Monday, 28 April 2014

A potter in Kergord


It would seem my walk yesterday was a bit presumptive. I'm suffering from it now. When I told the chiropractor today she said 20-30 minutes walk at a time, not 3 hours on the hills your backs not up to that yet. Still no damage done other than tired aching body and mind.

Feeling run down on Sunday after it the most I did was pop up to Kergord with Beren for him to have a play with his radio controlled rock crawler.


He got it with money from Easter and it's pretty impressive where it can go.


He also had a play on the usual ropes and logs that are about the woods...



I pottered about and took a  few photos too...


Plenty of plants were coming into bud,leaf and flower; it was lovely there.

Horse chestnut..
 

Larch...


Spruce...


Oxalis...


Bracken fronds...


We've had a few glorious days lately, but can you believe it they say we're due for snow in the next day or two!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Back on the hills; The Button Hills

After 6 weeks (really!) of moping about in agony I seem to be fixed! Last night while doing my stretches I felt an new click in my back and awoke this morning to no pain! Aching muscles, but no pain. Woo Hoo, locked facet joint be gone!

With my new found mobility I decided to go for a walk on the hills above Brae and see if I could find the Ludiowic Stone, a small standing stone put in place in by Ludowic Dunbar a Minister in 1878. I took it easy after 6 weeks of doing nothing more energetic than brushing my teeth, though it's pretty rough going with no paths over peat moor, peat bog and peat hags. 9.3km and 3 hours later I was back at the car, tired, but happy.


It's a steep climb up the heathery hills from the cemetery at Brae, but there are some great views and some great  clouds too today.

Looking over Muckle Roe...


Over Brae to Mavis Grind...


And onwards and upwards over the eroded peat...


Ridings Hill. By now I'd seen a number of hares, red grouse, grey-lag geese, ravens and my first pair of bonxies of the year, as well as enjoying the sound of the skylarks...



At Button Hill (252m)...


Ronas Hill in the far distance...


I wandered about for sometime looking for the Ludowic Stone, but didn't find it. That's the second stone near here I've not found. I could be hidden away between the eroded peat banks or may be even collapsed in the peat; it was only a couple of foot high anyway.

The weather seemed to be changing now. The clouds were even weirder with these undulatus asperatus in the sky. I wish I'd brought my tripod as they'd have made a brilliant time lapse. Thinking of weight and my back I'd left it in favour of trekking poles and minimal carry.




I was going to go to Souther Hill, but the weather looked like it was taking a turn for the worst, I had had a good walk and thought to quit while ahead. I headed down Skella Dale towards The Thieves Knowe (any trowies there?) with rain starting at my back and followed the lovely burn for a way to some falls. I disturbed a pair of raven's near the falls and then saw their nest with 2 eggs in it, wonderful! Again saving weight I'd not brought my telephoto lens, typical.

Soon I was on my way back around to the north end of Brae and my car to get out of the rain and home for a well deserved cuppa. My back still feels good and my legs tired, so I just need to keep it up now and get my fitness back.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter weekend

With the aid of Shetland Chiropractic and YouTube for some stretching exercises my bad back (which turns out to be a locked lumbar facet joint (I think)) is slowly on the mend so we got out on Saturday evening for some much needed fresh air on Meal Sands at Burra. It'd been a beautiful day...




Here's a short time lapse of the setting sun...


Easter Sunday was the day of The St Ninian's Isle Trail Run which Clare was taking part in. I'd planned to, but was limited to a support role. Anyway it was another lovely day and while Clare sprinted around her 5.7km run Beren and I took the kite with my action cam for a walk along the tombolo...



 


That was enough exercise for me, but when we got home Clare the superstar gave the grass it's first cut of the year before flaking out for a well deserved rest.

Let's hope this gorgeous weather continues...

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A family gathering at Loch Insh

After our Caledonian Canal trip we had a day to kill before we could meet up with the rest of the Serginson clan at Loch Insh for a week together. We headed north of Inverness to The Black Isle. It's not actually an island an I'm not sure why it is 'black' because it is bloody lovely with the best of coast, woodlands and pretty villages.

We had a run up the east coast to Chanory Point to look for dolphins. We didn't see any, may be as the tide was slack?

Nice lighthouse though...


We carried on up the coast to Cromarty for lunch at Sutor Creek an artesan woodfired pizza and local produce cafe  (very nice!) and had a mosey about the village.



And another nice lighthouse...


