A Happy New Year from Stoer Bay Chalets

A belated but heartfelt Happy New Year to everyone.
We hope you had a lovely time celebrating in 2019.  I sadly haven’t been to the chalets for a couple of weeks. David & Ben  though have been up and it sounds like all is going well with Mijbil, her makeover is almost complete. Finishing touches are this weekends job before it’s Edals turn .

There has also been our first significant fall of snow of the winter this week. We always look forward to seeing the mountains in all their beautiful winter glory….nothing can look as stunningl as a snow shrouded mountain. Assynt may not be reknown for many high mountains ( there are only 2 munro’s ) but they still make an extraordinary landscape, with fantastic, individual shapes.

These mountains are loved by walkers all over the world and the following are reviews of just a few of them.

Suilven  The area’s most distinctive mountain which rises abruptly from the beautiful landscape.  The views from its top are  stunning. It is not an easy climb as it is remote from any road, so both the approaches, from near Lochinver to the west and near Elphin to the east, are long and are  boggy in places. Many nowadays will use mountain bikes for the approach. The summit ridge is reasonably easy once you have finished the tough scramble to the saddle in the middle.

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Quinag: a majestic mass looming over the sea loch in the north-west. Superb views.

Ben More Assynt & Conival The only Munros in Assynt, these two rocky mountains are connected by a ridge. Together they give a very rough but rewarding ascent  with  amazing views, a good, long walk  from Inchnadamph.

Stac Polliadh This solo sandstone mountain shows how amazing Scotland’s small mountains can be In a mere few hours you get a fun thrill of a walk. The views all around are gorgeous.

Quinag: a majestic mass looming over the sea loch in the north-west. Amazing views.

To find out more information on these and other climbs, following the link on our website’s Activitie’s page to Walkhighlands.
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More goings on @ Stoer Bay

I do hope you have had a wonderful christmas full of love and laughter.
We have had a lovely break and managed a few days of family time which was so good.
Back to work tomorrow and looking forward to a few extra days at Stoer – always feels more like a working holiday when spent at the chalets. We are hoping to  complete the cladding work to Mijbil and make a start on Edal in the new year.
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Here is a wee sneak peek of some of what we have done so far.
Beautiful Siberian Larch….definatly needed to deal with the climate of the north west coast of Scotland.
The only thing we are doing to it is a couple of coats of oil based clear stain so that the beauty of the wood is still on show just under a coat of weather proof protection.

One of our neighbours took some ariel photos above our chalets on Christmas eve which just show the back walls new coat on Mijbil.  He cleverly edited out the scaffolding and our pile of old cladding that is waiting for us to dispose of this week.
I do love this  photo so much, it shows the chalets and their stunning location of to perfection.
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If I don’t make it back on before the end of the month, then I wish you all the best for 2019.
May the new year bring you all good health & happiness.
Enjoy your Hogmany celebrations where ever in the world you are.
(Hogmanay is what we call New Years Eve in Scotland  – 31 December – the big night that marks the arrival of the new year.)
A very happy new year to you all from Stoer Bay Chalets.

 

Birthdays & Christmases

Another productive few days spent working on the cladding of Mijbil.  A wee sneak peek can be found on our facebook page. Hopefully we will get Mijbil all done over the Christmas holidays, Then all we need to do is get in her new sitting room carpet, new sofa and a new fridge and she will hopefully be all ready to go for the 2019 season, which we are already delighted with the booking coming in.
Its the usual hectic chaos that ensues at this time of year and with our eldest turning 18 on the 22nd it seems even more so and I’m delighted at his choice of birthday treat…he is taking us all rock climbing. Though this time we will be indoors, his love for outdoor adventure and his unquenching dream of making a carreer from this love grows in no small part to his childhood holidays spent exploring the land and sea in this amazing part of the world that is the North West coast of Scotland, ASsynt, Clachtoll , Stoer and Lochinver in particular.
Hot Chocolate, Cocoa, Advent, Chocolate
This will be the last blog this side of christmas, lol whether anyone reads them or not I dont know, but if you do thankyou. To everyone, old friends and new, we would like to wish each and everyone of you a  merry and fun christmas and a prosperous and very happy new year. All the very best for 2019.
Karen & David
Doll Figures, Figures, Wooden Figures

 

Stoer, Clachtoll , Drumbeg, Clashnessie, Lochinver and beyond

After a wee break last week it was good to get back to Stoer this week. We even managed to make a start on the exterior recladding of Mijbil we are delighted with.
No photos yet, we will wait for some more to be done first but even the little bit done looks so good. I cant wait for it all to be done, though poor hubby once again with me as his gopher has pretty much got his hands full.

