Saturday, 31 October 2015

Applecross

Wednesday morning in Applecross was rainy, but not cold.  We set off along the road (narrow tarmac strip with passing places), towards Applecross, stopping along the way for various reasons!  
"What are you looking at?"
These handsome beasts were hanging around, along the roadside.  We had to stop and wait for them to move - I am not sure how much damage those impressive horns can do to car bodywork, so we had to be patient!  The three, below, look as though they might just break into a well-rehearsed dance routine!
There is a viewpoint along the road, and on a fine day you can see the Cuillins on Skye to the south, and across the Inner Sound to the small islands of Raasay and Rona.  It was raining and grey, but no wind and the sea was very calm.  The view below is looking south, and the first white cottage in the photograph is where we have stayed several times.  It's remote, and beautiful, and we will always love it!  It's a holiday cottage which is now priced out of our range, but they still have a silver-plated toast rack I donated during one visit, so we have left a little more than just our hearts there!
An alternative to the SNP ....?
We always enjoy a walk on the originally named Sand beach!  With an overcast sky, the colours were soft and beautiful, looking across to Skye and two small islands in between.
Then on to the Potting Shed cafe in the walled garden of Applecross House, for a cup of coffee - and cake, of course!  
Although late in the year, the garden was still colourful.  The air on the west coast is so clean and clear that many trees are clothed in lots of different lichens.  
There is no public transport in this part of the world.  There used to be a post bus, courtesy of Royal Mail, but they stopped that in 2009 - a disastrous decision for these fragile, remote communities.  Sadly, I don't think these two modes of transport are going to be of much use either!
A trip to Applecross is not complete without a walk to the coral beach.  It's a lovely path, a bit rocky in places, but there are great views back towards Applecross, and out across the Inner Sound to the islands. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Journeying to Wester Ross

We are up in Wester Ross again.  We haven't been here for a couple of years, and that's easily one year too many.  We are staying about half way between Applecross and Shieldaig, in a little place called Arrina.  We drove up here yesterday, via Inverness, arriving just as darkness fell.
This part of the world is so beautiful, these photos don't need any chat from me.  They are just here to be enjoyed - I hope!
As we sat and had a cup of tea with our B&B hostess, this was the view from the deck!  

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Saturday walk

Tilly has a new lead to test, and I am still wearing in my new boots, so it was important to have a walk this afternoon.  Mr Gaucho dropped us off, just south of North Berwick, and we walked home.  
But first, I must mention this http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06k8x4g.  Saturday Classics was being broadcast on Radio 3, with Radio 4's investigative journalist, Shari Vahl, choosing music inspired by her fascination with birds.  It's a glorious programme, so try and find it on iPlayer and enjoy her delicious selection of music, with the additional bonus of the sound of birdsong.  As I got out of the car, Ralph Vaughan Williams' Lark Ascending was just finishing.  As we walked along the open farm track, the lark was indeed ascending!  I was quite surprised to hear them because there was a strong, cold wind blowing across the landscape, and it wasn't really the kind of conditions they like.  They didn't ascend very far, but their appearance was timely.  

We walked along Becky's Strip, part of the Pilgrim's Way from Holy Island - Lindisfarne - in Northumberland and North Berwick.  It is now the only remaining part of an ancient route running between North Berwick and Whitekirk.  It is a lovely grassy path, with views of North Berwick Law, the Bass Rock, with the high, open skies of the east coast.   In very recent times there was some absurd suggestion that the grass should be replaced with concrete.  Common sense has prevailed, thank God, and it would seem that this won't be happening.  I really do wonder sometimes.  
No-one really knows who Becky was.  There are some who have suggested she was a witch.  The poor woman was probably just someone who lived alone in a cottage, now a ruin, which sits along this route.  
These beautiful elderberry leaves were backlit by the sun.  The wind was blowing hard, so it was tricky to get a sharp image, but the luminous colour is still there.
Walking south, towards the Lammermuirs, the views were great - as always.
Almost home and Tilly had the nerve to bark at this gentle creature.  Tilly's a Border Terrier - they don't think small, so anything is fair game to her!