Sunday, 11 May 2014

Skye and Beyond

 White Tailed Sea Eagle

We left Bute and went to Skye to see the Sea Eagles.  They are difficult to miss with a wingspan of between 5 to 8 feet!  They can be seen from the land but we took a boat trip and got amazing close as fish are thrown into the water and the birds swoop in to feed .... brilliant!

They were extinct in the UK early in the 20th Century but they have been reintroduced.  Not everyone is happy about that and police are investigating the disappearance of a bird which had been radio tagged but the signal went dead.  It is a constant problem as farmers and game-keepers are convinced the eagles pose a threat to their livestock.

Our 2 for 1 pass was useful again as we visited the home of Clan Donald.  
This was once a very large and beautiful house but the family moved out and just left the building to the elements.  Here's what the hall used to look like:

Here's the same staircase today:

I found that incredibly sad.
They did have a beautiful sensory garden though.  Scents filled the air wherever you walked.  It was an absolute delight.

We also visited Dunvegan Castle.

As you can see it was beautiful; it had a walled garden; a woodland walk; sea views and all the things you expect to see but for some reason it didn't inspire me!  The next place inspired Andy though. A trip to Skye had to mean a trip to his favourite whiskey distillery.  Talisker... "the King of Drinks".

Our next destination was Aviemore but we called in at Cawdor Castle on the way.  I wanted to picture Macbeth wandering round his old home but the building was erected years after his death.  Never mind.

This was a great garden ... but we had arrived too early!  The borders will be full to the brim with blossoms and flowers in a couple of months so imagination was required.

 It will be stunning in Summer.
Obviously there was some Spring interest too:

The woodland walk took you through 200 year old pines towering above the place ... the Victorian Scots certainly liked their Secoyas.
Then there was a secret garden tucked away behing a huge hedge:

I thought I had found my favourite garden of the trip but there was more to see!


Not exactly my favourite place ... I have awful memories of this place with a freezing, howling wind and snow stinging our faces.  Andy always comes here to find the Ptarmigans.  I normally stay in the cafe while he walks to the top unless the weather is warm.  This visit the sun was shining so we took a leisurely stroll from the car park up to above the snow line and there we were greeted with AMAZING views of the Ptarmigans.  Up close and personal!  They obviously don't get many human visitors as two were feeding a couple of feet away and they allowed us to creep right up to them!

We didn't get photographs of the Golden Eagles or the Capercallie or the Crested Tits but we found them all.


As I said I thought I had found my favourite garden at Cawdor but then we went to Ballindalloch:
Manicured lawns and hedges are not my thing but I fell in love with the rockery and the red squirrels running around everywhere!

All in all a lovely holiday.

We spent two nights at Seahouses on the way home so we could have a trip to the Farne Isles.  It's always nice to see the puffins ... and the terns, guillemots and shags.

You know how the rocks are covered in bird poo on the islands they breed on?  You know how you can smell the place before you get there?  Well that's what our living room was like when we got home!

Two woodpigeons had fallen down the chinmey. One was in a pretty feeble state but had survived.  The other was dead behind the sofa.  They must have been stuck in the house for quite a few days.  Birds mess, feathers and broken ornaments all over the place!  Nice young man with a carpet cleaner has sorted us out now though.


  1. Brilliant shot of the eagle.

  2. Goodness you managed a pretty comprehensive tour of most of my favourite bits of Scotland, and took stunning photos, love the Ptarmigans, not a bird I have ever seen. I know what you mean about Dunvegan, rather stiff. Have you been to Inverewe? Now that is an amazing garden...

  3. Wow you certainly got around on your holiday and saw some pretty amazing places and bird life. I imagine you needed to come home for a rest.