After a run out to The Sutors of Cromarty we headed back along the west coast via the oddly named Jemimaville and sand flats and then were on our way to Loch Insh. The Black Isle is a place that I'd love to go back to and spend quality time at.

The run to Loch Insh near Aviemore was pleasant and short so in no time we were meeting up with my daughter and her family, my brother and his family, my Mam and my Nana who's been stuck in Mam's wardrobe for the last 11 years. She was having her last holiday before we finally spread her ashes!

I was still in agony with my back and couldn't do the water sports that were available, but it was great to see everyone and the kids had plenty of places to explore around the chalets we'd hired.

Beren and my granddaughter Faith had a great, but challenging time learning to ski...




It was pretty tricky...


There was much fun on the open canoes too...


And a bit of kayaking going on ...





I tried to do a bit, but it was just too painful. However I did get a holiday treat with some time alone watching the pair of Ospreys that had just returned to Loch Insh the week before...



 


There were plenty of other birds about too, great tits, blue tits, siskins, bull finches and a few more I got photos of...





We had some nice trips out and about including the odd tasty cake shop and restaurant,but my heart wasn't really in it with my on-going back pain, so I didn't take many photos of our runs out. I think we'd all like to meet up there again an make the most of the countryside and water sports, it's a great place to stay with so much amazing countryside around.



A trip along the Caledonian Canal

Apologies for the length of this post, but it's a record of our family holiday on The Caledonian Canal this Easter Holiday on a boat from Caley Cruisers, The Highland Glen.

We were very lucky with the weather for our long awaited holiday, but sadly I was in no fit state to do anything with a crippling back problem that came out of the blue a couple of weeks earlier. When I wasn't manouvering the boat most of my time was spent lying down or trying to stretch my back. Anyway enough of the poor me. The 60 mile trip from Inverness to near Fort William and then back was fantastic, as was the boat. We'd never been in this area before and we've certainly got plans to return either in canoe or on foot to explore some more of the glen that we couldn't stop at on the boat.

We started from Caley Cruisers marina in Inverness and after  a quick lesson were soon on our way to our first nights stop at Urquart Bay on Loch Ness.

Just leaving Inverness...



And heading for Loch Ness on Loch Dochfour...


Just entering Loch Ness...




We made it to our first stop at Urquart Bay on Loch Ness with out Nessie sinking the boat. A pay and display marina!


The next morning we woke to a beautiful day...


And headed off to the Urquart Castle mooring for a quick look round before most were out of bed...



A pretty impressive place dating back to the 13th century and an important player in the Scottish wars of Independence, hope we don't have nay more this September!


A short whizz across and down the loch saw us at Foyers where we wanted to see the waterfalls and sample a cake or two.The woodlands were wonderful, but the pain from my back made it slow going and we didn't get to the upper falls, though we did get to the cafe!


The lower falls of Foyers...


Carrying on along the 23mile of Loch Ness we passed a few boats and some canoeists too, but it was all very quiet...


At the western end of Loch Ness of Fort Augustus. A lovely village with a flight of 5 locks to go through and Augustus Abbey.


We had a shock when we learned that we had to turn the engine off and pull the boat through the flight of locks. My stupid pride had me doing much more than I was able to (essentially nothing) despite the offers of help from the kind lock keepers. One day I'll learn!



We carried on past Fort Augustus and moored along at Kytra Lock, an isolated lock with no public road to it which suited us just fine...


On our way the next morning we saw some deer that, though these don't really count as I think they were farmed deer...


The next loch we came to was Loch Oich, one of our favourite lochs with crannogs and islands...




 We stopped at Invergarry Castle on the way there and back. A wonder place with nice, if not over priced, afternoon teas.


And a sad looking sunken boat...


The castle remains...


 After a quick pit stop at the Great Glen Water Park we were on our way to Gairlochy Lochs for the night.

On our return journey we also stopped at the Well of The Severn Heads (or as I called it severed heads). Good cake and bacon butties and and interesting story and preserved well.



We had beautiful weather...



After Loch Oich we were off along the Laggan Avenue to Ceann Loch and Loch Lochy.


And we moored at Gairlochy Lochs for the night with a view of Glen Nevis in the background...


The next day was a short run to Banavie near Fort William where Neptune's Staircase marked the end of our westward journey. I managed to get some temporary relief with a deep massage and Clare braved Fort William, but soon came running back having had enough of civilisation after our seclusion on the boat.









Here's Ben Nevis from the boat...



And here's a little time lapse of the clouds on Ben Nevis very early the next morning before we began our return trip to Inverness...


 And a video of our trip too...