Growing up to Fast

Its been a while since I’ve made it this far and even had a chance to sit down and think about writing a wee blog. So excuse my rambling, my brain is feeling a little fried.

The main cause of this having absolutely nothing to do with the chalets but everything to do with my two growing sons. I had this idea that as they grew older and more independant that my work as a mum would take a back seat.
How wrong was I!
Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, child, outdoor, water and nature     Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, child, shoes, outdoor and nature   Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature
No one told me the stress of having a child who can now drive. Oh how I wish a little tykes car would still satisfy. This together with the child in particular starting college in Glasgow and heading of down on his own bearly knowing what a roundabout is never mind roads with more than two lanes and all  other matters of other things.

His tongue in cheek comment of so many people making strange gestures and faces at him made me think of people navigating our small roads and how strange and scary they probably feel to city folk.

He is also about to embark on his first solo foreign (working) holiday abroad and if he makes it to the airport let alone an airoplane I will be amazed.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor
Meanwhile little, or not so little brother( considering he towers over the rest of us). Has sadly once again made his annual visit to A& E. One year, just one year without having this would be lovely. You would think that after 16 years he would have learnt to be a bit more careful. His mountain bike he worked all the hours over the summer holidaysfor is now sitting  gathering dust whilst he recovers from a football injury.

I am a very proud mum though and delighted with where both my boys are at the moment. how far they have come and the exciting plans that they both have for their futures.

I’m certain in my thinking that part of their love for adventure and the outdoors has to be put down to a childhood of holidays in the amazing place that is Assynt.

Rock clambering

Cuilkein natural arch

Its been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to come on here and do my wee blog.

I’m sitting watching a rather wet view from my sitting room window. Thankfully nothing like the flash flooding and thunder storms at the beginning of the week. Its hard to believe that last Sunday was such a beautiful hot sunny day. Spent clambering and exploring around the cave and rock arch at Cuilkein Stoer.

Another viewpoint of the arch

Looking out the sea cave

This beautiful wee spot is just a 5 minute drive from the chalets and is also another access point along the coast to The Old Man of Stoer.
We often would come round here when our boys were younger but like most mum’s kept them well back from the edges. So with them absent, though  indefinatly they are both doing things much more foolhardy with either whitewater kayaks and/or mountain bikes involved, we parents took ourselfs on our own little, much more sedate adventure.
Finding a cave that we didn’t know was even there was an extra bonus and as always ending up just sitting on the rocks watching the sea birds annd waves and relaxing before the start of another busy week.

The other Old man of  Stoer aka Mr Mac

 

Assynt crofters raising funds for MacMillan cancer support

Had a lovely time last weekend on  Stoer Bay green. The Assynt crofters were holding a fun sheep day event. This was raising funds for MacMillan cancer support. This is such a special support group which helps and supports so many families whos lifes have been or are being struck by this horrible disease.

Image may contain: sky, aeroplane, outdoor and nature
The event however was fun. Enjoyed having a wee look at all the different sheep on display as well as afew goats and chickens. I must confess, I do not know much about sheep. I do however have a very large soft spot for goats.  As a childhood with them, for my parents with 5 children a on tap a steady milk supply and for us children some very loving pets….except for the Billy, who was as tempramental as anything could possibly be. And a great escape artist. Despite drinking goats milk from a young age it was never my favourite. I did however love milking them and escaping into my own world of peace and calm for a brief spell.
Back to Stoer Bay. There was  sheep shearing and milking displays. Though I didnt have a shot, it looks much harder than milking a goat!
Image may contain: one or more people, child, outdoor and nature    Image may contain: horse and outdoor
Inside the big tent there was local wool crafters looming and wool dyeing as well as an amazing raffle and information on all the Assynt crofters, a great read.
So now full of all this information  I live in hope to find a raffle prize waiting for me when I go up on Friday.

