June 27th, 2009 , 11:30

Joe has photos up! On Flickr and Panoramio. In Flickr you can filter them as Scotland.

He took loads more. Lots and lots and lots more photos.


June 19th, 2009 , 16:57

Well, for the last day I had booked a boat trip out to see the wildlife and Mull. I booked with Mara Mhor for a one day trip (Wildlife Safari) out to Mull and around the coast. So we we were up and out early to catch the boat for 9.30. We ended up being a bit early. The weather has been pretty nasty, so our first task was to decide with the other couple who were going whether or not we were even going out. Well, that was a non-starter, of course we were going out! And we decided to head along the coast and not bother with Mull.

We had some rough water, but it wasn’t too bad. We headed out to a salmon farm and saw the nets and salmon. We could hear the feed going through the pipes into the nets which was weird, and watch the salmon jump. It was interesting to see it up close. We then went around a seal island and saw several seals just lazing around. Though a couple decided to hit the water when the boat came up. Joe got some photos and then we headed off along the islands. Some wonderful scenery and good hot chocolate! During a particularly tricky bit with rough water we came across about three dolphins who started bow surfing. So we were all gathered at the front of the boat watching dolphins while our poor skipper had to navigate us through the rough water! Then off to an area of Jura where his mate had seen a sea eagle nest. We cruised slowly along when the other passenger suddenly started pointing – he’d spotted the eagle sitting up in a tree. So we drifted and watched the eagle, who had no intention of moving at all, sit in the tree. Beautiful.

Then we headed back to Oban. We had a wonderful time, saw loads of sea birds, and got lots of interesting stories. A very good trip.

Out and About Part 2

June 18th, 2009 , 20:16

Have we mentioned it’s wet? Very wet? Miserably wet? Joe thinks it started out drier, but that’s because he’s so wet. Anyway, we drove out to Inverinan to see osprey. Along the way Joe said he saw something so I pulled into a forest track and parked and Joe headed out to see if it was a log or what. Turned out to be deer! We saw one, then it got spooked by a car and we saw the other one as they both headed into the trees. But we still saw the deer! The rain had actually stopped for a bit, and when we got to Inverinan we got out and stood and stared at the osprey nest off in the distance. Watched the osprey sitting under the nest until he flew off. He was hunting and we got to see him dive before we lost view and the rain started again. Poured down. So we drove off to see if we could find the second nest. Found that and parked up in a passing zone area and watched. We were at a lower level then Joe had been before so we really couldn’t see much. Decided to wait until noon and see if anything happened. Just as we were getting ready to go, the osprey flew in, with a fish lunch! Watched him circle the nest area several times, the female came out  of the nest and sat on the edge waiting for him, and he came in and delivered lunch. Then flew off to sit in a nearby tree and preen. Sat and watched him until he flew off hunting again. Wonderful!

Got to Timber Trail and wondered if we should bother in the rain. Decided to carry on and head toward Tarbert. We stopped at Dunadd and climbed up to the fort. Tough climb in places but very good views out over the bog and farmland. Joe got some panoramic photos and we got blown about for a bit! Then on to Tarbert along Loch Fyne. Found parking in Tarbert and walked along the harbour then up to the castle. Had a poke around the castle ruins and looked at the view over the harbour before heading back into town and having a late lunch/early dinner. We had decided to get in early so we headed back towards the B&B and pretty much just drove through. We did stop at Kitchurn Castle viewpoint and walked out to see the view. Of course it rained and the ground was pure bog so we got a bit wet. But the view over the loch to the castle was nice. If wet. We still haven’t seen how to get over to the castle!

But now we’re out of time for wandering around the loch! So it will probably stop raining. We’re off tomorrow for a boat journey around Mull to see water wildlife.

Out and About

June 17th, 2009 , 22:10

Woke up to rain. Pouring rain. Dreary day. Horrid nasty wet miserable grey and did I mention wet day. So we decided hiding from the rain in a hollow mountain sounded like a good idea and we drove to the Cruachan Power Station. So arrived at the visitor’s centre to discover that several bus tours and many other tourists had decided hiding in a hollow mountain was a good idea. And the next tour was about a 2 hour wait. In a vistor’s centre that was packed with a coach or two of elderly tourists plus the other bunch of tourists that had driven up. So we decided to head out and just drive and see where we ended up.

