23rd March – a weekend in Port Appin

Colin's 60th (CW) (10)Last weekend marked a special birthday for Colin, and we spent it with the family in Port Appin on the west coast.   Port Appin sits right on the shore and looks across the Lynn of Lorn towards Lismore, and it is from here that the little passenger ferry departs.   Further up, the peaks of Glen Coe rear their majestic heads, veiled in morning mist or lit by the evening sun.

On the Saturday we all went on a boat trip with Coastal Connections from Oban – part of Colin’s surprise present – which took us around the Carsaig arches in the south-west of Mull, and then across the Corryvreckan whirlpool to Scarba and Jura, landing briefly on a remote beach in the north of Jura for a picnic lunch.

On the Sunday morning, reluctant to end the whole thing, Colin and I crossed over to Morvern on the Corran ferry and drove down the side of Loch Linnhe as far as Kingairloch – somewhere I don’t think we’ve ever been.   We found a beautiful remote beach, and a little lochan with a group of red deer hinds just taking in the warm sunshine.  We saw plenty more wildlife over the weekend:  great views of golden and white-tailed eagles around the cliffs of Mull;  great northern divers on the sea lochs;  and a hen harrier on Jura.

Driving down into Glen Coe on the Thursday evening, into a wall of mist, eerily beautiful

Colin's 60th (CW) 3 But the mist rose the next morning, revealing summits sparkling with snow

Glen Coe (1)Glen Coe (3)Glen EtiveGlen Etive (2)Glen Coe (2)Colin’s birthday celebration on the Friday night involved a wonderful meal at the Pierhouse Hotel, and a very special cake, created by Verity and her friend Lois…

Colin's cakePierhouse 2 smallPierhouse 1 smallPierhouse 3 smallSaturday’s boat trip – a surprise present from Verity and Chris, Leonie and Andrew

Boat trip 2 smallBoat trip 1 smallBoat trip 4 smallEvening sunshine in ObanSunday morning – ferry at Ardgour and the road down to Kingairloch

Colin's 60th (CW) 68Colin's 60th (CW) 78 Kingairloch Scots pinesColin's 60th (CW) (1)Photos copyright © Colin & Jo Woolf and Verity Sansom

We thoroughly recommend the Pierhouse Hotel at Port Appin – wonderful food, fabulous rooms and friendly staff

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15th February – snow in Perthshire

Yesterday the long-awaited arrival of the sun sent us up into Perthshire, where the recent snowfall has created a landscape of sparkling white diamonds.

We took the country way through Muthill, up through Crieff and Aberfeldy, to Kenmore on Loch Tay, and then into Glen Lyon.   I have so many posts now to do on The Hazel Tree!   But first I want to show you the scenery…  Stay tuned on my other blog for a standing stone with (possibly) the most amazing view in Scotland;  and a hidden castle on a steep hill which cost me a very cold and wet bum.   Well, I couldn’t not go up there!  And I had to get down somehow…

Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 26Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 49Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 34Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 15Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 99Glen Lyon Feb 2016 CW 160Glen Lyon Feb 2016 CW 163Glen LYON CW EXPORT 8Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 94Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 114Glen LYON CW EXPORT 5Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 136Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 201Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 202Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 197Glen LYON CW EXPORT 14Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 194Glen Lyon JW Feb 16 264

Photos copyright © Colin & Jo Woolf

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9th January – first snow

The first snow of the year fell last night, coming down in huge flakes as we drove home from Stirling.

Just on the corner of our road – a few yards from our house – a woodcock was furtively poking around on the snow-covered grass.   We couldn’t believe our eyes! Having put the car in the drive, Colin grabbed his camera and went to take a closer look.   The little guy must have come down with the cold weather, and was possibly just looking for somewhere to feed.   We left him alone after that, and I hope that he eventually made it up into the woodlands at the back, where there’s plenty of soft ground.

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This morning the snow was still here, but a cold fog had come down, giving an air of mystery (well, you have to make the best of it!)   So I trudged up through the woods at the back of the house, to see what I could find.   A quiet, white world, broken by the occasional plopping of snow from branches.  The distinct smell of fox, and some sweetly cheeping finches – possibly redpolls – in the highest trees.

I’m not sure how long this is going to last, but it makes a welcome change from months of endless rain and wind.

Blackridge snow 9 Jan 2016 16

Blackridge snow 9 Jan 2016 21

Scots pine

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Alder catkins

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Blackridge snow 9 Jan 2016 2

Hawthorn

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Hazel

Blackridge snow 9 Jan 2016 14

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