Monday, December 23, 2013

TO-DAY AROUND BEN NEVIS

It will not stop the Scots. Nothing stops them. But no one will be doing this to-day.


To-days Snow Report NEVIS RANGE
Last update - Sun, 22 Dec 2013 09:15:54 GMT
Run Conditions
Gondola only is open but wind is quite gusty. Overnight snow has drifted in the strong winds to form drifts of up to 50cm high around the top station area. Dry slope beginner’s area has around 80 percent snow cover but too windy to operate Alpha at present. More snow is falling further up the hill.

Be aware that the forecast is for stormy weather to continue over the next few days though we hope for some weather windows to allow access to the mountain.

Snow/hail showers are helping accumulate snow on the runs again. We need more to complete the runs and the forecast is indicating snow for the next few days. Lightening has taken out most of our weather instruments. We have not yet been able to repair all the storm damage to the ski lifts, buildings, webcams and weather station due to the continuing storms. Lightening damage has added to the list. The number of ski lifts able to operate are limited until we get a couple of calmer days.
Snowsports School will be operating on the artificial slope or on snow whenever they can get up the hill.
Snow Level Vertical Runs
800m
Lift Status
Gondola - open
Rope Tow - closed
Linnhe/Lochy Button - closed
Alpha Button - closed
Quad Chair - closed
Goose T-Bar - closed
Summit Button - closed
Warren's T-Bar - closed
Great Glen Chair - closed
Rob Roy T-Bar - closed
Braveheart Chair - closed

Merry Christmas everyone.
John

If you "LIKE" our PAGE on FACEBOOK (not just liking the post) then we'll give you the chance of a free break in the spring for three days. Look middle top right on Facebook to like the page.

  • Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland

  • Spring breaks, March April May Glencoe

  • Last minute, late availability Glencoe, self catering cottage

  • The Vikings in Glencoe, the Terror, the Glencoe Battle

  • All the facts you need about Self Catering Scotland

  • The facts about Scottish rain

  • How to find your ideal self catering property on the internet


  • Friday, December 06, 2013

    Wow! What a wind that was...




    Michelle, our housekeeper has just told us by email what it was like.

    Only just got electricity and phone back. Land line and mobile were down. I've lost a few trees, poor Dorrie has a huge one down, nearly in the front room. Worst Ive seen it ever. I thought our roof was comming off! Still to face the outside clear up. Hope all is well with you both.
    M

    We have to get the aerial checked now. I'm glad no one was in the cottage. It must have been scary.
    John.

    If you "LIKE" our PAGE on FACEBOOK (not just liking the post) then we'll give you the chance of a free break in the spring for three days. Look middle top right on Facebook to like the page.

    Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland Last minute, late availability Glencoe, self catering cottage Our cottage details and photos More details about the cottage 20 brilliant walks around the cottage area

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Scots sold as slaves in Istanbul markets. I'm not kidding.

    MINGARY CASTLE TO BE RESTORED TO ITS FULL 13th CENTURY GLORY
    The old Scottish stories are wonderful, but there were some dark, horrible times.


    Take the Corran ferry, by Onich, drive for an hour and a bit and you'll find Kilchoan. A lovely delightful remote spot, just opposite Tobermory on Mull. Back down the coast a little way and you'll see an old Lord of the Isles Castle. Mingary.

    It has a most gorgeous site. But in the dark days of the Vikings, it would have been the scene of many savage events. Between the 9th century and the 12th century there would have been raid after raid.

    Vikings had a habit of attacking from the sea, at night, taking the men and women of a village back to the Orkeys, then shipping them on to Sweden. They would be transported then down the Volga River as far as Istanbul where they were sold in the many slave markets. Yes, I promise you, they went that far. Mingary probably had an old wooden structure for a castle to warn of Viking approaches. But the force used was usually overwhelming against a predominantly fishing community.

    The men who resisted were beheaded, and their skulls mounted in Castle Walls. Not nice.This possibly led to later skull and crossbones carvings. You can see one of these at Ardchattan Priory, dating from the 15th century.


    John
    ps. If you are around Fort William  then a really lovely way to go to Oban that no one ever thinks of is to get the little Corran Ferry, drive to Kilchoan, get the Ferry to Tobermory on Mull, then Oban via the ferry. Takes you about 6 hours with stops. Wonderful. See Mingary castle as in the photograph. This is God's chosen country isn't it?

    If you "LIKE" our PAGE on FACEBOOK (not just liking the post) then we'll give you the chance of a free break in the spring for three days. Look middle top right on Facebook to like the page.