Well done to everyone involved in organising and running this event.
.Image may contain: grass, tree, sky, outdoor and nature   Image may contain: sky, cloud, grass, outdoor and nature  Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: one or more people, tree, outdoor and nature

Stoer Bay Chalets

Well, we are now truly well into our second summer season at Stoer Bay Chalets. Its lovely meeting old friends and making new ones. Despite some weeks not having such great weather our stunning scenery has still helped towards our guests having wonderful  holidays. Its our rain that makes our country so beautiful and awesome. Don’t ever let it stop you having the time of your life. And Stoer Bay otters seem to be putting on a magnificant show this year with sightings almost every week. Including right on the shoreline in front of the chalets.
Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water       Image may contain: outdoor and text     Image may contain: cloud, sky, mountain, grass, tree, plant, outdoor and nature

Becoming owners of a self catering business was never something that we had even considered. This was before we fell in love with Stoer Bay Chalets, though at times (like all things in life) it can be a bit of a juggling act. We have never once had any regrets on our new career path, and still so look forward to the day when we are able to make Stoer Bay Chalets our full time home and business.
For now we are content with how it is at the moment and with our children next life adventures, one who is tentively finding his feet out of full time education and about to start another exciting chapter in his life as an adult and little brother only a couple of years behind and reaching for his own goals, life is certainly never dull….or quiet.
Lifes chapters certainly make a good story so far, heres hoping the adventures keep coming.
Image may contain: sky, ocean, plant, cloud, mountain, outdoor, nature and water     Image may contain: outdoor, water and nature    Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, child, outdoor, water and nature

Holiday Time

Holiday Time
The midsummer weekend must have been the most beautiful weather wise so far this year. A wee wander up to Stoerheadlight house on the longest night may not have yielded the sunset we had hoped for but beautiful skies non the less.

Saurday after change overs and meeting all our lovely new guests we chilled out at Stoer Bay. Watched a seal playing around and the sun slowly setting.
Image may contain: shoes, sky, outdoor, nature and water    Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water    Image may contain: cloud, ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water
Sunday, though we usually find something to potter at was even more chilled. The afternoon spent lazing , reading and dare I say snoozing in the sun. A completly layed back weekend before the summer holidays kick off.  We will then have little time for a short whilst to have many  lazy days. We always have lazy evenings though. Thats what sunsets are there for, to sit back and soak up. The componsation is meeting so many new people who come to holiday in this amazing place. Happy holidays everyone…lets hope this weather continues and great fun, adventures and laughter is had by all.

Summer Sun

The summer sun seems to be hiding from most of Britain so far this year.

However the North West Coast of Scotland has suprisingly seen some of Scotlands best weather so far. Last weekend especially, was a scorcher.

Though slightly disconcerting that Davids shadow is headless, look at that washing blowing dry in beautiful sunshine. This may not impress some of you. Other’s I know will feel my delight in this sight. Four loads of washing all dried in an afternoon.
Cant beat a bit of sunshine and a west coast breeze. Helps keep the midgies away too.

Image may contain: 1 person, grass and outdoor                         All the grass cut and pot plants watered. And time for a well deserved cuppa.

Many of our guests will say they don’t come to the Scottish highlands for the weather.
This maybe true and it is our high rainfall that helps sculpt our landscape and make it so green and beautiful but hey we all love a bit of sunshine. It certainly lifts the spirits and gives a feel good factor. Look at that blue sky.
Mijbil & Edal are even reflecting in the water.

   

In anticipation of the Summer sun we have also bought some BBQ stands, suitable for all sizes of portable BBQ’S to sit in to protect our grass and picnic tables from scorch and burn marks and also making it easier to reach your BBQ. Hopefully the sun will continue to shine and they will see lots of use. Sadly the food does not come included.
              
Our 3 wee geese families are enjoying the sunshine too and the short grass around the chalets. The goslings looking like gangly prehistoric teenagers always under mum & dads protective gaze. Getting quite used to the guests wandering about and being of no threat them as they just wander back towards the loch if feeling you maybe just a little to close for comfort.

  
Now lets hope that with all this talk of West is best I haven’t tempted the fates and the Wet west lives up to its reputation – it is why we are so beautiful though.

