Category Archives: Walks

Mad March is Over

Yesterday was April first – April Fool’s Day – we had our own ‘Fool’s Day’ mid-March when we joined the Mad March Hares and had our first barbie of the year down the old slate quarry to celebrate my 76th birthday —

The ‘Beast from the East’ was in full flow so the old quarry on the western shores of the Island provided most shelter from the howling snow-filled gale force winds that were coming our way from Putin’s Russian Steppes —

with the added bonus of a view out to Fladda Lighthouse and the islands beyond —

once the smoke from the burning oak logs had dispersed —

and the sausages were browning nicely in the frying pan —

M-mmm — can’t beat a bit of carbon on a bap —

and even Helen looked happy although she was chilled to the bone —

Seamus couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about and his demeanor says it all —

He is such a clean cat —

and insisted on having a bath to wash the smoke out of his fur when he got home 🙂


Seamus the Free Range Tabby Cat

I wasn’t the only one walking on the wild side this morning – Seamus went out about 07.00hrs while it was still dark. I saw him later from the bedroom window in daylight hunting up on the hillside. I don’t know if he caught any mice but he was certainly enjoying the hunt as he leaped and danced amongst the long grass and dead bracken fronds.

He met me by the gate to the old steading as I returned from my walk but I have Helen to thank for these lovely pics as he ambushed her out there later —

He loves to patrol the old stone wall —

The mice like it too as it gives shelter and cover from the many birds of prey resident on the Isle of Luing —

We occasionally have golden and sea eagles visiting from Mull and I can’t help but imagine what they would make of our Seamus.

He made the most of his day in the sun and was so tired when he arrived home after sunset that he didn’t even make it onto the big chair – simply dropped on the carpet by the fire and observing us through half shut eyes —

But he did recover and came up to join me later – adopting the imperial position on the well cushioned sofa where we enjoyed another film from Netflix 🙂





Sunshine on Luing

Deffo a day of all things bright and beautiful – wall-to-wall sunshine brought me out for a hobble over the rough ground beyond the house —

I would usually be sinking ankle-deep and more into mud and rushes at this time of year but with temperatures below freezing we have a frozen ‘tundra’ out back —

Walking poles help keep me upright but can be a bit of a nuisance when it comes to using the binoculars or taking photos —

No worries – the views to a snow-clad Isle of Mull over Cullipool and across the Sound of Lorn are well worth the effort —

Great stuff! —

If only we could have more of this hard frost – getting around would be so much easier 🙂

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Posted by on December 10, 2017 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


Caroline Caps Ben Cruachan

It was grim and more than a little blustery around here yesterday when a storm called Caroline blundered through —

but we held our ground and even found a gorgeous freshwater pool formed by rainwater dripping down from the cliffs above —

In fact beauty in abundance one minute —

and glowering storm clouds next —

Today was much the same leading to snow – especially on top of Ben Cruachan —

where Helen caught this shot of the snow-capped mountain from the roadside while on her ‘Santa’ run to Oban this morning 🙂


A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend

‘A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend’ – so they say – but in this case ‘they’ have got it wrong. Young Rory pictured here many months ago is actually family friend Diane’s best ‘friend’ —

But even I managed to shelve my reservations and fiddled with his velvety ears for a few mins in a Callander cafe on Sunday to give Helen and Diane peace to drink their coffee —

It actually looks as if I’m getting more out of the deal than a now grown up Rory 🙂


Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


Neptune Crowned on Ganavan Sands

Ganavan Sands by Oban – so beautiful on any day but particularly on a sunlit – early February day —


I first came here as Boy Scout sixty five years ago to camp on the nearby Island of Kerrera. That was probably in the month of June and I don’t remember seeing much sunshine. Rain – rain – midgies and more rain are my abiding memories.


We had travelled by steam train from Kelso in the Scottish Borders – my first big adventure away from my family.


It was an adventure alright and as children did in those days – we pulled the leather strap that lowered the window in the carriage door and stuck our heads out into the smoke and soot from the hard working engine during our long journey. The good townspeople of Oban could have been forgiven for thinking they were getting a visit from the Black & White Minstrels when we got off the train.


C’mon mate – you have no time to smell the flowers on the gorse. It was 1952-53 you were here as a Boy Scout – Coronation Year – when our current Queen Elizabeth was crowned. It’s your turn this year — a stone from the beach with the beginnings of growth will do – looks like a galleon sailing down the Sound of Mull.