    Links
    Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands
    Last minute, late availability self catering cottage Glencoe  Coottage details More details about our cottage 20 lovely walks around the area

    Friday, November 08, 2013

    HOGMANAY IN THIS COTTAGE BY THE LOCH. WELL, WHY NOT?


    The New Year in Glencoe is wonderful. At the moment the cottage is still available. We usually sell out late in the year. £595 pr £150 a night, Sleeps 4. This truly pretty cottage is on the edge of Loch Linnhe. So what's on? 

    The spectacular Holly Tree Hotel with its wonderful location by Loch Linnhe is just a 400 yard walk away. Here is what they offer for New Year's Eve.
    "Join us for some mulled wine in the Captain's bar before a wonderful celebratory dinner served in the Seafood restaurant. The evening festivities begin in earnest with a traditional Highland Ceilidh, make sure you bring your dancing shoes!"

    This is what is on offer at the climber's Clachaig Inn
    "A special 4 course table d’hôte dinner menu served in the Ossian Lounge each evening.  Live music every night Join in the Hoolie from 9.00pm through to the bells in the Boots Bar. Live music ‘til the wee small hours. 
    Our Hogmanay celebrations are very informal, and it’s this relaxed and informal approach that makes Hogmanay so enjoyable"

    Or you might be lucky and get in at the Lochleven Hotel. It is small.
    "Celebrate New Year at The Loch Leven Hotel with festive food and drink and warm atmosphere.  Dinner on New Year’s Eve, Entertainment, A glass of sparkling wine or a dram of whisky at midnight on 31st"

    Actually the Onich hotel looks good. It may be the best.
    "The Onich Hotel has the perfect night planned. You will be greeted with a Champagne and Canape reception; after which we will seat you in our loch side restaurant where you will be wowed with a  4 Course Gala Dinner


    "The evening's entertainment will kick off with a fun Casino Night, the winner of which will receive a fabulous secret prize. Put on you dancing shoes for the Live Music  followed by our LEGENDARY Fireworks to celebrate the bells. Then dance the night away as our House Band continues to play into the wee hours of the morning"

    Or, maybe the famous Airds hotel, the plushest in the Region. This is where Cherie and Tony Blair had their honeymoon. It will set you back a bawbee or two.

    Join us for a champagne reception from 7.00pm after which our Head Chef will once again serve up a mouth-watering dinner to set you up for the evening!  After dinner we invite you to our Scottish Ceilidh or alternatively just relax in the lounges. Do not worry if you are not well versed in Scottish dancing as we have a caller to explain each dance. Having no doubt built up an appetite again after the dancing, enjoy some stovies prior to retiring to bed.  Alternatively just enjoy the stovies without the dancing! 

    John
    This is our Lochside cottage near Glencoe in Lochaber 

    Short breaks are often available at the last minute in our self catering cottage 
    These are our cottage details and photos 
    Some more details about the cottage 
    Many brilliant walks around the cottage





    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    "Since you had 9 points on your licence it is much nicer driving with you" she said


    Our pal Mark left us at the Holly Tree bar at 2100 on Thursday. The sign at Crianlarich warned him the the Pulpit Rock works would start at 2200, he had 15 minutes to get there. Go on there, what would you do? That's right, he went around Callendar instead. The words Valour and Discretion come to mind.

    This road closes after 2200 at night, opens early in the morning. They are building a viaduct to carry a wider road. Major, major project. £9million cost, the works will last for three months at least.

    As we drove past ourselves yesterday on our way home Gillian murmured something to me about my much nicer driving habits, the essence of which is in the headline. Hm.

    John
    Ps. The opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge comes to mind....briefly.

    The cottage by Glencoe.
    Short breaks, at the last minute, Glencoe cottage. £80 night

    Saturday, October 05, 2013

    We've changed. We'll take short bookings now £80 night to the end of April. Or £395 for 7 days. The market has spoken



    We used to take low season bookings on Fridays or Mondays, but the market wants to come at all sorts of times. So be it. We'll not make any surcharge for weekends nor for half term but the minimum would be 2 nights. We'll keep the same prices from November until Easter. Xmas and New Year excluded of course.
    Michelle, our housekeeper says she does not mind doing the house at odd times.
    I spent most of yesterday doing a new layout for this on the website. Ugh!

    If you "LIKE" our PAGE on FACEBOOK (not just liking the post, then we'll give you the chance of a free holiday break in the Spring for three days. Look middle top right on Facebook to "like the page".
    John

    Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland Last minute, late availability Glencoe, self catering cottage Our cottage details and photos More details about the cottage 20 brilliant walks around the cottage area

    Thursday, August 29, 2013

    THE HIGHLANDS ARE A BAD PLACE FOR BAD PEOPLE. GOOD FOR THE REST OF US THOUGH



    The Crime stats for the Western highlands showed a big drop, nearly one-fifth versus last year.
    Nearly 3 out of 4 crimes are solved as well in the North-West highlands, an area so huge it covers half the land mass of Scotland. Yet there were just 70 thefts reported in 5 months. That is about 3 per week. Big crime wave that.

