Tuesday, 27 October 2015

and enjoyed a celebration

It was  our tenth wedding anniversary last week and we celebrated with a short break on Mull. We've been a few times before but just for the day and it's a pretty big island so there's been a limit to how far we've been able to explore. Our recent run of good weather had broken and we'd had a fairly blusterous night so there was a tiny worry that that the ferry might not run but MV Isle of Mull departed on time.

 After breakfast on board we arrived on Mull nice and early with plenty of time for sightseeing.

just what you need to give you sea legs 

Back in the summer  I wrote about our last trip there, and this time we headed back to Bunessan where  the Heritage Centre was open. It's a great wee place, MrS had a long chat with one of the  (volunteer) staff and I was really taken with the display telling the stories behind the names on the War Memorial

we were glad to see this sign on the door

Next stop was just over the hill at Ardalanish Weavers.  I'd spotted signs to this the last time but we hadn't had time to visit. We were lucky, it was a weaving day and so could see the loom in action, we were glad of the ear defenders though, and that was from just one loom. I can't imagine the din in a huge industrial mill. They produce non woven products too and I treated myself to a cosy new jumper. We  also picked up some samples for fabrics for our new rooms. One of them is very appropriately named!

the other one is called Hebridean woad

My advance planning wasn't a complete success ....We we got hungry and I remembered reading about a fab seafood restaurant at Fionnphort, mmm anticipating prawns or seafood soup  off we set.....

Hmmm. Double fail. Not only does  the Ninth Wave only open for dinner and gets booked weeks if not months in advance, it had also closed for the season two weeks earlier.  Then there's The Creel Seafood Bar at the Harbour?  Closed. Until April.  Still we didn't go hungry The Keel Row was open and dog friendly too.  Mull Cheddar panini and coffee hit the spot.

After lunch we took  leisurely drive around to the Tiroran House Hotel, our home for the night, followed by good a walk along the shore in front of the hotel.  This was probably DogS's favourite part of the trip, the grounds are enclosed so she was able to have good safe run. And a paddle.  She was rather less keen on her wash and rub down later......

After our walk we were greeted with  tea and brownies and enjoyed that almost mythic time, warm enough to sit outside, too cold for midges.

We knew the weather was due to break  but luckily didn't have to use Tiroran's umbrella to keep us dry on the short walk to the main house for  dinner. Mmm, I was glad we'd been sparing with the brownies. Pigeon, local lamb and burnt sugar tart were just  parts of our scrumptious meal.

We were sad to leave next morning but had plans to explore new bits of the island. And I was already hatching a plan to return next time GlamourPuss and Profski come to stay, taking them too of course!

Overnight the wind had picked up again and it was fairly fresh on Calgary beach, but our luck was in and the rain held off until we were back in the car.

Calgary beach

After that there was time for a quick visit to Tobermory for  Mull museum and the  shops before we headed to Craignure for the ferry ride home.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

and enjoys some Autumn sunshine

I've been on the other side of the holiday divide recently, we've been busy at home. So I'm glad that we've had a bit of an Indian summer because I feel guilty if the weather is bad. I know that's silly, because there are some things beyond control and it's  Glamour Puss who claims the magical powers, but it's true.
one of the glorious sunsets we've enjoyed this month

I think Autumn could be my favourite season, the colours are gorgeous and the low sun casts fabulous shadows.  Autumn still feels like the start of the year too,  even though it's years since it actually was.  And it's a time for celebration;  three Starke birthdays, our wedding anniversary and that of  DogStarke joining the family.

Autumn flowers

It's the season for walking, and that's what we've been doing on our days off.  When we moved here I bought a great little  book of walks which we're working our way through.

We're still on the easier ones, graded C or B,  and wouldn't be thinking about moving up a grade until the summer comes;  A and A+ are serious hill walks. One walk has become a regular outing, it's close by and has a beach at each end so heaps of fun for DogS;  others call for a bit more organisation.

get it right or it's a long walk back

Of course all this wholesome outdoor activity does tend to work up an appetite....sometimes we take a picnic.....

but mostly  we call in  for "a little something".  Fast becoming a favourite is  the Ben Lora cafe and bookshop at Benderloch, we've also enjoyed the Bridge of Orchy hotel and the Atlantic Islands Centre on Luing.

Because every good walk deserves cake.....

at the Ben Lora cafe

And anniversaries deserve a celebration, so I've  booked a little stay somewhere. But that's a secret for now.

october 2005

Marina x

Monday, 5 October 2015

and travelled on the Hogwarts Express

Well a little bit of it....

September is a busy birthday month, at the start there's mine,  I wrote about our stay in Glasgow to celebrate that last time a tale of two houses;  MrS's day comes along a few weeks later and we had a little trip to toast that too.

In contrast to my urban break we travelled north and west and for part of the time at least by a much slower means of transport.

First we boarded the West Highland service to Mallaig and enjoyed a  picnic lunch.

Happy Birthday MrS

Smoked trout, oatcakes and champagne

and for once DogS WAS ALLOWED

We had a quick turn around at Mallaig and then boarded The Jacobite Express (aka The Hogwarts Express) for the return journey to our overnight stop in Glenfinnan. We dropped off our bags at our hotel,  Glenfinnan House, and set off to view the two famous local monuments.

The Jacobite (or Hogwart's) Express at Glenfinnan station

We didn't climb the 1745 memorial because we would have had to go up separately, dogs aren't allowed inside the walls;  instead we had a little play on the beach and then headed up to the viewpoint behind the visitor centre. From there you also get a great view of the other famous structure.

Glenfinnan monument

not the Hogwart's Express

DogStarke at LochShiel

The Glenfinnan House Hotel

The Glenfinnan Station museum has developed a path which passes underneath the viaduct and then back to the station, after our time in the train it was lovely to stretch our legs in the glorious early autumn sunshine, DogStarke had a great time with all the new sniffs.

There were candles and a lovely fire to welcome us on our  return,  and up in our room as well as our bags there was a card and present for MrS. We ate dinner in the bar because DogS was allowed in and she wasn't alone.  I think I counted about five other dogs with their owners. If you're not a dog owner/lover don't let it put you off though, they were all well controlled and the main dining room is a dog free zone, the same menu is available in both. After dinner we sat in one of the lounges and read some of the great old books there, a Winnie the Pooh contemporary for MrS* and historic household management tips for me.

Next morning we ate breakfast in the grand dining room with gorgeous views of Loch Shiel. The weather had changed but the loch still locked beautiful through the mist.

breakfast is served...to me!

We had just enough time for a visit to the station museum before catching our train, the regular diesel service this time,  back down to Tyndrum where we'd left the car.

sadly the Callander Oban line doesn't exist anymore

So now it's October, anniversary month.......

*Katawampas by Edward Abbot Parry 1895