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The Kelpies

Places to go and people to see!

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Well it’s now over a month since our Lodges at the Mains Bloggy first arrived on the scene with great intentions of becoming a weekly report. However, as with the birth of all new things, there have been sleepless nights (aka partying), routines to set up (as in how many afternoon teas are acceptable in one week ), the ‘correct’ way to behave – as in afternoon tea – dunking biscuits or not? Pinkies up or not? People and places to visit (plenty of that this time) and of course the thank you letters – emailed, pre printed or handwritten on homemade parchment using a swan’s feather dipped in vegetable dye? All perfectly acceptable.

So on to the people and places to visit first. We’ve been working hard this past month, forcing ourselves to go to various wonderful events and places especially for your benefit. Ah it’s a hard life attending festivals, visiting islands and eating and drinking our delicious home produced gin, beers, steaks, fish – need I go on?

We started locally with our very own Nairn Highland Games. An afternoon of caber tossing, highland dancing, tug-o-war, athletics and pipe bands. The background scenery was the ever beautiful Moray Firth, the Black Isle and of course the inimitable Fairground with its stomach churning rides, loud music and ever present aroma of fried onions – brilliant. No goldfish but Minions a plenty.

This was closely followed by a trip to Edinburgh (obligatory stop at House of Bruar for lunch) to soak up some of the festival atmosphere and of course watch the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. What an amazing show. Pipes, drums, dancers, musicians from all over the world. Shetland fiddlers, New Zealand marching band, horses from Jordan and with each different act an impressive display of images superimposed on the castle silhouette. There was even a tribute to David Bowie – now that was impressive! Check out our facebook page for some live highland dancing.

Next day saw us up early and heading home via The Kelpies.  They are huge! A quick swing in past The Battle of Bannockburn Visitors Centre and we were away up through the beautiful Drumochter Pass which was a blaze of purple heather for miles.

The Kelpies

Two days to catch breath, household chores etc and then away up the A9 to Gills Bay to catch the Pentalina Ferry to Saint Margaret’s Hope on the Orkney island of South Ronaldsay. If you’ve never been to Orkney then it is an absolute must. What an incredible destination. I may be biased having a surname of Harcus, but despite being a Harcus by marriage, I feel instantly at home there. Two days is hardly long enough but we were on a specific mission and had done most of the major tourist attractions like Scara Brae, St Magnus Cathederal, Ring of Brodgar etc on previous trips and family holidays. This time our mission was to find someone to take us across to the island of Copinsay where my mother in law was brought up alongside her 13 siblings in the only house on the island save the lighthouse. What a childhood that must have been. The island is now an RSPB Reserve and the lighthouse is no longer manned but we hoped off our little fishing boat – our skipper went to check his creels for lobsters – and spend an hour wandering the shoreline and imagining what it must have been like to live there with 14 children, the teacher brought over to stay during term time, and no iphones, ipads, designer clothes or time saving gadgets we have today. A pretty thought provoking hour. In no time our skipper was back and on the return journey we were entertained by around twelve dolphins out for either afternoon tea as it was only 4p.m or an early fish and chip supper. We are used to seeing the Moray Firth Dolphins here and it was a treat to see their relatives up in Orkney waters.

Copinsay Beach, Orkney

A quick trip to Ness the new archeological dig near the Ring of Brodgar and a delicious lunch at the Orkney Brewery just left time to say hello to a few of our own relatives before heading back on the Northlink ferry the Hamnavoe from Stromness to Scrabster.

The Orkney Brewery

So there you have it. Hence the long period of silence from Bloggy!!

September has crept upon us and we are enjoying some beautiful weather. The rowan trees at the Lodges are laden with deep red berries and three of the fields which were harvested for the biodigester have been ploughed ready for sowing again.

At the farm we have a little family of swallows, who perch on the rafters and every so often zoom out on short flights to strengthen their wings. In the evenings the electricity wires are looped low with the weight of starlings gathering and it looks like musical notes on the staff. I wonder if it would sound like a tune we know – probably +++++++++++++++++

So onto the thank you letters. Well we’ve had a very busy summer and thanks go to all the visitors who booked to spend their holidays in one of our Lodges. They’d be pretty lonely without you so thank you for filling them up and enjoying all the things they provide both in the Lodge itself, the grounds and the wider area.

Autumn is fast approaching and with it comes some incredible colours, landscapes, skies and festivals. Hot on it’s heels comes Winter with Christmas and New Year very popular so why not check out our facebook page and of course the website and book your getaway break. You sure deserve it!

Catch up in October. Bedtime for Bloggy.