    The stats also show that the crime rate is continuing to fall making this area the second lowest in the entire country for recorded crimes. The crime figures have now fallen for six years in a row.

    The thing is that locals know who are the wicked ones in the area, so do the police. Therefore any skullduggery must take place outside the thief's own area. They usually visit Skye, Lochalsh or Fort William. People don't secure cars, lock doors or their sheds.

    John
    Ps. Lot of drunks though. More than 3 per week!
    Pps Lots of bad, fast driving too. On bendy roads, driving too close, overtaking etc etc.

    LINKS
    Misunderstandings about Scottish weather Get off those speeding fines on Scottish roads Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013


    DON'T KNOW THE  COTTAGE - NOT OURS, BUT IT IS NICE.pic from Magdalena

    With your description we found everything. We had a nice stay in your cottage. Everything was well prepared for us. Thank you very much.

    Attached you will find some pictures from our tours and walks close to Kentallen. We did so many things. We travelled to Fort William, Oban and the Isle of Mull. We were a bit hiking in Glen Nevis valley, to the “three sisters” and from Kinlochleven. We enjoyed everything. Nothing was bad. We really had a great stay even if we had typical Scottish weather. It changed every 15 min.

    At the evenings we read something from your books. Some of them were really interesting. Back in Germany we ordered one of your books in a book store so that we can read it fully.
    We liked your maps as well. They helped us for planning our small hiking tours.

    Thanks a lot!

    Magdalena + family

    links
    How to play jazz Jazz bands in West Sussex
    WEST OF SCOTLAND ACCOMMODATION
    Holiday accommodation, B&;Bs, hotels in the West of Scotland Holiday accommodation, B&;Bs, hotels in Oban Holiday accommodation, B&;Bs, hotels in Glencoe Holiday accommodation, B&;Bs, hotels in Fort William Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in the far West of Scotland Holiday accommodation, B&;Bs, hotels in Appin Port Appin and Lismore B&;Bs Barcaldine B&;Bs and hotels Duror b&;bs Kentallen b&;bs Ballachulish b&;bs Onich b@bs How to find cottage owners self catering websites

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Two people shot James Stewart of the Glens? Forget it.


    Sorry everyone. I can't help it. I love history, particularly Scottish history - all blood, guts, wild men, and changing sides. And I love Kentallen. They go together with the story of the Appin murder.

    This chap, George 1st ordered the elimination of the Clan system in the mid 18th century. No more Jacobite uprisings, after Culloden Moor he said. After all, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Scots clans invaded England right down to Derby, and frightened poor old George to death that they would get to London. They only turned back because they wanted to go home, were not developing an uprising of the people and someone said the government forces were massing in Scotland. They weren't but it is the kind of rumour you spread you want to go home.

    So 7 years after Culloden they got James Stewart for the murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure. Hanged him by Ballachulish bridge and left his body in chains as a warning to others. The story became famous when Robert Louis Stevenson based his book Kidnapped on it. A single shot was heard at Lettermore, on a little hill between Ballachulish and Kentallen.

    James Stewart almost certainly did not do it. He was a friend of Colin Camnpbell and they had shared a meal together a few weeks beforehand he was working in his fields at Duror when the incident took place. A young chap called Alan Breck probably did it.

    There is a new investigation to take place in Fort William. Someone is confused already. There were two bullets found side by side in the body, therefore someone says there were two assailants.

    Daft theory. The old long bore gun used to fire two bullets at the same time just to make sure. One was smaller than the other. Called a "chaser" this is what they call to-day the dram of whiskey they put into a beer.

    There is more of this in the previous blog post for those of you who are short of a proper life to lead. Search, a bit low down.

    John
    The magnificent community website for Glencoe Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites

    Tuesday, August 06, 2013

    Typical Highland Stories. Everything happens here.



    The Glencoe community has this wonderful system. If anyone wants accommodation and everywhere is booked, they circulate everyone else to find rooms. It truly is a good system.
    Sometimes you get lovely, simple, silly incidents like this.

    This is the internet at its best. This is a community at it best. Isn't this gorgeous?

    This is the message which was circulated
    Hello all,
    This wee dog was found this morning on the A82 near the Old Ferry Road junction.
    If anyone is looking for it it has been taken to the dog warden in Fort William.
    Please feel free to phone me if you want to know more.
    Sarah Holroyd

    01855821277

    But here is a different story.
    A man was taken ill in Stalker Castle a few days ago. This is the 3rd most photographed castle in Scotland, absolutely gorgeous. But it is a private home, and is open to the public only once or twice a year.
    It is surrounded by water at most states of the tide. So this chap had to be winched off the top of the castle by a helicopter.


