The Woodlife Way

Handmade in the Highlands - Woodcrafts and B&B

Category: History (page 1 of 2)

A perfectly magical Birthday trip out.

 

Just at the end of our road, our first photo stop on The Kyle-of-Tongue causeway. A beautiful scene with the sun still low, lighting the snow on Ben Loyal.

Snow on Ben Loyal and the sun warming out morning, a great start to a special day

 

This is my photo of Snow covered Ben Hope with Bruiser watching  Steve on the Kyle slipway taking the previous photo (above) of Ben Loyal.

 

The gorse is in bloom framing the shot.

Beautiful fresh frost on the winter grasses, we stopped here because Bruiser was squeaking so loudly at the Deer he watching through the window. He likes to get out of the car and sit and watch them for a bit. (yes very spoilt dog) .

Glistening Cold and frosted grasses.

This my idea of a perfect road. Small unobtrusive and empty. Definitely on of our favourites, and to tell the truth there are very few roads to choose from here in the Highlands, and most look like this.

The road to Altnaharra with Snow topped Ben Klibreck in the background

Our first sightings of Snowdrops this year. these are in the grounds of Dunrobin Castle where we went by kind invitation to pick up a Yew branch, we are very excited to start work on this beautiful wood which has a rich auburn centre and stunning growth rings, I hope we do it justice.

A trip to Dunrobin would not be complete without taking in this beautiful little Station scene. (it is a request stop) The new season castle opening times begin on the 1st April. I would suggest allowing a full day as there is so much to see and here.

Dunrobin Castle Station. This was built as, and remains the private railway station of the Sutherland family. However everyone can use the ScotRail trains which serve the station. Dunrobin castle is just a short 5 minute walk down a magnificent Tree lined drive from the station.

We drove home via the Loch Brora road, the sun lit our route and added some magical scenes on the water. This is an amazing capture by Steve, the photo is un-edited and created completely by nature.

Tree Magic! An amazing image of a tree and a sun flare on the shores of Loch Brora.

 

We love the swirling pattern caused by the waterfall on this long exposure shot.

The sun setting on the last stretch of the return home led tome great reds in our last photo’s of the day. With the Snow on Ben Klibreck completing the scene.

Between Altnarra and Lairg, in the shadow of Ben Klibreck is this lovely little waterfall – a perfect place for Steve to practice his long exposure photography.

And to complete a wonderful 2017 birthday, A bedtime Aurora. Both Steve and I had an Aurora end to our birthdays this year.

This was a lovely end to a fantastic day. A birthday aurora at bedtime. Perfect.

Catch up post. Mainly photo story.

I was so pleased to be invited to help (with the fleeces) In the clipping shed. The sheep were very pleased to be unloading the weight.

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

At the clipping shed

A short break at the clipping shed, Riona with her adorable Bo (Highland calf) and Bert (Bo’s very own pet lamb).

In the evenings I have been attempting to card and spin the wool. I have made a drop spindle and am at present getting the fleece to resemble thread! I learnt from youtube video’s and no 2 are the same so trial and much error! Time is the main factor.

We have had many visits from family and friends, sadly I have written the photos to our other hard drive and need to upload these before 7am (data allowance) So I will attempt another family and friends blog sooooooon!!

Here are some summer into Autumn photos.

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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First snow of Winter 2016

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

 

 

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Amazing guests

These guys are professional photographers, check out their work. http://simonemondino.it

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Some things I love about the Highlands

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The terrible two. Our lovely friends black labrador over for a visit.

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Relics

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One of our favourite ruins

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Our lovely new fence on the croft. Thank you Tommy,

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On the beach at the bottom of the croft.

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beach Ben Loyal and Ben Hope

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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From the back bedroom window.

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Dunrobin castle.

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Seals on the sandbank

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Devils bit scabious sowing it’s seeds

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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local wildlife

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fallen from the nest but mum still fed and looked after it.

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from the front bedroom window

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most nights this week from the back bedroom window. The Aurora Borealis.

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A trip down the west coast

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First snow of 2016

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

Currently we are working flat out on the croft. We are building drystone walls, repairing tracks, fencing, planting trees etc. The daylight hours are short so sun up to sundown there is no time to waste having a break, drink, rest take photo’s etc. Another subject for the next blog. We are currently creating a track down our croft , which anyone who has visited will be aware REALLY needed attention!