So headed toward Inveraray, where there is a castle. We thought we might stop and see that. So on the road and thought about stopping for photos but the rain was pretty relentless and it was wet and miserable. Once we got to the castle, we sat in the car park and watched the rain and decided we couldn’t be bothered to get wet and then drip all over someone’s stately home. So we headed off again, looking for a break in the rain (and sunshine would be nice) and then decided we couldn’t be bothered with the Auchindrain open air museum (who puts an open air museum in the wet?) nor the Crarae Woodland gardens (did we mention it was wet?) so we carried on down the A83 along the wet Loch Fyne.

We finally reached Lochgilphead where the rain stopped. So we parked up and walked along the loch. The town is tiny but has a wonderful little place called Smiddys where we had a nice light lunch. While we were there the rain started again, but stopped before we finished and left. Leaving Lochgilphead we had a choice – we could carry on down the coast to Tarbert and onwards or turn back up and head towards Kilmartin. So we headed up to Kilmartin, then Kathleen saw the turning to Crinan and just turned.(It was one of those ‘I’m sure I’ve heard of this place’ moments.)

We followed the Crinan canel to, well, to Crinan (where did you think it would go?) We went to Crinan harbour and got out and Joe got some photos while Kathleen looked at birds and waves and boats and generally nifty stuff. Then we drove up to the village and the beginning of the canel. Parked up and watched two sailboats come into the lock to come into the basin. While watching them the rain started again. So back off to the car and onward. We decided to head across the Moine Mhor (the bog) (and rather expecting hobbits and orcs with a name like that!) Yet another tiny one lane road with no name (oh, just been informed its the B8025, right, sorry). But a straight across the bog sort of road. Stopped off halfway across to go across a boardwalk to see the bog and watch the birds. Of course it rained. Then carried on to find out it ended at the Lady Glassary car park, where you can park up to go see the standing stones and temple wood stone circle. We also walked up to the cairn. Joe got several photos and at one point the sun even came out for him. Then we stopped in Kilmartin to get some photos across the landscape and the tombstones in the church yard.

Then onwards along the A816 towards Oban. Stopped off along the way for photos, including another standing stone in another sheep field. Then to Oban where we parked and had dinner. Went to a pub near the ferry building and had an excellent dinner. Got back late but can sleep in a bit tomorrow.

Another Split Day

June 16th, 2009 , 21:00

Kathleen had a slow day doing not a lot, but did manage a walk in Glen Nant. Didn’t see loads of wildlife, though did see a buzzard overhead and lots of little birds, including a wren feeding some fledglings. Otherwise just a lovely walk and a lazy day reading.

Joe had a busier day. Up at 6ish and off by 7am to head to Oban. To the harbour to spend some time photographing black gillamots. Practice taking photos of them in flight and then tried some portraits and shots of them in their nesting holes on the walls of the harbour. Had some coffee and then went off to a site of scientific interest, which is floating vegetatian to see what we could find. It was a new site for the photographer so we explored. We found loads – dragonflies, damsonflies, butterflies, froggies (K- sulk) and on the way out saw a vole. Oh, also had lunch there and he provides a very good lunch! From there we went to check out osprey. The first nest was too far away to get anything decent photography wise, but the second one again we tried something different. We went on the opposite bank we were eye level with the nest and managed to get some good photos. Then back.

I booked Joe on a course with Loch Visions. Joe says he had a good time and would recommend him if you want to come up and do some wildlife photography here!

After Joe returned we headed out to Oyster Inn and ate overlooking Loch Etive. Nice meal and wonderful views.

Joe’s Day

June 15th, 2009 , 18:32


One of the Pictures from the hide

We arrived about 10ish and we basically did light theory and apeture stuff. Then talked through the idea of apeture priority and speed. (K-boring camera stuff) Then we got kitted up (K-sounds like diving!) and went down to the meadow to do macro photography. After the macro stuff we headed off to the bird hide and spent time in there until lunch. We were in the hide during most of the rain. Down to the lakeshore and had lunch overlooking the loch. The lunch was very good. After lunch made our way back to the studio to mess about with photoshop and look at the results. Up on the web soon (when we find a faster connection!)

Kathleen’s Day

June 15th, 2009 , 18:27

Had breakfast and then started to get sorted for the day. There was another couple staying at the B&B with us and he was also doing the photography course, so I drove him and Joe off to the course. Dropped them off and carried off down the road. Came across a bit where they were repaving so parked up and read for a bit – this is a one lane road, so nothing to do but pull into the passing area and wait. Watched the birds, read, and wondered if it was going to rain.