    From the Oban Times. For Oban’s lifeboat crew – on what was their 1,000th call-out – it was also their most unusual rescue ever.

    Usually they are called out to sea. But this was 80 feet up on a 15th century castle roof.

    The lifeboat team assisted a Royal Navy helicopter crew to airlift an ill visitor from the top of the historic Castle Stalker, a picturesque building in Appin which is completely surrounded by water on the west coast of Scotland.

    Iain Fulton, of Oban Lifeboat, said: “We were called out because the castle is not accessible by ambulance.

    “The casualty had taken ill at the upper level of the castle and when we arrived it was decided it would be easier to take him to the top to be winched up, rather than tackle the massive spiral staircase down.


    OLD BATTLE 1653 RE-ENACTMENT
    This lot are going to re-create the 1653 battle around Duart Castle. Resisting an invasion of Mull no less.

    Duart castle was in the Wars in the mid 17th century. In the Civil Wars, the nastiest Wars of all.
    In 1647, Duart Castle was attacked and laid siege to by the Argyll government troops of Clan Campbell, but they were defeated and driven off by the Royalist troops of Clan MacLean.
    In September 1653, a Cromwellian task force of six ships anchored off the castle, but the Macleans had already fled to Tiree.
    In 1678, Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, son of the Marquess of Argyll, successfully invaded the Clan MacLean lands on the Isle of Mull and Sir John Maclean, 4th Baronet fled the castle.
    Less than 20 years alter, in 1691 Duart Castle was surrendered by Sir John Maclean, 4th Baronet to Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll. The Campbell clan demolished the castle, and the stones from the walls were scattered. Donald Maclean, 5th Laird of Torloisk used some of the stones to build a cottage for his family close to the site of the castle.

    MOVE ON TO 1752
    One the most publicised stories of the area is the Appin murder. It was publicised widely by Robert Louis Stevenson the Victorian novelist no less, who called it "Kidnapped" a sort of Boys Own romp through the Highlands. The truth was nastier. They, the Campbells,  got someone for it, hanged him beside the Ballachulish Bridge - it was a ferry then - and left his skeleton in chains for months, high on a rock so that everyone could see it.

    The only problem was the jury was packed, and they hanged an innocent man. As ever. 

    Well, the story is that they are going to re-enact the Trial of James Stewart in Fort William. Actually it took place in Inverary but don't let that stand in the way of a good re-enactment. 
    Organised by the Royal Society of Eninburgh there are going to be talks by experts about the trial, and 
    a proper re-trial. Ben Nevis Hotel, Sep 3, 7.30. A case review same place following day.
    You can go if you want to, but you'll need to register first at Registration for the Re-Trial of James Stewart

    James Stewart is buried in a very small graveyard which is now situated in a farmyard off the Appin Road to Oban just south of Duror. The owners do not make it easy to find and explore. You'll get chased out by a bull. Gillian and I have seen it. We chased back the bull. No prob.
    John

    HISTORY PAGES. Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    OUR LOCAL GOLF COURSE IS VOTED THE BEST 9 HOLE IN THE WHOLE OF SCOTLAND OUT OF 170


    DRAGON'S TOOTH golf at Ballachulish. Its name comes from the mountain behind it. No one minds losing a ball or two here. They look at the view and feel better immediately.

    It is one of the most dramatic and beautiful loch-side locations in the Highlands. It is not hard to see why golfers from all over the world love this little course. The course lies on a picturesque pocket of an undulating, tree-lined estate at the entrance to Loch Leven, just south of Fort Williams. It is surrounded by munro mountains. It is, in every respect, a true ‘hidden gem’ in the words of bunker magaine which did the survey..

    Green fees from £19.50 but guests of our cottage have a concession on  the price. They all report loving it.

    Let’s be honest, golf is not exactly the cheapest sport to play. The equipment costs a pretty penny and, depending on where you play, your green fees or annual subscription can make a dent on your savings.

    Scotland has over 170 nine-hole courses. The magazine hand-picked 18 of the finest nine-hole courses from across the country - courses that we reckon will be right up your street. And selected Dragons tooth as the best.

