Thursday 23 January 2014

Bringing home the hay

Commando Memorial and the Aonach Range
Freshly baked bread, newly ground coffee beans and well made hay are the best smells in my world. Today I spent four hours in a highly perfumed camion bringing hay back from Glen Urquhart. I go up there every two or three months to collect some of the best hay in Scotland for the goats.

Ian Wilson's hay is made on upland permanent pastures it contains at least four or five different grasses and a whole excursion flora of herbs, the goats love it. You need six dry, sunny and preferably breezy days to make good hay. Six dry days here on the west coast are hard to find, like hen's teeth. That's why we make big bales of haylage, partially fermented grass that is pickled and can be harvested after two dry days. Goats are traditionalists, they prefer good hay.

Ben Resipol today from the "Corniche"
It isn't a chore driving up to Ian's beautiful farm in the hills above Loch Ness, its a day out, up the Great Glen under the shadow of Ben Nevis and the Aonachs, alongside the Caledonian Canal, then up Loch Ness and into Glen Urquhart. A mile or two after Drumnadrochit I swing into the steepest single track road in the country to Ian's farm, "Auchternarach"( you have to practice the pronunciation).

I should also mention the drive home from Salen along Loch Sunart ( the "Corniche") its so beautiful there should be a toll paid for driving those 20 miles.

Some others travelers, particularly Dormice, have a different view of this road and claim that they lose the will to live after and hour of narrow, twisting death defying motoring.

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