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Some work and a little play at Stoer Bay

Our holiday in Stoer
Last week we took a break from our Monday – Friday jobs. This give us the opportunity to look at new wood cladding for Edal & Mijbil and we are very excited to now have that on order.
We also spent some time at the chalets and are delighted that despite the winds trying their hardest to stop us we now have Edals new roof on. Such a relief to have that done in time for this winter.
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Heading inland from Clachtoll peat track

At the end of the week I had a few days to chill on my own due to hubby being required to ferry both children here there and every where over the weekend. Not one to slack off I took this opportunity to explore some of the walks close by that as yet I hadn’t explored.
One of these wanders was along the peat track route from Clachtoll to Stoer. This fairly easy 6 mile walk had a view at every corner and I would highly recommend it. I am so glad I decided to wear the old faithfull wellie boots though as the weather has been making up for the extra dry summer lately and it was especially boggy in parts.

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A wee lochan crossing on the Stoer end of the peat track & looking over to the hamlet of Stoer.

I also put the running shoes on a couple of times and stretched the legs, the problem though is that the views are so stunning you do have to keep stopping.
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Heading towards Clashnessie                 Clashnessie Bay                                     Looking back over Stoer

It wasnt all play though, I did get the painbrushes out briefly…..and then put them away again ’cause,well, you can’t paint in hailstones….can you?

 

Another job almost done.

For a change last weekend we had our eldest son Conner up at the chalets.  Ben was braving the weather doing his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Its been a while since Conner was up. He hasn’t seen  the chalets since the inside were all fixed, refurnished and redecorated. We looked forward to his reactions. Happy to report he was delighted at the changes but not as delighted as he was at the fun he was about to have.

When the chalets were first built in the 60’s the kitchen and sitting rooms were at the back facing away from the loch.The next owners (whom we purchased the chalets from) realising that turning the rooms around would offer stunning views across the loch whilst sitting relaxing and/or eating, did this very thing. The old doorsteps were however left in place.They had  been starting to cause a  damp area on the interior wall which we wanted to stop before it became a problem.
Problem solved by giving Conner a boy toy.
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The area now looks much better though  the steps were a bit like icebergs. Twice as much below the surface as above. Just to tidy up the area around the bottom of the chalets, a wee coat of cement over the bricks all round, a  paint and we should be ready to reclad the exterior walls…just have to find some time and dry weather!
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This weekends jobs, the tidy up and multiple trips to the dump with lumps of concrete.

 

 

Autumn in Stoer Bay, Assynt

With Autumn most definatly here in Assynt, The NC500 route quieting down a little and the nights getting shorter it was time to leave our summer home in our caravan and return to weekend stays in one of our chalets ….oh the luxury of a proper bed again.

Rollers coming into the bay

It was a delight to once again sit at night and watch the moon shimmering across the loch and even better to wake up first thing and wander through to the kitchen to spot a Heron fishing from the chalet shoreline and though the otter has still remained elusive to us, he was spotted twice by guests this week. Once on the loch and once at the bottom of the burn on the Bay. Loving learning the variations in wildlife on our own wee spot of Assynt.
We were also very grateful to be snug in Mijbil when a sudden down pour of hail came down on Sunday morning followed by a short but torrential rain shower. One of our guests was not so lucky in his dog walk timing, though wrapped up in waterproofs he didnt look like he minded too much. Following this was a stunning rainbow and then beautiful sunshine for the rest of the day.

Rainbow over Stoer Bay

The Autumn storms from last week are still seeing some big waves rolling into the bay and all the other beaches along Assynt and the northern coastline and it was easy to hear the waves rumbling over the stones on Stoer Bay whilst tucked up in bed at night. Sadly it is also bringing in so much debris onto the shore that was a bit disheartening at first after valantly keeping the bay as clear of litter as possible over the summer, but the bug is there and we couldnt resist afew wanders with black bags in pockets until we had cleared it all again….until next time.  Seeing all thats washed up really does bring home the huge problem we have of not just plastic but all sorts of debris floating in our sea. So glad there is now a growing awareness and all over the world people are trying to protect our seas from further pollution.
                              

 

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.