    John
    Ps I have another website and I need a link to it to get google search engine started. Hope you don't mind.
    Jazz smugglers and its bands
    The Jazz Smugglers duo
    Thanks.
    WEATHER WEST COAST
    Weather Misconceptions Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    January February Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    March April Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    May June Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    Jul August Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    September October Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    November December Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    Wind in the mountains and West Coast
    What to do about Rain in Scotland
    PHOTOGRAPHERS GLENCOE
    Glencoe is the photographers paradise
    Photographic locations Glencoe
    Winter Photography Glencoe

    Monday, June 03, 2013

    Honeymoon. Where do we start?

    Now this is the sort of story that makes the cottage really worthwhile for us. Thank you so much you two. (Lovely pic Briget. Happy girl)

    Hi John & Gillian,

    Well where do we start?

    Firstly a very big thank you for the bottle of bubbly & chocolates it was a very kind and much appreciated thought.

    The cottage was amazing, in a location that is superb and second to none and made our honeymoon perfect.

    The weather was raining all day on the Saturday as we drove there but on the Sunday it started to pick up with just an odd shower now and then to settle the dust. The amazing scenery and views made up for that. 
    We had a slow ride out to Fort William one day and a ride to Oban another, stopping wherever we could on the way just to take in the views. We found plenty of coffee shops and of course you just have to have a slice of cake as well. Friday we drove to the Corran ferry and then went to the Lighthouse at Ardnamurchan. an interesting drive we where just glad we wasn't trying to drive anything bigger than our car as its the biggest and longest self drive roller coaster we have ever been on but well worth it. when we arrived back at the ferry the temperature was 18 degrees and we had clear blue sky all day.
    We had a couple of evening bar meals at the Holly Tree hotel, the staff where very nice and the meals excellent.
    We also tried the fish restaurant at Loch Leven, our first time in a proper fish restaurant and the staff where more than helpful advising us on how to tackle a whole brown crab in a bowl. The food was really nice with yet again stunning views.
    We tried some fishing a couple of times in the evening just up the road but according to the locals the mackerel haven't come in yet they say they are about a month behind due to the weather so we just practised our casting. The guy in the hardware shop was really helpful and gave us lots of good advice.

    Once again a very big thank you and we are sure you will be hearing from us in the future, might have to make it two weeks next time though.

    Steve & Bridget xx

    WEATHER WEST COAST
    Weather Misconceptions Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    January February Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    March April Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    May June Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    Jul August Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    September October Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    November December Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    Wind in the mountains and West Coast
    What to do about Rain in Scotland
    PHOTOGRAPHERS GLENCOE
    Glencoe is the photographers paradise
    Photographic locations Glencoe
    Winter Photography Glencoe
    OTHER LINKS
    The magnificent community website for Glencoe Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere

    Friday, May 03, 2013

    WONDER. THE TREES HAVE COME OUT OVERNIGHT


    Yesterday, I promise you, the trees around Ballachulish were all bare. If you looked carefully, close up, you could see tiny buds.
    Last night we had torrential rain, and to-day the waterfalls are having children.

    But THE TREES ARE ALL OUT. Overnight they did it.

    Up on high ground they are still bare, but to-morrow who knows...?

    John
    PHOTOGRAPHERS GLENCOE
    Glencoe is the photographers paradise
    Photographic locations Glencoe
    Winter Photography Glencoe

    GENERAL LINKS TO THE AREA.
    Discoverglencoe the magnificent community website for Glencoe Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites





    Thursday, May 02, 2013

    NO. This is a horrendous idea. Dreadful.


    Some MP and others want you to buy compulsory insurance before you go on a mountain in Scotland.

    That is gross. Horrendous. The hills are the last bastion of individual freedom.

    The rescue helicopters are being privatised but I don't know where they are going to get their funds from. How do you get a "sale" from a mountain rescue? By having insurance companies pay out is someone's answer.

    Skiers? Tourists? Mountain bikers? Those playing happy families on the hills? Just climbing or walking along an old drove road as well?

    Surely not. I can't believe this. When the volunteer mountain rescue teams support this idea (they don't) then I'll pay attention.

    John
    Ps. How are they going to police it? Wait a minute, if we put up some cctv cameras on the popular routes we could identify the uninsured cheats. They all must show their certificates to each of the cameras. Got it.

    Outdoor links to Glencoe
    The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around Glencoe on snow and ice - Tips


    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    OBAN HAS VOTED YES TO THIS IDEA. WHAT WILL FORT WILLIAM VOTE?



    Oban top and Fort William high street.

    Please consider. You might need to put your brain in a cool cloth before reading this.