Saffie is enjoying the company

Saffy is enjoying the company

 

 

Just June

The June photo blog is a bit late, we are already halfway through July… Hey ho!

One of the best things that happened in June was the first visit from eldest daughter and grandchildren, and how they have grown up in the last couple of years, from children to young ladies.

Then:

Girlies

Girlies

and now:

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Young Ladies

We spent a lovely week together, and hopefully now that they have conquered the journey once it will be less daunting next time.

Missing family and friends is the hardest cross to bear when you up sticks and move hundreds of miles away to partake in a new life journey.

Saffy enjoying day 1 of her Turmeric concoction to try to help with her sore leg.

Turmeric face

Turmeric face

Field of view

Field of view

The view from Saffy’s newly bedded out shelter, whether she uses it is yet to be seen. She has no problem coming in when we go in there. Not so sure that she will use it to shelter from the extreme weather though, only time will tell.

We took a day out in the sunshine to visit Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, an incredible castle near Wick.

castle 2

castle

and then on to see the puffins at Duncansby head

puffins

and Puffling

puffling

and of course see the Duncansby sea stacks, a favourite haunt of ours.

duncansby stacks

Cherries and Apples appearing on the new trees on the croft

cherries 2

apples

One of our favourites, the beautiful Butterfly Orchid.

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Bog cotton

bog cotton

Fragrant orchid and burnet moth

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Not sure what this is so ID please?

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Bruiser having a majestic moment out on the Moine

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Our first ever sighting of Red throated divers, so a very special day for us, they were on Loch Loyal.

red throated diver

We had to go out because Bruiser had his jabs – it’s only 70 miles to the vet! So we dropped down to Tain and had a little walk that included going over a pedestrian suspension bridge.

suspension bridge at Tain

Rainbows at the bottom of the garden.

rainbows

Steves idea of a play on words…

Bruiser’s favourite tipple – a little drop of peat pool (a family favourite wine is Picpoul….. isn’t he funny?!)

peat pool

A Few other June photo’s showing off the Kyle!

The Kyle of Tongue Hostel looking splendid.

Youth Hostel looking spectacular

Sea Haar rolling in

sea haar

The sea haar later on, taken down on the beach.

Lovely furry little antlers

furry antlers

Being June we have also been chock-o-block with B&B guests – after the family left we only had 1 night off for the rest of the month – and we had to block that from the calendar so that it wasn’t booked out! Fantastic stuff!

We also received our 100th five star review, which we are incredibly proud of and can’t believe we have that many already!

Thanks to the Mackaays for the following – (can also be read here: airbnb.co.uk/reviews along with all of our Guest room reviews)

“This was the best of the 7 AirBnB’s we stayed during our five weeks’ trip! Steve and Lea are wonderful hosts and have created a fabulous place to stay in the most glorious scenery imaginable. Every detail in the house has been crafted and set up for a perfect stay. Photos of the house and of the scenery are absolutely true to life. Steve’s breakfasts are a wonder and his service is impeccable. Enjoy the music, all who venture here! The ‘crafting and crofting’ lifestyle Steve and Lea have created for themselves and for others to enjoy is a delight. They are hospitable and generous hosts of the first order.”

You could not ask for a lovelier 100th review.

 

 

 

3 Sheds 2 Men 1 Week

 

Shed heaven!

Finally after 2 years of dreaming and months of planning, our Stone Byres now have new roofs – and very swanky they are too!

Our lovely outbuildings needed serious attention, we looked out at them on a daily basis and pondered.  But no matter how much we pondered the roofs were still disintergrating!

Last year Steve’s sister and brother in law Spence, visited – he is a master of all things construction with a moderate amount of dry stone walling thrown in… Well, one thing lead to another and by the time they left he’d voiced out loud his intention to take on the project. An amount of gentle persuasion and Adam (Spence’s eldest son, and competent tradesman too) was soon on the workforce.

Various emails went back and forth regarding timescales, schedules and what materials were needed. Dates were set and Steve hunted down and ordered the materials. I increased my tool kit! (rubs hands together with glee!)

Then it was on to preparation work in readiness for the big week.

work begins with the stripping

work begins with the stripping

Mmmmm

Mmmmm…… and just look at that corner wall!