There are so many talented people in and around Stoer, Clachtoll and Lochinver and nearby local crofts and hamlets.  From bike hire, candle making, glassware, Pottery and so much more, as well as massage, tea rooms, so even on a rainy day there is still so much to do. We have asked  local to pop any leaflets into our letter box so hopefully we will have an array of up to date leaflets in 2019 of places that you may want to visit, as well as the mountains, lochs and of course the sea.
We are going on a few night time walks at the moment…not hard at this time of year with the much shorter and busy days. The night sky still takes my breath away every time, with no light pollution for miles.  The stars feel so close and as ever I await seeing the northern lights. Scotland is also one of the few places where the milky way can still be seen and it is truly breath taking. I can sit in front of the chalets wrapped up warm for hours and just stare up at the sky, never growing tired of its immense vastness.
The beauty of this area is that there is something so remote and peaceful to see, feel and soak up all year round, not just through the summer. Our beaches are only the start of the north west of Scotlands beauty and magic.

Our first anniversary at Stoer Bay chalets

We never made it to Stoer this week, instead we had a catch up with family at a mini reunion (still a couple siblings missing) in Fort William and a lovely walk with my mum along the river Spean.
The chalets were not far out of our minds however, as it is 1 year this week since we became their owners. Our first anniversary at Stoer Bay chalets.
What a year it has been. We must give so much thanks to all the physical, emotional and verbal support that friends & family have given to us not just in the last year but also in the rollercoaster of a year which led to us finally purchasing the chalets.
From gifting beautiful signs, photos for our website, giving up so much  of their own free time to help at the chalets, lots of hugs and tissues and much much more. Words cannot express how much everyone’s support has meant.
We also want to say a big thankyou to all our wonderful guests. It’s been a pleasure having you all stay and meeting you all. We are so delighted that everyone of you has had such a great time whilst you have been staying with us.
A final but just as heartfelt thankyou to all the locals who have offered us so much kindness & support throughout this year.
Here’s to many more years of adventure ahead.
Thankyou all Karen & David 💕💕💕
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A  snowy morning in January               A cheeky wee guest eyeing up the muffins
from the welcome pack

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The local otter was spotted several times in the loch         This wee chap and his family
in front of the chalets this year.                                           entertained our guests on many
occasssions.
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Sunset over Stoer from the chalets.
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One of the several brown trout caught in the loch at the chalets this year.

 

Stoer coastal walk

Another week for managing to squeeze in a wee coastal walk  to make the most of a lovely Saturday.  Apart from the downpour half way round. Though it did produce a wonderful rainbow.
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This weekends walk was along the coastal path from Stoerhead lighthouse back to Stoer Bay. Not too strenous a walk though a short part around half way was steep. You could go along the top ridge to making it a little easier if you wish but then you may miss seeing the cormorants on the rocks below.
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The whole walk including plenty beachcombing and photo taking took around 1.5hrs.  I was in no hurry and was taking my time……..hoping that all the wood cladding that had been delivered for Edal & Mijbils exterior walls would be safely and securely put into storage by the time I arrived back at the chalets.
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……….hadn’t counted on hubby & Ben generously waiting on my arrival back to help. They are both so thoughtful, I must walk slower next time.
Two wee notes to be aware, there are cattle and sheep grazing along most of the route so dogs must be kept under control at all times. The second is there is no distinct path in places but its easy to find your own route. As long as the sea stays on one side and the land is under your feet then your doing grand. A beautiful route well worth doing.

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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!