    You are a small business owner in a country town. Because you pay business rates you are being asked to vote for a scheme which will help to build tourism in your area. Your business is not related to tourism. You may be a business developing websites for clients, (or you are a local farmer selling cheese, or a crafts jeweller selling the products you make at home to an online market, or you have a business selling things on ebay). For the scheme to go ahead. 25% of business people in the area must take part in the vote and 50% of those voting  have to vote Yes for the scheme to pass. If Yes, then there are a series of local projects each with varying costs which can be selected for development

    If the scheme passes then you as a small business will have to pay a contribution to the scheme, (by law). Maybe £200 or up to £5000 perhaps, it depends upon the scheme costs. You will have NO option to pull out or not pay up. It will be as if £200 or up to £5,000 has been added to your business rates.

    Remember that your business does not have anything at all to do with tourism although other businesses are connected to tourism.

    Question One.
    Are you going to vote Yes to this scheme? There will be no benefit to you in your view, but a definite cost (not pence)
    Question Two.
    If 80% of the businesses in the area do not see themselves as being primarily dependent upon tourism is this scheme going to get the go-ahead?
    Question Three
    If you are the owner of an hotel, a B and B or a self catering unit, or a tourist attraction, or a restaurant are you going to vote Yes to the scheme. Will the scheme get a Yes from 50% of those voting?
    Final question.
    If 80% of the businesses in an area are definitely tourism related, will this scheme get the go ahead?

    This is a summary of a scheme called a BID (business improvement district). Very successful scheme, originating in  the USA and going around the whole country now.

    If the scheme gets a Yes vote, then there will be several major projects to pick from all designed to improve tourism in an area such as Lochaber. This includes the big population of Fort William which is mostly light industrial, building and such like, and Glencoe a tiny population, which is mostly tourism based.

    This is being debated now in Lochaber. Oban has voted yes already.

    I would love the scheme to go ahead and be voted a yes. I can see how it gets a Yes vote in Oban which is dominated by the tourism business. I'm not so sure about Fort William voting yes. It does not see itself as a Tourism-centric place. The look of the town is witness to that. Glencoe is tourism-centric no doubt.

    I have the feeling that it may get a no from Fort William. but luckily, it could be re-constituted as a Glencoe and Ballachulish scheme and this would almost certainly get a Yes for local projects.

    If this does happen then it is the surrounding areas with no clout at all, such as Ardnamurchan or Appin which will be left out. They can do tiny schemes of their own of course. I feel bad for them.

    Let's hope I'm wrong and it will go ahead for Lochaber.

    There is a widespread complaint that many local tourism related businesses pay nothing towards the promotion of Scotland to tourists. I agree with that. We are not members of VisitScotland, which does the national promotion, and does an excellent job in terms of advertising and pr, but is clumsy and heavy-handed with its members. So we put our annual contribution of over £100 to the local promotion body, DiscoverGlencoe. This is well worthwhile, and has an excellent website. Ours is a kind of charity contribution. We have had very few enquiries from it, but that is because we get quite full early in the year and we lie a little outside the Glencoe area. It certainly helps people know and be attracted to the Glencoe area.

    John

    LINKS
    Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland Last minute, late availability Glencoe, self catering cottage 20 brilliant walks around our cottage area Easy hill walks in Glencoe Why not walk up Ben Nevis one day? Easier Munroe walks in Glencoe Skiing Glencoe and Nevis range, cottage is midway between the two Video. Skiing on Glencoe mountain Weather in the West of Scotland Rock and Ice climbing in Glencoe Cycling and fishing Glencoe Spectacular wild life around our cottage Golf in the Highlands, Dragons tooth golf course, Glencoe Cruising the islands, using Glencoe as a base Safe, beautiful beaches and bays in Glencoe area Touring the Highlands by car from Glencoe, Spring breaks, March April May Glencoe Winter breaks, Jan Feb March in the cottage Autumn breaks November December in the cottage Our new Appin blog site

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Increasing population of little ones in the Highlands



    This is lovely news to someone like me who has heard of nothing but gloom for decades that the Highlands population is in decline, that youngsters are leaving in droves never to return and the whole local scene is depressing.
    Well, it is not true any longer, they aren't and it isn't. It is all good. The region had the third greatest increase nationally in household population of any area in the ten years after 2001.
    The 0-5 year olds increased by 11%. Yes, a bit of a weakness in the next age group, of 5-14 year olds, then increases after that.
    It is not yet a Clearance in reverse. but one day it could be.

    John
    ps.
    I'm just putting in these links to a site where i need more links, to help it up the google rankings.
    Jazz bands in Sussex Festival of Chichester Events The sussex Gershwin tribute jazz band Jazz Smugglers NOSTALGIA show in Sussex The leading jazz band in Sussex, Jazz smugglers Sussex jazz workshop every Sunday Jazz Smugglers plays at all the Sussex Festivals Romantic background jazz in Sussex Small jazz trio for a Sussex party band How to promote your event and gigs

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    SO YOU THINK YOU ARE A HARD MAN? YOU HAVEN''T PLAYED SHINTY.





