What’s New

Dolphins & Otters

We have had a wee lull in bookings for a weekend, giving us the ideal opportunity to start on the next step of improvements to the chalets. With hubby and his apprentices (myself & Ben) working hard to strip Mijbils old roofing off and the boss assessing any damage, it didnt seem to take too long for the new roof to be in place and looking amazing – quite the feat giving who poor David had working for him! We were so lucky that the weather decided to go all sunny again on the Saturday, not a drop of rain did fall and even the wind dropped to nothing, very handy for when handling big cumbersome sheets of Onduline and attaching them to a roof.

Off with the old

Meanwhile our continued fight with our ride on lawnmower commenced and this weekend was no better. Filled with much delight when it fired up first time , this soon turned to dispair when it quickly became aparent that we had lost all gears. A quick change of a belt which we knew was on the way out sorted this and it fired up, gears worked, chugged to a stop and has refused to go ever since…….all the grass was then strimmed and home mower will be going on a wee trip to Stoer this weekend. I’m afraid we have finally lost all patience with the ride on and it is now been added to the list of  “to do ” winter jobs….only one of a few.

On with the new

The weekend did end on a super high note…not that the mower dampened our joy of the roof work, but after a wee wander along past the broch sitting watching the sun lower in the sky, talking to eldest son on phone, just to check his day doing silly things on a kayak that included lots of white water and waterfalls, had ended with him all in one piece – glad to say it did! We spotted a pod of dolphins playing amongst themselves, so amazing to watch these animals at play. We truly are so lucky to have so many amazing and beautiful sights right on our doorstep.

Oh I almost forgot to show you this

Otters at Stoer bay

Our lovely new sign for the chalets…..doesnt it look amazing!

Stoer Bay Rock (s)

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Stoer Bay


I am not in any shape nor form a geologist. I am however fascinated by the stones around Stoer and indeed the amazing rock face in the chalet grounds themselves. The colours in some of the rocks are amazing, especially along the Bay itself. Its very hard resisting the urge to come back from a walk without at least one pebble in your pocket.
This always makes me smile  as it reminds me of  a local ranger’s walk we went on as a family here when our boys were much younger.
Afterwards the talk of meteors and space rock, Ben, our youngest disappeared off and came back struggling to walk under the weight of pockets and arms bursting with “space rock” to take home for all his friends. I think if he had been allowed, Stoer Bay would have been stripped bare of every rock possible and piled into our car as souvenir’s. Luckily that didn’t happen and there are plenty there for everyone to admire.
Here is a little info on the rocks you can find at Stoer Bay …including Bens Space rocks (Reidite).
The area is still of fascination and college parties of students studying geology are often seen around the area and if you walk along to Stack Fada (where the rock dissappears into the sea leaving a “shark fin ” protrusion out of the water along the cliff walk at the bay, you may also see small round bore holes where rock samples have been taken.

Torridonian Sandstone

Sedimentary rock that starts out as little grains carried along in rivers and streams and is a built up of many many layers of sediment, eventually  compacting  under the weight of the layers above until it becomes rock. Erosion  exposed these rocks and in some places you can see ripple marks made by an ancient river. The stone ripples you  see in the rocks around Stoer Bay were formed  1000 million years ago. The rock is the Stoer Group of Torridonian Sandstone, a sedimentary type of rock.

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The rock face in the chalet grounds

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Rock formation at Stoer Bay

Lewisian Gneiss

The Oldest Rocks in Britain – and some of the Oldest in the World. As well as being very pretty, these rocks are 3 billion years old. They are also some of the oldest rocks in the World. Lewisian Gneiss is metamorphic, this means that volcanic heat and pressure has changed its structure .Originally the rocks were like granite which changed as the Earth’s crust became molten and they solidified, which is the reason you can see differences in the way the layers are seen, ranging from the white, to pale grey and even really dark grey. Because they were once part of the same continent, the same rock type is found in North America and Greenland. The rock has been eroded and scoured by glaciers to form hillocks  and small lochs. In many places the Lewisian Gneiss is overlaid with Torridonian Sandstone.