Drove the rest of the little road down the loch, but not stopping to do any sightseeing this time. It was threatening rain. Got to Kilmartin and the museum. Turns out there are swallows nesting in the toilet block! Right in the back corner is a little nest and if you stand very still and quiet you can watch them feed the young. That was nifty.

The museum is interesting and I learned quite a bit about the area. From the museum you can even see the cairn where the exhibits were found. I had a nice lunch there, then walked over to the church to see the crosses and tomb stones. Very interesting. Well, it was interesting to me, which is why I went when Joe was occupied with other things. From the side of the church there is a wonderful view over the valley and the line of cairns and features.

I decided to wait for the walks as the weather was threatening still and I figured Joe would like to take photos. (erm, and I sort of forgot to have a camera with me.) So got back in the car and headed up the A816 to Oban. Beautiful drive, even though the skies opened and it poured it down. Still raining when I got to Oban so I did the shopping I needed to do in the rain, then scooted off to get back to collect Joe. Sat in the car and read until they were done.

Sounds like Joe had a marvy time, but I’ll let him tell that! This should be marked as Frog Blog!

Loch Awe

June 14th, 2009 , 21:47

Saturday 13 June
So got into Glasgow and started trying to find how to get to the airport – hired the car from the airport so we wouldn’t have to drive through Glasgow! After running about looking for the bus stop, we finally found it, just as the bus drove up. So that was good timing. Then got to the airport and to the car rental desk just before a flight came in – so at the head of a long queue of people. Had reserved the smallest car they do, but got a large one. But it’s comfortable and got us on the road. Once we got on the A82 we slowed down and started sightseeing. Took our time driving up past Loch Lomand, stopping every now and again for photos and views.

Didn’t have any problems finding the B&B and got in and got settled. Then down to the pub (about 300m away) for our first hot meal of the day and a drink. And that was us done for the day!

Sunday 14 June
Up fairly early. Had a lovely breakfast and chat with the other guests before getting stuff together and heading out. Today was orientation day – a chance to see the area and get an idea of what we wanted to do. So we carried along up the little B road that goes along Loch Awe, saw where Joe will be doing his photography, and carried on. We took our time, stopping at the parking areas and watching for birds, wildlife, views of the loch.

Decided to do a short walk up to some falls, an easy walk up. The falls we saw weren’t that spectacular, but were nice, and Joe got several photos. The path looped around over the stream and the bridge crossed a fast fall area which was lovely. Carrying along the other side of the stream we cam to the actual falls. Seems the bit you can see from one side of the stream is merely the lower part, which is nice, but the bit above is the really good bit of falls. Sat there for quite a while for Joe to get lots of photos. Carried down to another fast fall, then it really started to rain. It had been lovely and sunny (with lots of midges) but with clouds passing over. This cloud decided it was time to rain and it poured down, complete with hail. We stood under a tree until the worse had passed and then headed back to the car. But the best bit of the walk was, on the way up, we saw a frog! Little froggie just hopping along but he sat for Joe to get several photos before disappearing.

Drove out of that rainstorm and the sun came out again. So we went back to just cruising along, stopping at the parking areas admiring the views. There was another walk that looked very good but the cloud was following us and we really wanted something to eat, so we marked it to do on Wednesday. Did do one short walk along a short path to a viewpoint, which was lovely. We may have even spotted an osprey.

Turned out there wasn’t much to eat along the section of Loch Awe we were on, so we carried on around the loch and headed off toward Oban. Passed several places but we were aimed for Oban so kept going. Now sitting in a lovely pub in Oban, wondering if we’ll ever find an interent connection. But enjoying sitting and sipping a drink while watching the sea and the ferries come in. Getting ready to order dinner.

Things Kathleen forgot (K- because someone was trying to drive and not run off the teeny tiny little one lane road!): spooked something in the road which flew off, big bird, well, not Sesame Street but probably a buzzard, brown with yellow legs; then there was the Castle runined which will look great at sun set/rise; plus the nifty rail bridge just like the Forth bridge but you could paint it in a day :).

I’m on the train!

June 13th, 2009 , 10:41

on the way to Glasgow.

After a rather frantic week at work and having to deal with the tube strike (so very early mornings to ensure we could get to work on time and get everything done) finally on holiday.

Up normal time today (so early for the weekend) and off to get the train. Of course, our line into the centre was shut so we had to go by train and walk. Got to Euston in plenty of time – enough time to have a bacon roll and coffee. The seat reservations weren’t working but we were early enough to get our seats and settle in. Now just rolling through the countryside.

Once at Glasgow we find our way to the airport to get our rental car then head off to Loch Awe.