 

Stroll through long summer days

Image may contain: ocean, sky, beach, outdoor, water and nature

Balchladich Bay

Loving the long summer days, perfect for an evening stroll. With sunset happening after 10p.m and daylight till after 11p.m. Its also a good reason to get hubby out for a bit more than his usual evening stroll. His strolls have slowly been getting longer and longer. The benefits of so much stunning scenery and hidden corners to explore.
Last weekends walk started as a stroll up past Stoer. Continued to Stoer school where we to a left to Balchladich Bay. A beautiful very much overlooked beach. On the the wee loop road that continues on till it meets the road to Stoerhead lighthouse.
From the bay we headed back to the chalets along the cliffs. So much going on just now. It is amazing seeing all the young cormorants. Not quite yet making the step to fly of their precarious perches but looking like it might not be too long. The gulls also nesting though the crows trying their best to get past the patroling parents to the young gulls.

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/61925180_2352154865054743_3560008373434843136_n.jpg?_nc_cat=105&_nc_ht=scontent-lhr3-1.xx&oh=62c163d957c604efb1e03458aefb5960&oe=5D59FF9C               Image may contain: outdoor            No photo description available.
With many photo stops and stops just to sit and soak in the views, sunsets and just to count our blessing. The “stroll” took the best part of 2 hours. It could of course be done a lot quicker….or slower depending on your mood.       Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor, nature and water
Image may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, outdoor, nature and water                    Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

 

 

 

 

 

spring is in the Assynt air

Spring is in the assynt air. Whilst we have been busy with meeting and greeting all our new guests. Making sure the chalets are welcoming and ready for their arrival. Nature has also been busy making around them beautiful.Image may contain: plant, outdoor, nature and water
With the cliff side all covered in primroses and bluebells competing with wild garlic and Iris along the bottom. It’s really a lovely sight to see.
The waterbirds have been busy too. Two sets of geese families and a family of ducks all proudly being parading around and on the Loch.Image may contain: bird, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Theres been a family of Otters spotted in the bay – BY ME -still smiling! As well as a couple spotted on the same night. One in the loch and the other in the bay.

The weasel always seems to be alone but has been giving a poor wagtail family a bit of a hard time. Sadly it may have got a chick. We are not sure if its feeding young itself or not though.
Image may contain: outdoor and nature
The crofters are all finished lambing now. We did have one wee lamb abandoned near the chalets. A quick phone call brought a local crofter to the rescue. It now has a foster mum. Both are doing fantastic.
Sadly there was trouble during the lambing with some dogs clearly out of their owners control. This led to the death of at least two sheep in the Stoer area. So please always make sure you are always in control of your dog. Crofters are within their rights to shoot any dog worrying their livestock.

Another new sound just now is the cuckoo. Who always reminds me of waking up snuggling in bed as a child. In the early summer, with the light mornings and a day waiting to be explored. So happy memories from cuckoos. Though they may not be the most pleasant of birds. Something else I didnt know till years later that makes me give a wee smile. Whilst I  in one room listening and loving the cuckoo my father was next door swearing to shoot the bloomin noisy thing out the trees.

Image may contain: ocean, outdoor, water and nature

spot the otters

The Old Man of Stoer

This is a lovely walk and easily done in an evening if in need of a wee leg stretch.
The Old Man of Stoer, is an amazing  sea-stack.
The walks coastal scenery stunning. This is the best walk in Assynt for whale and dolphin spotting, though I am unable to guarantee a spotting, unfortunatly.

There is car parking just below Stoer lighthouse. Start up the path marked with a footpath sign ‘Old Man of Stoer – 3km’.
The path  fades in places to a sheep-track. Continue along the coast above the cliffs. After about a kilometre there is a deep grassy gully, a rocky stepped path has been made down and out the other side. Another kilometre further on the rock of Cirean Geardail is to the left. There is a wonderful view  along the the cliffs, with the Old Man of Stoer at the far end.