Reidite
The earliest known occurrence of one of Earth’s rarest minerals has been found here in Stoer Bay.The 1.2 billion-year-old reidite was found in rock samples taken from Stac Fada , Stoer Bay. Reidite is only known to form in nature during meteorite impact events. The discovery reinforces a theory that Stac Fada’s geology was formed by material thrown out by a meteorite impact 1.2 billion years ago.

 

Highland holidays

Well our first July over and only 1 more week till all our wee highland school children are back in the classroom. The weather for most of the highland school holidays has been amazing, it seems to have cooled a little the last week or so but nothing that has prevented lots of fun to still take place. When you bare in mind that its our climate that makes our landscape so wild and green and beautiful, then who cares if its a wee bit rainy, bring the waterproofs and wellie boots.

At the chalets we have been very busy and delighted with our first full month in our very first year in the chalets. All our guests have been so lovely and all have had a fantastic time with  words of praise for the chalets which is so encouraging after our winter of renovations.

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Suiliven, photo curtesy of guests on the day of their climb

We have had mountain bikers, mountain climbers, sightseers, beach lovers, bird watchers, all kinds of people all visiting for so many reasons. Some guests have been to these parts many many times and others for the first time and vow it will not be the last. Such is the beauty of Assynt that it has something for everyone and nobody leaves free of its grip on their heart.

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Canine and human guests enjoying a dip in the loch

 

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Can you spot our very camouflaged friend in the rock pile?

Loch an aigeil, the loch in front of the chalet has to be our main focal point for everyone when they are at the chalets, with its many different water fowl constantly around, including our 2 geese families, one a family of 5 and one of 11 who have entertained and enthralled most of our guests through the whole year so far, showing so much love, devotion  and care  by both parents in their full time joint parenting roles. The youngsters now getting harder to identify from the parents especially now that their beaks are beginning to turning orange like mum and dads.

The Otter has been spotted several times, once in the reeds right in front of the chalets, I am, sadly, yet to spot him but still have plenty time. The weasels have been giving many guests great entertainment with their cheeky playful ness and scampering about and at the moment we have some young toads seeking shelter. Sadly unlike its name the common toad is not as common as it once was so its good to see some young ones about.

 

Sunny Stoer Bay

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature     Sunny evenings at Stoer Bay, Clachtoll
Rain I here you cry, whats that?
I tell you what, at this moment I would go outside and dance in the rain, if it was raining that is! As much as we are all basking (or in my case melting) in this glorious sunshine, I feel there really hasn’t been a decent rainfall since March.

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Though our Loch is low the water lilies are thriving.

Should dry conditions continue for the next five weeks, as predicted, 2018 could well become the driest summer on record. That honour currently goes to 1995, with total rainfall over the full three months of 103mm. Fortunately – for both wildlife and gardeners – some rain is on the way, with thunderstorms predicted within the next week. That will be Monday when both hubby and myself have time off from our week day jobs then!
Should high temperatures persist, it could also beat 1976 as the hottest summer ever. Earlier this month, Scotland recorded its highest ever temperature of 33.2C in Motherwell, breaking the previous record of 32.9C set in the Scottish Borders on 9 August 2003.
Love it or hate it there is nothing we can do about the heat so best make the most of it.
So take care, keep hydrated, don’t get burnt and enjoy….soon enough we will be moaning about the rain.

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Keeping cool in Stoer Bay

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Only with Sunny days do you get beautiful sunsets

Clachtoll & Stoer Bay

Clachtoll always has been a very special place to so many people and one of the many thing we are loving about our chalets is seeing this in all our guests. Some have been visiting the chalets and Clachtoll for many years, in fact in the last few weeks we have had  different families where the 3rd generation is now also visiting for their holidays. With one week 3 generations of one family in all 3 of the chalets. Happy children, parents and grandparents having a ball in and around this beautiful place. Lots of sandy trips to Clachtoll beach and Flossies beach shop and running around the chalet grounds laughing and having fun. We are also seeing new faces to the area, many of whom are all vowing to revisit again as soon as they can. This magical hold must have got both David & myself from a young age from family visits to camping at Clachtoll beach and David s exciting few younger years as a light housekeepers son at Stoerhead lighthouse and now our children are our 3rd generation to continue this love.
Seeing happy children running of to the bay and to Clachtoll beach just around the corner does warm the heart with many happy memories and that’s what we want our chalets to be all about. A place where happy holiday memories are made.

