Saturday, 5 September 2009

Lonach Highland Games

What a fantastic day out! The weather was lovely and the drive over the heather clad hills to Strath Don was breathtaking. This was my first visit to the Lonach Highland Games although I have visited all my other local ones many times - Dufftown, Tomintoul and Aberlour as well as Braemar. Having seen and talked to some of the Lonach Highlanders at the Gathering in Edinburgh at end of July, I was keen to finally see them in action in their home place. Strathdon is very small with a tiny village and to see the car parks full of cars for at least 1/2 a mile in every direction was an eye opener. The place was buzzing with excitement. The setting is great with plenty of space for lots of retail opportunities as well as a very busy arena with dancing, piping, heavy games and athletics all taking place simultaneously. It was difficult to know where to look as there was such a lot happening. The Pipe Bands led the Lonach Highlanders around the field and it is truly a remarkable spectacle. We were told that Billy Connelly and Pamela Stephenson were present, but I did not bump into them. The colour of the day was wonderful and the men of all ages involved in the Highlanders is great to see in this day age.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Summer in Glenlivet and area

It has been a busy summer with lots of visitors staying at Bluefolds Holiday cottages and also lots staying at my home. This has given me many chances to get out and about and to see the area through visitors eyes. I had a wonderful trip via Cullen to Troup Head to see how the Gannets were doing this year. There seemed to be lots of large chicks, some already having lost all their fluff and looking very similar to the adults except for black spots on their wings. The walk out to the RSPB reserve at Troup Head is wonderful itself with views over the Moray Firth and round the headland to the small fishing village of Pennan. There always seems to be a wide range of butterflies flying around and I managed to photograph 2 different ones. I just love the isolation of this headland and the beauty and drama of the changing scenery. Many other seabird nest there during the season including kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots and puffins, but I was too late in the season to see much beside the beautiful gannets. Troup Head is the only place in Scotland where you can visit the gannets on land - all other gannet colonies such as the Bass Rock are on islands.