Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highland Hols #3

The rest was all cycling and gardens and seafood.


One day we rode through and around the Applecross Peninsula.

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Lunch in Applecross - the Scottish answer to a plate of sashimi.... at least 7 different types of seafood.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Highland Hols #2

Scotland is bigger than it looks. This is because, as you go north, the roads get narrower.

For example, here is a Scottish A road, and an English A road (photos by jules and George Hatton, respectively):
 

In order to make it to Torridon by the appointed hour we had to drive diligently, and only stopped off for a couple of hours to tourist around Eilean Donan Castle. We were, of course, still bruised, and it was also raining quite a bit. But it was a fun stop.

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For our honeymoon we stayed at the Loch Torridon hotel, a hotel which was then of similar stature to Ardanaiseig. However, it has at some point in our lengthy absence been rebranded as the "The Torridon" and now sports a dark grey and white sign at the entrance. As those of you who follow interior design will know, dark grey signifies an over-adherence to current fashion trends. And sure enough the prices have gone through the roof, and we no longer found any point at all staying there. Instead we opted for The Aurora B&B in nearby Shieldaig. The owner is a real stickler, with extraordinary attention to detail. You feel you really must obey the rules, but as a result it is an extremely comfortable place to stay and we would gladly return.
 
Our first fishy dinner was enjoyed in downtown Shieldaig. Funny thing about British people is that they don't normally eat any raw seafood apart from the one raw thing that the Japanese wisely avoid - raw oysters! So, despite my generic yearning for raw fish, I avoided the oysters and remained un-poisoned. 
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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Highland Holidays

For our 20th wedding anniversary we returned to the scene of the crime, staying overnight at Ardanaisaig hotel near Oban before heading north for a few days near Loch Torridon.

On the way up, we stopped off to fall off our mountain tandem in the rain at Arrochar.

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Very bruised but feeling fortunate not to have broken any bones, overnight in a luxury hotel was very much appreciated. The decor seems a little more subdued,
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but the gardens and views are still lovely, the bed comfortable and the food spectacular.
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The continuing rain was unimportant. It would be selfish to expect otherwise as we had glorious weather 20 years ago when we got married on a hill behind the hotel.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Let's Topiary

Levels Hall Topiary Garden


Working from home, one no longer has to sit in front of the computer waiting for the end of the day. The disadvantage is neglecting to play with photos, including neglecting to blog them. But the advantage is that instead one can go cycling, or swimming, or shopping, or do some gardening, or even watch other people doing gardening. When it is not raining in these parts, it is important to seize  the moments. Two days ago we visited the famous topiary gardens at Levens Hall on the way to doing a LaneQuest in the south Lake District. Must have done something right as we accidentally won (well, joint 1st) the teams category. This is worth remarking upon as we very rarely come 1st in anything.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Yet more Blue Skies!

Windows done, James is making the most of the luxury scaffolding to practice his lime mortar pointing skills. Last week was too cold, then it was too wet, and now, apparently it may be too warm and dry, in which case I'm not sure quite which day of the year would actually be OK for this temperamental task! Anyway, he has no choice, as we can only keep the scaffolding up a bit longer. At least, with all this good weather, he can do some Blue Skies Thinking while he is up there... 


James up  ladder

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

sunshine and BlueSkies

In January there was one day of blue skies and sunshine when it did not rain, so on that day we cycled to Kirkby Lonsdale for breakfast (Kirkby Lonsdale is very 21st century - they let you eat breakfast until noon!!!). Stupidly I did not take a camera. In February it has also rained a great deal. For example, on Sunday we did a fell race in the wind and rain and mud. Running is probably one of the better things to do in the rain, but it was still unpleasant. However, it is hard not to feel an immense sense of glowing achievement just for completing such a stupid thing. Then yesterday it dared to be sunny when I was too tired from the race to go on a long ride. Very annoying. The whole point of BlueSkiesResearch is that we can go and research the blue skies when they appear rather than being stuck inside staring sadly out of the window. Unbelievably, today it also dawned bright! We cycled one of the several off-road routes to Litton, and this time did not forget a camera.

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And to prove it was also sunny at home... one of GingerNut's main hobbies is seeking out sun patches. Presumably he does this in order to make his fur look as orange as possible.
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

To celebrate New Year, we went on a group walk from Settle to the tea shoppe in the ipsy wipsy village of Feizor. About 9.6 miles in total. ShoCKInglY it DiD NOt RAin!


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man and whippet


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Getting wet

Gavin sent me a nice message yesterday with the curious title, "Stay Dry". Then I remembered that he is an American these days and one should not take these things literally. I interpreted it as a version of that "Stay Safe" phrase they love to use. Naturally it is not possible to literally Stay Dry in Yorkshire. It is always raining outside, and inside the new houses leak because they are new, and the old ones leak because they are old. However, recently, it has been quite a bit wetter than is normal! Even wetter than normal wet flood weather!! Apparently the water has invaded the homes of more than 5000 people in this part of the country, and the town where I went to ("high") school is now a Zombie Apocalypse. To be honest it never has been that cheery a place... 

I'm not one for disaster photography. Today the sun came out for a moment, so I cycled up to the local waterfall, Scalebar Force, which was in great form.

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I suppose I missed the best one - apparently, for the first time evs, the waterfall has started flowing over Malham Cove. That's just a few miles away from Scalebar, on the other side of the watershed.

Meanwhile, James is practising his lime mortaring on some of the places where leaks sprung in our house. We avoided buying one of the newish houses nearby that, although favourably priced, seemed to me to be rather close to the flood plain. Ours is over 100 years old, but that alone doesn't offer much in the way of guarantees for dry toes if we are to have frequent 100 year events. 


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Monday, November 30, 2015

Sand Dunes #2

This one has been the front page picture on my iPad ever since...

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The next morning, James and I climbed the nearest dune peak.
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The wind had done a good job of smoothing out all the footprints of the day before, and ours were the first footsteps of the day.

Back to the lodge for a traditional US-stylee breakfast (pancakes etc), and we were back in Boulder that afternoon.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sand Dunes

Last stop on our tour was somewhere we have managed to not visit on several occasions, due to it being a bit out of the way: Great Sand Dunes National Park. We arrived in the afternoon and stayed at the nearby lodge, which was excellent with lovely views of the dunes.


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The existence of the dunes is very interesting; a source of sand in the hills, plus wind blowing and water flowing in the right directions. One might wonder why there are not more dunes about, but these seem to be the only ones in the vicinity, apart, of course, from the ancient ones like those we saw at Canyonlands.
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It was fairly quiet and there was no evening meal available at the lodge, but the rooms had microwave cookers, so we had shopped in a supermarket along the way. Before dinner, we went to have a closer look at the dunes.
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