, especially as early bidding was reaching bigger figures than we’ve seen before. Consequently, we had a good scout around at other birds as a back-up plan. Kevin, as ever, was responsible for the nose-touching/eyebrow lifting/number flapping techniques employed at all good auctions and although he was outbid on a couple of occasions, he was finally successful with lot number 66, three Barred Plymouth Rock pullets, for a price of £60. That’s more than we’ve paid before but they’re lovely big, heavy birds, perfect to replace some of our older layers which Kevin dispatched last week. Thank goodness for plan B, as a couple of the lots from the other breeder went for £100, his other lots not far behind! I’d want a couple of sheep for that! Anyway, our newly acquired Plymouth Rocks came from Thurso, in the north of Scotland and so are now known as ‘The Thurso Threesome’! They’ve settled in really well already apart from the going to bed routine which needs some fine tuning as yet. Curiously, when one of the birds gets a wee bit stressed, she has a bout of what sounds like hiccups!!!

 

Lot 66

 

Settling in nicely

Hopefully, these lovely girls will improve our breeding success next season, which dropped off significantly this year, presumably because some of the hens were beyond their prime breeding age. Fertility was still good but viability of the embryos was the problem. We’ll just have to wait and see…

 


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