     I'm not going to add anything to this Shinty report in the Oban Times. This is all in the opening paragraph, of the report of one shinty match.

    "Bruised and battered Fort William...."
    "Brutal battle with Newtonmore..."
    "Steven Mc Donnel sent off, and Niall McFee sent off..."
    "Gordie McKinnon sustained a broken hand, but returned to the field of play, to draw a defender..."
    "Shaun Cameron broke his ankle..."
    "Liam MacIntyre had two fingers and a hand broken in a swing of a caman..."

    Don't ever, ever, tangle with a Highland man.

    John


    GLENCOE OUTDOORS The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Forget the rich South. If you want SUPERFAST BROADBAND come to the Highlands.


    We've got a little computer which our guests can use in the cottage. We have a kindly neighbour who lets us use his router. This is the Scottish highlands. I wouldn't dream of asking our neighbours in the South to let us use their router. They'd shuffle around to find excuses to say no. (I might agree to it if asked, but that is because I've been trained in the Highlands)

    No probs with connection in our Glencoe cottage. My own BT router in Sussex was down again this morning, of course.

    Put your brain in a cold towel for the next bit. My upload speed in this house in the South is less than 1 Mg/second, download is 1.7Mg/sec. I should be getting nearer to 10. Take the towel off now.

    Yet the Scottish Highlands are going to get faster broadband, sooner. They are going to put in 400km of
    underwater cables, and across 19 routes to the Islands. Contract just signed. Just wait now.

    John
    ps. Mind you I might be kidding myself. Search as I might I couldn't find a completion date in the story......hmmm

    The magnificent community website for Glencoe Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    THE ISLE OF TIREE. WINDSURFING AND CAPERCAILLE. BRILLIANT

    You MUST listen to this. Capercaille. That Karen Matheson is wonderful. I once sat next to her at Chichester in the theatre restaurant. Captivating. How many times have we seen them Gillian?




    They are going to lead the 15 acts in the Tiree Music Festival. "Scotland's Best Small Festival"
    July 20/21. Book early it will be another sell-out. tireemusicfestival.co.uk

    Wish we were going.
    John
    ps. You can windsurf and canoe if you want as well.


    Sorry, this has got nothing to do with Scotland or Jazz, but we need the links to these pages from a respectable site like this.
    Jazz bands in Sussex The sussex Gershwin tribute jazz band Jazz Smugglers NOSTALGIA show in Sussex The leading jazz band in Sussex, Jazz smugglers Sussex jazz workshop every Sunday Jazz Smugglers plays at all the Sussex Festivals Romantic background jazz in Sussex

    Monday, April 01, 2013

    A BIG WHALE IN OBAN HARBOUR DRAWS EASTER TOURISTS



    The Highlands have had wonderful weather this winter. Absolutely brilliant. Such a shame that there have been so many mountain accidents. Now everyone had decided to visit Oban for a day.

    The best restaurant in Oban is on the old North Pier. Called Ee-usk for some reason it does very well. Many awards for seafood.

    On Saturday the manager, Chris Kennedy, saw a minke whale in the harbour and took this pic. Now tourists are flocking there over east.


    It was initially thought that the young sperm whale had become stranded in shallow water but the Coastguard confirmed on Sunday that this was not the case.
    Chris Kennedy, told STV News: “The restaurant is full of people whale-spotting with their binoculars over lunch. I thought it was a humpback whale and others thought it was a sperm whale. There are lots of boats circling in the bay trying to get a glimpse of it.”
    Mr Kennedy added: “We’ve been here ten years and we’ve never seen a whale in the bay before.”
    A spokesman for Stornoway Coastguard said the whale was not stranded and therefore there was no need to launch a rescue operation.
    John

    Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland Last minute, late availability Glencoe, self catering cottage 20 brilliant walks around our cottage area Easy hill walks in Glencoe Why not walk up Ben Nevis one day? Easier Munroe walks in Glencoe Skiing Glencoe and Nevis range, cottage is midway between the two Video. Skiing on Glencoe mountain Weather in the West of Scotland Rock and Ice climbing in Glencoe Cycling and fishing Glencoe Spectacular wild life around our cottage Golf in the Highlands, Dragons tooth golf course, Glencoe Cruising the islands, using Glencoe as a base Safe, beautiful beaches and bays in Glencoe area Touring the Highlands by car from Glencoe, Spring breaks, March April May Glencoe Winter breaks, Jan Feb March in the cottage Autumn breaks November December in the cottage Our new Appin blog site

    Thursday, February 07, 2013

    Loch Lomond road will be out for 14 weeks from October


    (The connection between our cottage in Scotland and jazz is very tenuous and I apologise for the ps).

