Sunday, March 04, 2007


Mountains all around us - that's one of the great things about living in the Highlands! This morning was mild, calm, hardly a cloud in the sky. I roused a gap-yearing son and we decided to climb Sgurr a' Mhuilinn, Peak of the Mill - at the top of Strathconon and visible from both Scottish coasts.

As we crossed the Kessock Bridge, just north of Inverness, the miller's cap was glistening in the sun and it looked like a good day. But the weather worsened as we drove up the River Conon, and when we arrived the rain was unrelenting. No fun. So we headed on up the glen, stopping again by Loch Beannacharain, inhabited by a mass of mallard, and two whooper swans. The weather was better and as we walked by the shore, a large bird of prey settled on a pole and sat there drying its wings. Neither of us recognised it, and it was only later we learned that this was a Gyr Falcon - a vagrant from Iceland, clearly enjoying our icelandic weather.

The walk was good too - mostly sun but with rain showers and a burst of hail. We took one of the old routes across the Highlands, from Strathconon through to Ach na Shellach, then veered off to climb Creag na h-Iolaire, rock of the Eagles. No eagles there now, but we saw about 250 stags during the day - wonderful beasts. How often I wish that some of our Clans and Castles clients who visit in the summer would come a little earlier - before all the deer have disappeared up to the high corries!

No comments: