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The Road to The Isles

It’s fully 16 months now since Helen and I moved to the Isle of Luing in the Inner Hebrides where the weather can be wild and windy one minute and quite benign the next —

The roads are fewer, rougher and tighter than those to be found in the rest of Scotland so it’s very much a case of horses for courses —

Helen and I have had to adapt in many ways but overall it has been well worth the effort —

Shopping – gardening – cooking and baking can be more of a challenge but the occasional success has it’s own rewards —

and with our second Christmas together on the island fast approaching we are looking forward to 2018 with confidence —

The photo was taken just a few minutes before Boss-cat dug his claws into my forearm to get my straying attention! He is a farm cat after all and is as much at home in the tumbledown steading catching vermin or out on the hillside with the deer and the ever-present threat of attack from above as he is on my lap in front of the log fire of an evening —

I blame Netflix where ‘Medici’ has taken us into devious Italian banking circles and ‘murrder’ awaits round every street corner – ‘old hat’ to some perhaps but brand new to ourselves here on Luing πŸ™‚

 

Love is in the air at Bardrishaig

I may be stretching a point here when I credit our wild roe deer with feelings normally associated with humans –

but – having watched our resident buck at close quarters for several months now –

and – our more timid females as and when they make their skittish appearance –

it certainly looks like there is a match made in heaven taking place on our doorstep.

But work came first this morning as our fine fellow trimmed the front lawn —

under the watchful eye of his bride-to-be —

Even our resident cock pheasant get’s in on the act as he sprints across the lawn to his position on rowan tree knoll in time to take his place as best man —

He had to be quick for the groom has smartened up and is on his way too —

How about that then – even the cock pheasant seemed a little envious – if a tad embarrassed at the speed the nuptials took place —

No doubt – all being well – we will hear the pitter-patter of little hoofs around here again next spring πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Gardening, Isle of Luing, out and about, Wildlife

 

Ben Cruachan by CRF250 Rally

Temperatures around freezing don’t stop play when the sun is shining so once again our resident roe deer buck was left in charge of the old farmyard and out came the CRF250 Rally to make the most of the day —

With brilliant sunshine forecast for the day-Β  a snow-capped Ben Cruachan north of Loch Awe caught the eye from a high point twixt Clachan on the Isle of Seil and Kilninver on the road to Oban —

Possibly 25 miles as the crow flies but a chilly 40 plus by road – I will chicken out and settle for a distant pic and leave that trip for the V-strom with it’s heated grips on another day πŸ™‚

Β 

 

Dawn till Dusk with the Belnahua

‘Dawn till Dusk’ – ‘if only’ say the ferry men and women – yes we have a lady skipper too and they are all expected to be up at ‘dark-a-clock’ to take their turn (in pairs) to bring the Belnahua from it’s mooring in open water to the island jetty in time for the first run of the day at 07.30hrs.

She’s at the jetty now and you may board her – if you can find her —

One of the benefits of being retired is that it’s usually OK to travel in the second – or third wave of the day – drive on in daylight and enjoy the five minute crossing —

admire the snow-capped mountains on Mull glistening in the sun as we did today on the 10.35hrs crossing —

or keep an eye out for the occasional sea eagle – seals – otters and other wildlife that find food around here in abundance —

The ferry dog having made the crossing many times at half hour intervals over the years has seen it all and has been known to swim the tidal race on his own when boredom gets the better of him —

Our drive over well gritted roads in temperatures just above freezing to Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig went well —

but the short winter days meant it was dusk by the time we made the return crossing —

and there was the Belnahua waiting to take us safely once again over the narrows of Cuan Sound —

and home —

to Luing πŸ™‚

 

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in boats, Isle of Luing, out and about

 

Evening Star

via Evening Star

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in out and about

 

Evening Star

Helen’s latest painting – a water colour showing two roe deer amongst the rowans on our knoll looking down the pond and across Sound of Luing to the robust Isle of Scarba —

Helen has taken a bit of artistic licence with the placement of the star – but hey – itΒ is coming up for Christmas after all πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2017 in Isle of Luing

 

CRF250 Rally Does the Cliff Walk

Sunday was one of those days when I thought I might dig over part of our vegetable patch only to find it water-logged from all the ‘weather’ we have had in recent months so I left it in the capable care of our resident roe deer buck —

and headed out on the 250 Rally with the intention of riding some of the farm tracks on the island —

The tracks were OK but when they ran out I found the grass covered sections to be just as water-logged as my garden —

Rather than cut them up I pulled out and cantered over on the tarry stuff to Blackmill Bay —

where I took a few ‘artistic’ shots of the remains of the old jetty —

that – as this old post card shows – had once been the main lifeline to and from the island —

But a red-blooded guy with a itchy throttle hand can only take so much of this before his mind starts to wander and thoughts turn elsewhere —

to the stony path running part-way up the cliff between the two slate quarries in the north-west of the island —

Stormy seas have washed out parts of the old track but there was enough left for me to get a pic or two —

and set the scene —

before heading back to meet up at the Atlantic Island Centre in Cullipool where my son Jim was celebrating his birthday with friends and family —

Not a bad day all round πŸ™‚

 

‘No Snow on the Isle of Luing’ – says the MSX125 Gorm

Across the Sound of Luing our neighbouring Isle of Scarba has it’s cap of snow —

and our ‘big’ neighbour across the Sound of Lorn – the mountainous Isle of Mull has more than it’s fair share of the white stuff —

but here on the Isle of Luing it’s like a summer’s day —

if you give or take the occasional flurry of hail – sleet or snot —

So good in fact that I brought out the ‘surfer dude’ bike – the MSX125 Gorm and went looking for long distance Atlantic Breakers – only to find them a trifle benign —

No worries – as our near neighbours say over there on the Slate Isle of Easdale – ‘the nearest landmass when we look seaward is Brazil’ – that’s a smidgen under six thousand miles for an albatross so no doubt we will have many a ‘good blow’ before winter is out πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, out and about

 

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 πŸ™‚

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

 

CRF Rally etched with Crinan Canal and High Couture

Etched? I have to call it something and I’ve forgotten what my ‘puter called this proccess —

I’m not sure about the result – but – Helen likes it and that’s a plus. Her V-strom is black for starters so I don’t suppose I can improve it in photo-shop —

mmm’m – not bad.

Saturday had us Christmas shopping in Lochgilphead – a few nice little shops there and you either find something – or you don’t. I found everything I needed in 30 mins flat but it took Helen slightly longer —

No worries – we still had time for a walk by Crinan Canal – I can see us taking the bicycles down there and cycling the whole seven miles of it sometime soon —

And – what about the high couture? The one that got away – the hat that didn’t make our wedding back in June —

I still can’t believe this lovely lady married me —

and introduced me to a life of peace – contentment – and occasional sunshine πŸ™‚