    Pulpit Rock has been a standing joke for years. These lights convert the road around a 1/2 mile stretch of the Loch Lomond road into one way traffic. They were put up 30 years ago, and described then as "Temporary". Yeah, right, temporary. Of course.

    At a cost of £9 million the road is to be converted to a viaduct over the edge of the Loch. Add a few £mill to that if public works estimates are run to order. It will be like the viaduct around the top end of Loch Awe by the Cruachan works built in 1976. So this will take off about 4 minutes from the journey from Glasgow to Inverness via Loch Lomond.

    But it will make this route much much more accessible for heavy lorries and big vehicles. The road is already one of the ten most dangerous in Scotland, mostly because of stupid overtaking of slow moving vehicles. This is not the most dangerous bit.

    Wait a minute. I agree this is a major road with A road connections to Fort William and Inverness. At present most of the major Highlands traffic goes up the more robust, faster A9 through Pitlochry.

    When these major roadworks are completed a lot of that traffic - particularly for Skye, will use the Loch Lomond road. That puts pressure on the Moor of Rannoch, Glen Coe and the awful stretch between the Corran ferry and Fort William. Loch Ness side is a disaster. Overtaking mainly is the problem followed by speeding, motor cyclists, white van drivers - a total nightmare.

    The road along Loch Lomond will be closed for 14 weeks after October. I suppose it is progress, but I don't like it. It was never a major problem slowing down, they are not going to get rid of all the twists and turns anyway. Don't know.

    Progress. Don'tcha love it?

    John
    PS Sorry about this bit, but  need to get some pages of a jazz website promoted and if I give them links from here, then that will help.

    Jazz bands in Sussex The sussex Gershwin tribute jazz band Jazz Smugglers NOSTALGIA show in Sussex The leading jazz band in Sussex, Jazz smugglers Sussex jazz workshop every Sunday Jazz Smugglers plays at all the Sussex Festivals Romantic background jazz in Sussex Small jazz trio for a Sussex party band How to promote your event and gigs

    Sunday, February 03, 2013

    MACDONALD'S HISTORY. GOING BACK 5,000 YEARS?




    I had an email in to-day from Canada. This is what Robert said.
    MY GRANDMOTHER ASHLEYS MOTHER WAS A WINKLER FROM NEUSTADT ,ONTARIO.  ROBERT G MAC DONALD. B.A.M.D. retired and living in Quebec,canada.I am Quebec rep for Clan Donald of Canada.I saw your picture to day while looking over Glencoe Viking story. I have Vikings disease. Interesting. (Readers need to see the lowest paragraph on our Viking page in our website to which this comment refers. http://www.bayviewkentallen.co.uk/glencoevikings.html)
    Hello Robert. That is interesting.
    So you have Viking DNA in you.

    And you are a part descendant from middle Europe as well. There was a mass of Central Europeans – Polish many of them – who left the Continent in the mid 1800’s to go to either England or the USA. In both places they were free from the Wars in Europe and free from persecution. The US ones settled mostly in St. Louis. Look at the St. Louis telephone books for the pages of Winklers there.

    I’ll tell you something about the MacDonald's you probably don’t know. No one knows this because it is a very modern theory put forward by the most renowned archaeologist in the country.

    There is a period of pre-history called the Obanian period. This is where they found remains of Mesolithic people in the five caves. They date these remains to the period between Mesolithic and Neolithic, the only remains of this kind of this period in the country. Why? Because the rest of the similar sites around the country have sunk without trace below the rising sea levels. Around this time and later they found goods which were imported, particularly so much later when metal came to be worked.

    Cunliffe points out that the trade in goods between Spain, Britanny and the rest of the continent and Scotland would have caused great wonder to the communities seeing these things for the first time. The men who brought in the goods were seamen, they knew about boats, tides, weather, stars, currents, navigation and suchlike. Because of this they would have had great status in the community. They would be very highly respected because of their deeds, and their stories and their knowledge. Leaders. All the coastal communities would have had high status compared to the new farmers inland.

    In Scotland, in the West, these people became known as the MacDonald's – almost an independent kingdom – not for nothing much later were they called the Lords of The Isles. No one dominated the waters like the MacDonald's until the Vikings came. 

    John
    WEATHER WEST COAST
    Weather Misconceptions Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    January February Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    March April Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    May June Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    Jul August Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    September October Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    November December Weather Glencoe Oban Fort William and West Coast
    Wind in the mountains and West Coast
    What to do about Rain in Scotland
    PHOTOGRAPHERS GLENCOE
    Glencoe is the photographers paradise
    Photographic locations Glencoe
    Winter Photography Glencoe



     
    Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
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