The coast and the path  drop  steep down to the grassy area immediately above the Old Man. The sea stack is 70 metres high and was first climbed by Dr Tom Patey.

Continuing further along the coast you reach the Point of Stoer itself, with wonderful views up the Sutherland coastline. From here you can return the same way, or with just a little more effort with you can head over the summit of Sithean Mor (the Big Fairy Hill).
To do this, head up the  slopes. The summit is marked by a cairn with a trig point and is a fantastic viewpoint. There is huge sweep of the Sutherland coast backed by Foinaven, whilst further right are the mountains of Assynt. On a clear day you can even make out Skye and the Isle of Lewis.

From here there is a faint path keeping to the high ground and aiming for the hillocks to the right of the mast. A little further you will reach the track that leads  to the radio mast . Turn right along this and follow it past the remains of a World War Two radar station before you arrive back to the start.

Many years ago I cycled from Clachtoll on the road to the lighthouse, round this coastline, taking the route from the radio mast track,rather than the start path mentioned above. round to the road at Culkein then back to Clachtoll. I cannot tell you my time but it,was done in an evening and I do remember thoroughly enjoyed it. Easily done on a hardtail, possibly a hybrid but not road bike suitable along the coastal off road part.

Make us your BaseCamp

Our chalets make an excellent BaseCamp,
because there are so many places to go and things to see.
Therefore many people are making base camp in a central location and having the occasional day trip to see further afield places.
One place which is certainly a must and one I haven’t done since I camped there with my family many many years ago, is Sandwood Bay.
Approximatly 1 – 1.5hrs  drive north from the chalets, turning of to Kinlochbervie and carrying on to the Hamlet of Blairmore, where there is a car park and toilets.

Start by crossing the road, heading through the gate and follow the track over peat moorland. As a child we parked near the wee lochs that you pass on the track, these are beautiful in themselves. Unlike the track which is now owned and maintained by the John Muir trust, I  remember following meandering paths through what in my memory were big peat cuts but they have either shrung or were a figment of my childhood memories.

All the land crossed on this walk is crofted and dogs should be kept under control so as not to disturb livestock and ground nesting birds.
              

The cliffs on the coastline north to Cape Wrath appear into view. Passing through two old wooden gateposts for the final section of wider path. Sandwood Loch, a large freshwater loch, now comes into view, with the ruins of a house on the right. It was close to the loch where we used to camp. Local folklore states that the ghost of a shipwrecked mariner used to knock at the window of the house on stormy nights. After passing the ruin the path  heads through the massive dunes to the beach itself.

As the bay is exposed to the Atlantic breakers, the bay saw many shipwrecks, although all the remains are now buried under the sand. It was a stunning day this time, totally eliminating memories of legs getting whipped by sand and tents rattling and being battered in the wind. Tales of ghosts, shipwrecks and quicksand vanishing from my mind as I soaked in the most stunning of views in glorious sunshine.

From the beach the huge sea stack, Am Buachaille can be seen at the southern end of the sands. The large sandstone stack, Gaelic for The Herdsman.

                           

The beach is a good place to spot dolphins and other marine mammals. Sadly all I saw was what looked like a bone from a whale washed up on the shore. Local legends tell of  a  mermaid on the rocks in the bay in 1900. This spooked the local crofter and terrified his dog,  the man never changed his story and always remained convinced he had come across a mermaid.

I did dust of my bike for this adventure as it hadn’t seen the light of day for far too long. The path was easy going and mostly flat though one section I did  walk and push as the storm drains were a little large for me and my bunny hopping skills are pretty bad. Even walking this is a gentle walk especially on a beauitiful day. If you take your bike it is probably advisable to leave it at the top of the grass drop down to the beach but I was unable to resist the drop down on the bike, even though it would mean a bit of a push back up afterwards.

The route there and back is 8.25 miles and can take anything from 4 hours. As important the drive there and back is beautiful and in itself a wee trip. Think about a basecamp, its definatly worth it…..and you can, like many people, come back again and again using basecamp for different adventures each time.