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.