Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Elgin Cathdral, Speyside in Autumn

On Sunday, after I dropped a friend at the bus station in Elgin, the sun was shining and I thought why not visit the Cathedral. The autumn colours in the park by the Cathedral were looking vibrant and the trees by the River Lossie were gleaming in the sunlight. As a member of Historic Scotland, I decided to climb to the top of the Cathedral to view the surrounding town and countryside. The view to the Abbots House next door was fantastic. On view are a selection of photos I took on Sunday. I recently downloaded picasa 3 beta and discovered the joy of making collages. Picasa 3 from google is a great free programme and easy to use and to upload photos to the net. Today the weather has turned to winter and we have an inch or so of snow outside my window. Hope to get some snowy photos later when the snow goes off!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Red Squirrel visits Bluefolds Cottages

Steve and I had great excitement about 3 weeks ago when we saw a red squirrel visiting our bird nut feeders outside Folds Cottage for the first time. Since then every time we have been cleaning the cottage ready for visitors, I have looked out the glass door and sure enough the red squirrel has been there. It has been great fun trying to get some nice photos of it and after a few attempts wanted to share our red squirrel with everyone. We are hopeful that this will be the start of red squirrel family moving into our trees.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Autumn in Avonside and Glenlivet

This autumn it has been a joy to travel around Speyside from our holiday cottages in Glenlivet up to Tomintoul and along to the Victor Gaffney viewpoint which has stunning views to Ben and River Avon then back down to Glenlivet stopping off at the Packhorse bridge at Bridgend of Glenlivet where along with autumn colours, I found harebells still in bloom. We had a sharp frost in early October which suddenly gave us lots of wonderful colours. We also had the first snow of the winter lying briefly at Bluefolds cottages. Ben Avon and the Cairngorms have had a beautiful covering of snow for the last week.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Summer in Speyside

Scotland-Glenlivet in Summer and Autumn
Over the last few weeks, there has been some lovely weather. We had 2 really hot (for Speyside) weeks in July including the Highland Games at Dufftown. The weather has been mainly sunny during August, but much cooler than July with some days already feeling like autumn is here! I have noticed that the days are definitely shortening. T-in the Park, is in Glenlivet Hall for the whole month of August and seems to be very busy. I popped in today and had a delightful plate of Irish soup! Just shows we are very versatile in Speyside. Thre hanging and fence baskets are all looking good making the hall look exceptionally welcoming. The heather is looking stunning this year and I walked part of the way up Ben Rinnes to try and get some good colours and views. The barley is starting to change colour in this area, although on the Moray Firth coast the barley has already been harvested!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Visit to MacDuff and Troup Head

As the sun was still shining, Jane and I head to the Moray Firth coast for a change of scenery, the following day. The seascapes as we drove along the coastal trail east were beautiful. We stopped and had an early lunch at the Cornerstone Restaurant in MacDuff. It is close to the Maritime museum and does excellent food. After lunch we drove east out of MacDuff through the harbour area marvelling at the fishing boats, but thinking that if we were enjoying seeing them it meant they were not fishing! We drove to the end of the road where the open air swimming pool used to be and found some wonderful rock formations.
Later we drove past Crovie and out to Troop Head. We parked at the RSPB Reserve car park and enjoyed the walk out to the cliffs listening to the sounds of the seabirds. It is a fairly steep climb up behind the cliff face to get to the best vantage point for viewing the birds An RSPB warden was on the cliffs with her telescope and was delighted to tell us about the different birds we could see as well as setting up the telescope for us to get close up views of some of the chicks. We saw gannets and chicks, kittiwake and chicks, guillemot and chicks and razorbills. We were lucky enough to see a passing Great Skua who was on the hunt for eggs or unguarded chicks. The highlight of the day was on our walk back to the car, we saw 3 puffins. Jane had never seen seabirds nesting on cliffs before and had for a long time wanted to see puffins so we were thrilled.

There is a lot to explore in the whole of this area including Gardestown, Crovie and Pennan, but it was Wimbledon on the TV so we decided to rush back to catch the end of it!

Summer is here

Summer has arrived in Speyside. After our late winter and short spring, it is great that summer has arrived. We had family visiting last week and I took the opportunity to visit the gardens at Ballindalloch castle. My sister-in-law, Jane is a keen gardener and an artist. She loved the gardens and was very impressed by all the hard work that goes into maintaining them. She loved the selection of plants in the border by the entrance to the castle and could see that it would be a riot of colour for the next few months. The rock garden also looked great, but my favourite time is in spring when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in full bloom adding lots of pinks and reds to the many shades of green. We were just a little early to see the walled garden's many variety of roses at their best, but already there was a wonderful fragrance in the air with many different scented roses just coming into bloom. Apart from all the beautiful flowers and trees which are any gardeners dream there are now some llamas to visit as well. It was lovely to see the baby llama who is exceptionally cute.

After walking around the garden and driving around the Speyside area, I started thinking about the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Photographic Competition for 2009. Full details of the contest and how to enter are on the Greater Speyside Website.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Winter in Speyside

Having returned from a holiday in New Zealand it was time to get the cottages ready for the Christmas and New Year visitors. Although we had some cold weather over the period, it was unfortunate that there was no snow. The weather has changed a great deal over the last 8 years since we have been living in the Speyside area. For the first 5 years snow was guaranteed normally between Christmas and the New Year. In fact, for 2 years we were completely snowed in. Instead this year it was frosty which is also pretty, but not much use to the youngsters who wanted to go sledging or sking! However the Glenfarclas and Aberlour distilleries were open between Christmas and New Year so at least the adults could get some New Year cheer. Early in the New Year, we had some lovely snowy days and I rushed out to take photos at the Packhorse bridge in Glenlivet. Another day when I was walking by the River Spey, I walked over the Penny Bridge in Aberlour and saw this beautiful heron fishing. During February we had some beautiful weather which led to my husband going to play his first golf of 2008 on a glorious sunny day.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Autumn in Speyside

I really must get into the habit of writing up the blog on a regular basis! There is always lots of beautiful scenery to photograph and things to see and do around Speyside. The autumn colours were wonderful like the photo on the left of the River Spey between Rothes and Craigellachie. Between February and the end of September this is a wonderful fishing spot where I often see fishermen up to their waists in the cool Spey water. I haven't seen anyone catching a fish yet, but maybe I didn't wait around for long enough. I was driving over to work at our cottages at Bluefolds in Glenlivet and could not resist stopping to photograph Ben Rinnes on the way up to the cottages. I just loved the light on the wild corn and the colour of the hills. Alice Littler park with the Aberlour Church looks great in autumn too.