CLACHTOLL BROCH, STOER

Clachtoll broch at Stoer Bay has once again been in the highlights with more works going on the last few week. Clachtoll broch is one of the most iconic monuments in northern mainland Britain and a Scheduled Ancient Monument and can be seen from our chalets. See the post below for information on guided walks this week. The fantastic thing about a guided walk is the amount of information these guides have to share with you. Always worth
making the time if you can, to participate.
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Visit our facebook page where we try to keep up to date with any local activities we feel visitors may enjoy.
https://www.facebook.com/stoerbaychalets.co.uk/

Celebrations & Thanksgivings at Stoer Bay

Looking across Loch an Aigeil to Stoer Bay
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Well, what an ending to a busy week for Assynt crofters trusts celebrations. Feis in the Fank at Stoer Bay was amazing, so glad we managed to shoot up the road on Friday evening, just in time to catch Blazing Fiddles and Skerryvore, not to mention the fabulous duo who entertained everyone in between acts in their wee trailer outside the main tent.
When in the early hours we were all danced out, we were lulled to sleep as the party continued with the music drifting over from Stoer Bay to the chalets and echoing off the cliff wall.
It seems that there was other celebrations going on in Stoer Bay too. With a big birthday being celebrated by one of our guests who had all her family staying with her in the chalets. I cant think of a better setting for celebrations and to cap it all off the lucky lady saw our elusive otter not once or twice but on three separate occasions over their stay.
The excitement of being fully booked for July in all 3 of our chalets, in our first year was a very big thing for us, especially after the hours put in over a long, cold winter. It took us a short while however to suddenly  see a down side to this. We would have no where to stay on change over days and would, horrors of horrors potentially have to come up and down the road from Drumnadrochit on the same day.
Not a huge travelling distance but this area is and always has been in our souls and weekends here were making it easier until the day we will be able to make the move permanently.
So caravan hunting we went and hubby found a bargain, 3 weeks of scrubbing it from ceiling to floor later (hence why it was a bargain),  we now have our own  cosy corner at the back of the chalets, a wee nook to stay in whenever we can get up to Stoer Bay…..and we even figured out how everything works to get it up and running too, though we did think the fridge was a no go, not so great in the heatwave, but google solved that mystery, who knew there was another switch hidden in the depths of a cupboard to switch it on, LOL, cheers google.
Joking aside, one thing we have so far been overwhelmed by is all the support and good wishes we have had from all the locals we have met so far, a few old friends and many new.  Friday night was a great way to meet some more of our new neighbours. Tips and advice from locals also in the hospitality trade have been gratefully received and we appreciate so much the patience in answering our many many newbie questions and the help with fixing a few mechanical issues….one day the ride on mower will go and continue to go through a whole grass cut. At least, with a severe lack of rain so far this year the grass is growing slightly slower than usual.
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The beautiful Stoer Bay

Heatwave in Scotland

Well, we have been having a fantastic year so far weather wise,  this wee highland lassie was fair melting in the heat of home the last couple of days. In Drumnadrochit ,we were the hottest recorded place in Scotland one of the days at a staggering 32.2 degrees C. Poor Nessie must have been diving to the bottom of the Loch for shade that day. Not normal temperatures for us at all and the cool of Friday was a welcome relief….though we wouldnt want it all summer. Looking forward to next week we should see lots more sun.
Now the Scottish school are all on their summer holidays, what usually happens is rain for the next 6 weeks, or 7 this year as the lucky wee cherubs get an extra week off.
Our sometimes unpredictable weather shouldn’t ever deter anyone from getting out and about, pack for all seasons and your sorted and you may even find that the shorts and T shirt are on most of the time. It is our weather that makes our landscape so green and beautiful, so for that we will never complain because even those us that have lived here all our lives never tire of the beauty around us and still every day are thankful for living in such a stunning place.