Behold – King Neptune —


Mmmm – time for another haircut. Isn’t nature wonderful. To think these plants can grow from the back of a stone up near the tide-line where they are briefly covered with seawater but twice a day.


Time to put it back where Helen found it —


and thank her for the use of her photos —


with a couple of my own —

Tonight’s sunset on Bardrishaig 🙂

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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


The Toberonochy Two-step

One of those days to wrap up warm and get out while the sun is shining —


There’s always a steady dribble of traffic from the Cuan Ferry no matter what day of the week – and –

with the Tall Ten at the gallop it was off down the island to Toberonochy where we parked on the empty quayside —


What’s he fiddling with?


Oh yes – it’s the newly fitted Givi Tailpack that came in the morning post —


Just the thing for binoculars – spare gloves and an apple or two — but it’s too cold to hang about. Looks like ‘porky boy’ has had too many pies anyway – time for action.


Past the big tree – worth a mention as there aren’t too many ‘big trees’ on the island —


and down by the last house in the village to the open fields running down to the shore where our man limbers up for the Toberonochy Two-step with a twist of the hips —


while his partner answers with the tiniest of bum flicks as she points with the – left foot?


She blames the restrictive protective padding in her bike suit for the lack of movement but I reckon she was more interested in eating her apple.

Now she’s getting her shadow in the pic but I will try to ignore the salute – she is too polite to use two fingers anyway —


It was so much easier putting a blog together when I had endless open roads to ride —


Could be worse – the main aim is to show the Isle of Luing as we had it on a beautiful – early February day ___


We made the most of it and were home in time to wash the mud and cowshit off the bike and enjoy this setting sun 🙂



Misty Morning

One of those misty mornings —


but eagle-eyed Seamus has spotted the cackling geese on the frosted grass of the lower field.


Nothing else to be seen beyond that until Scarba peeps out of the mist —


but it doesn’t last and by the time Helen and I had the boots on it had cleared over the Pond.


We take the clifftop grass route around the western perimeter fence —


with views to the snow-capped mountains of Mull —


to name but one of the many islands dotted off our beautiful coast.


Well worth getting out of bed for 🙂

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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


Five Fools in a Fountain

It’s great what we do to work up an appetite for a Boxing Day curried chook lunch. H n I braved the storm and walked over to Port Mary corner with views across Cuan Sound to the Isle of Seil.

I stood there by my Hobbit Hoos wondering where the roof had gone.


While the distaff side tested her new waterproof eye-shadow —


while getting on with the ‘day job’ of photographing the waves and currents.


Aah – very pretty Master’ said my Nigerian driver – nickname ‘Jaguar’ – when he drove me and family through a busy red traffic light on the outskirts of Kaduna in reply to my question – ‘What colour were those lights Jaguar?’


Very Pretty indeed – but what’s happening across the Sound?


There were five people on that headland last time I looked —


Yup – five people I tell you! No doubt youngsters full of Christmas spirit —


That must have sobered them up —


There’s still three at least —


Three – or is it four – could be one on his knees hanging on – or praying. That isn’t bad out of five mad fools.


Chunter – chunter — bloody daft kids — wonder if it was them wot nicked my roof.



Don 🙂



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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


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If Boats Could Talk

First published on here in April 2012 – I stumbled across it again while looking for the Red Roofed Cottage near Shieldaig. I enjoyed writing – ‘if Boats Could Talk’ so much I’ve brought it forward to December 2016.

If boats could talk perhaps this old clinker built twenty four footer would tell us why she ended her days abandoned on the banks of the River Dee —

She could tell us about the chap who sat down with a piece of paper and designed her curves —

She could tell us of how they steamed the wood and put the bend into her ribs – of the people who sailed her and the goods she carried.

She might even have something to say about the guy who made the temporary repair in her latter years by hammering a multitude of galvanised roofing nails into the rotten timbers that held her together at the bows.

But it wasn’t enough in the end and with daylight showing through – to be beached on the dry riverbank was the best thing for her —

At least she has found a pleasant place to end her days with brambles growing over her

and surrounded by daffodils in season —

I’ve been meaning to take a photo of that old boat for some time and today was the day. I nipped over the new fence and did just that while on my way to the Ross for a walk in a mixture of sunshine and hailstones. A fresh day to be out and I loved it —

With this view from the cattle pens across the Solway Firth and the Robin Wind Turbines to the snow capped Lakeland Hills even the most miserable amongst us would smile —

Although I did provoke a mini-stampede on the way there —

but they settled down before long —

If boats could talk

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Posted by on December 6, 2016 in out and about, Walks