The buildings had to be emptied of all their ‘stuff’ and dry storage found under tarps. The disintegrating roof sheets and all the roof timbers needed to be dismantled and taken away and the precariously dangerous and unstable corner walls of shed 3 had to be taken down carefully in readiness for rebuilding – and all this fitted in whilst being open for Bed and Breakfasts and working on a fencing and field plan for the croft…. Blimey!

The first weight off our minds was the roofing materials arriving 2 weeks before ‘the boys’ arrived – very exciting!

And then the big day rolled around and Steve left here early Saturday morning in pretty thick snow to drive the 100 miles to the airport to collect the family for the last stage of the 800 mile trip.

Saturday morning

Saturday morning

They had had a good flight and saw some pretty snowy scenes and many deer on route. Warm fires simple jacket potato’s a night cap and early to bed ready for an early start for Day 1

And didn’t they do well!

first post

first post

 

excitement in Melness!

excitement in Melness!

Getting a level, and digging big hole

Getting a level, and digging big hole

posts up

posts up

ring beam in the making

ring beam in the making

a frames

ring beam

day 1

day 1

factory on the farm

factory on the farm

Gable

Gable

top team

top team

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making the ears

making the ears

pretties

pretties

seems a shame to cover it

seems a shame to cover it

beautiful

beautiful

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first roof sheets going on

first roof sheets going on

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the gang

the gang

the gang still smiling....

the gang still smiling….

the gang

the gang

helping

helping

the gang.... stoned again

the gang…. stoned again

level

level

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Day 1 big posts and ring beam on. Check

Day 2 A frames and purlins,  rafters started,

Day 3 rafters finished and roofing sheets started

Day 4 roofing sheets finished, end walls and barge boards done tie downs started.

Day 5 ridge boards done, dry stone wall mostly done, stone work at the back of the sheds done and tie downs finished –

Day 6 a couple of hours finishing the stone wall and the rest of the day off! Road trip to Durness and Smoo cave.

Incredible work, Spence had 7am starts and they both worked through some Highland weather on Monday (day 2) – and worked really hard every day. We kept them fed, watered and helped where we could… we are so impressed with the results – and not only us…our lovely neighbours have been very complimentary too.

Thank you Spence and Adam (and Jacinta of course, we have evidence that you contributed to the stone wall) for our wonderful new roofs…. Hooray!  Top Team.

the gang

the gang

 

 

Geopark rock stop café and the Inchnadamph Bone Caves

We celebrated our 19th anniversary with a trip down the scenic West Highland coast, to the North West Geopark rock stop café. The most impressively sited café we have encountered, a panorama of wonder. Cake, coffee, stunning scenery and education.

Check out the North west highland Geopark rockstop cafe

We then stopped at Ardvreck castle Calda house

Calda house on Loch Assynt

Calda house on Loch Assynt

Ardvreck castle remains on Loch Assynt

Ardvreck castle remains on Loch Assynt

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Calda house on Loch Assynt

The last stop of was the Inchnadamph Bone Caves

Bone caves

Bone caves

Bone Caves

Bone Caves

Bone caves

Bone caves

which engulfed the absolute best of the Highland geology history and complete wilderness. A great walk into the mountains passing waterfalls (and rock falls) along a river valley, passing the source of the river which was fascinating.

source of river

source of river

Back home, our beach has been a hive of activity recently with wildlife.

cows

cows

cows

cows

Horses

Horses

We are very happy to report that the Seals are back, they had been pretty scarce over the last few weeks and we really missed them. We currently have a group Of 5 and a group of 7 which haul out in front of the croft on the sandbanks. We have been calling these groups “pods” . I have just researched this as we guessed we were grabbing at straws and our thesaurus says “rookery collective noun”

We wouldn’t have guessed that!

seals

seals

The Garden had a new visitor this week,

Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk

A sparrow hawk – we have a lot of sparrows in the garden…

The mountains have been hidden as much as visible recently, a strange pinky haze has accompanied the hot weather with a sea haar sitting all along the Kyle sometimes, bringing the visibility right down to within the garden walls.

Sea Haar

Sea Haar heading along The Kyle

Sea Haar eaten our view

Sea Haar eaten our mountain view

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