This weekend is the start of the week long celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Assynt crofters purchasing their land. To mark this , the Assynt crofters Trust is organising a week-long celebration of Crofting – Past, Present & Future, from 30th June to 6th July. Planned events include a hill race, a fishing competition, a creative writing competition, a series of workshops based on the archaeology of Clachtoll Broch, sheepdog handling, sheep shearing etc, working with wool and a photographic competition. There will be a some  music events – a ceilidh to mark the launch of the Trust’s new boat for the disabled on Loch Drumbeg and a concert to launch a brand new CD by Rory Matheson, Kim Maclennan and Anna Buxton – culminating in the Fèis  in the Fank – an all-night festival of Scottish music with Skerryvore, Blazin’ Fiddles, James Graham, Rory Matheson and the Skala Ceilidh Dance Band, and many more.
Sounds too good to miss.

Enjoying the start of the Summer

An early Summer
We have been enjoying some amazing weather in Assynt this month. The sun just seems to keep on shining with only the odd day with some wind and rain. This has brought many smiles to all our guests, with lots of hill walking, fishing, beaching and sun bathing being done by all.
Now our youngest, Ben has recovered from his broken arm and various other injuries (he was always a disaster zone) he has been able to once again enjoy a bit more fishing and wild swimming in the Loch….still far too cold for us but children just dont seem to notice, young guests staying were having a lovely time paddling along the edge of the loch too.  We have found time to  do a little exploring around Stoer Bay ourselves too now that things are not so hectic with prepearing the chalets, and even managed a bit of sea fishing this weekend, no luck with the fish but the therapy of just relaxing and listening to waves is priceless.


Nothing beats the sound of waves crashing onto a shore.

Its not just wildlife on our shorelines

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to spot a porpoise playing in the Bay whilst exploring. we were  sadly also gobsmacked at the amount of plastic being washed up along our shorelne. So much so that we ended up picking up over 40 plastic bottles, most of these being water or juice bottles. We now seem to have got the bug and are unable to go for a walk without bringing back atleast one load of rubbish each time.Hopefully though this will reduce as its kept from building up in certain areas.We must have looked a right sight this weekend. One of us with a big yellow hessain bag of rubbish, one dragging a big black pipe ( these we believe are from fish farms and are sadly a very common sight lieing along our shores and finally was Ben carying a huge lump of polysterine.


A wee bit of sea fishing being done during a quiet spell

Celebrations

There are big celebrations happening in Assynt next month, with it being 25 years since the  Assynt Crofters’ Trust formally took ownership of the North Lochinver Estate in 1993. To mark this the Trust is organising a week-long celebration of Crofting – Past, Present & Future, from 30th June to 6th July. culminating in the Fèis  in the Fank – an all-night festival of Scottish music taking place across the road from us at the Sheep fanks at Stoer Bay. Lots to look forward to. So lets hear it for a summer of fun laughter music and dance. What a way to start the school holidays.


Looking across to Split Rock at Clachtoll beach from Stoer Bay

The last few weeks

Well, it feels like so long since I have been on to post about our wee spot in Assynt.
For the last 4 weeks we have been having just a few problems with our internet provider, it seems it was decided that our phone line no longer needed to exist ands so  it was made obsolete along with our phone number…very handy when trying to run two business from it. It has took this long to persuade nameless company that we did exist and would really appreciate being reconnected. So anyhow, eventually here we are  back and able at last to give an update on our chalets.
Talented friends
So we have finished the interiors of all 3 chalets and now both Edal & Mijbil have new porches and two new windows each. Wonderful talented friends made us beautiful wooden otter signs for each chalets (Go to our facebook page to have a wee look).
We are also blessed with friends who are photographers and not much persuasion was needed to tempt them up for a week end to take photos of the chalet interiors for us…hopefully coming to website  soon,  and finally, not forgetting David who you would thought may have been glad of a break from saws and hammers decided to build two new picnic tables for the chalets so we now have a couple in lovely wee spots in the grounds away from the chalets too relax and soak in the views….one conveniently close to what’s said to be the best fishing spot of the loch!
The Grounds
The grass has had several cuts now and looking good and we are loving watching different flowers popping up Now that the daffies have passed, the mint and wild garlic are fighting for space below and on the rock face along with the primroses. The bluebells are now appearing around the chalets. We have cleared the old rockery and replanted it and have all different flowers appearing in our flowers pots with plans for some bigger plants eventually going in other areas, firstly though we need to finish chicken wiring the bottom of the fences to keep the hungry rabbits out or all our hard work will be eaten, their very own kitchen larder!
Loch life
May has defiantly made up for the extra long and bitter winter this year with the loch teaming with various wild fowl. Our favourite at the moment has to be the Goose family, mum & dad with their 9 little gosling. There does seem to be a little discontent with one other goose who it seems is determined to attack this wee family at every opportunity and its always a great relief after another one of its attacks to do a quick head count and find everyone still accounted for. The Brown trout are fair jumping in the loch, some so high that they are out the water entirely. Many fishermen have been seen sitting at the point trying to catch a bite. Ben was lucky enough to catch a 1.5 pounder which was eaten the next morning for breakfast and was delicious. With the sun so hot Ben also decided one day to join the fish in the loch and after a very breathtaking swim, it was declared, not suprisingly, far to cold

 



Almost June
Now at the end of May we  managed a weekend where we remained paint and woodwork free and even had a long lie which was long overdue and defiantly a real treat. We are meeting some lovely people, locals and guests coming to the chalets and  are so delighted with the feed back we are receiving from both in regards to the chalets…makes the  moments of struggle over the winter months   more than worthwhile. June also see the start of  works going on in the Broch at Stoer Bay start again. See more information on dates and activities by following the link on our website onto our facebook page.
Coastal route 500
Though we have been coming here for many years it is amazing how popular (though not at all surprising) the area has become. We are loving watching the occasional convoy of super cars that occasionally pass by, ready to look out to see what we can spot briefly across the loch before they dissapear behind the blanket of reeds at the far side when we hear the raspy noise which cannot be mistaken for anything else. Otherwise we are soaking in the sunshine relishing the peace and harmony, bird spotting, keeping an eye out for the wee elusive weasel that rushes across the chalet grounds occasionally and still hoping to catch sight of the otters, making new friends and acquaintances and enjoying the stunning location, including having the energy to now stay up later and see sights like this.

Full moon and Jupiter shining over Loch an Aigaill @ Stoer Bay Chalets, Stoer Bay, Assynt,  Costal route 500.

A brief respite to recharge the batteries on the NC500

Our Own Little Bit of the NC500
Since purchasing Stoer Bay Chalets in November 2017 we have spent every weekend and  holidays after our Monday to Friday jobs travelling up part of the infamous  NC500 to work on getting each of them ready to greet guests to this stunning area.
After 6 months we are feeling somewhat tired.  Aching in places that we didn’t even know we had places. Out of my many new learnt skills my most useful, must be discovering that I am not to shabby at being a left handed painter. This was after my right hand refused to hold a paint brush anymore without going into cramps.
All 3 of our chalets are now just about ready to face the 2018 summer season. This weekend will see the last of the harder graft. With hopefully only some final snags to tidy up the following weekend and with luck the re cladding of Mijbils porch…..for now anyway. We are  delighted with what we have achieved so far and hope all our guests will be too.

And Relax
So looking forward to going up that road to Stoer Bay and maybe even being able to sit down before midnight and relax for a wee while, I think we have earned it, oh and too never see a paint brush again…ever, or at least not for a wee while  anyway.

NC500 Grand Tour
Talking about Assynt’s breathtaking beauty, did anyone read Jeremy Clarksons post in the Scotsman after the filming of The Grand Tour of the NC 500 last week where he described the Highland as “the most beautiful place on earth”. I for one having lived in the Highlands all my life cannot disagree with him. And on that note………..