Wednesday 28 October 2015

High tide and the bees

Just above high tide
I've had a colony of bees on Jim Caldwell's croft at Porthurik ( I have that spelling from a Gaelic speaker!) all summer, just above the tide-line, after yesterdays high tide they must be moved. The next neap tide in a couple of week could have a nor-westerly wind behind it and that would push the water even further up the machair than on Tuesday.

Moving them is a bit laborious, if you don't move them far enough they will fly back to the original hive site, you can get away with less than three feet but further that three miles is the minimum. So I'll have to strap the boxes together, put a ventilated screen on top and ship them home in the truck. This works well, when we moved from Ayr to Northumberland in the 70 s the bees, three colonies went with the furniture on a Pickford's removal van, none escaped and they all survived.. It wouldn't be possible today.... health and safety issues!

Monday 19 October 2015

Things to do around Kilchoan - Sgurr Dhomhnuill highest point on the peninsula

Sgurr Dhomhnuill from Druim Garbh
Last month we had the finest little mountain in the west. Now we have the highest mountain, not in the west but on the peninsula, Sgurr Dhomhnuill You have to be an experienced hill walker for this one, its a long walk in and a long walk out almost completely free of footpaths, very rough under foot with steep scrambling so beware. Choose a dry, windless day like yesterday.
Sgurr Dhomhnuill is more " around Strontian" than Kilchoan, its an hour driving to the highest point on the road between Strontian and Polloch, you can park slightly off the road opposite the telephone mast. If you are elderly and slow like me prepare yourself  for eight to nine hours of very hard going.

Ben Nevis and Glencoe
The rewards are splendid. Yesterday the silence ( no wind) was only broken by rutting stags bellowing below us in Glen Scaddle. From the peak  there is a 360 degree panorama from Schiehallion to Ben Nevis then the peaks of Rum, closer to home the view of Ben Resipole is unfamiliar, the overall impression is of wild, wild country.

In Kirstie Shirra's Cicerone guide, " Scotland's Best Small Mountains" she describes the NW ridge of Sgurr Dhomhnuill as "steep" it is, very, very steep grass and rock, you have to track the foot prints of earlier climbers to find a
Ben Resipole, Loch Sunart and Loch Sheil
way up. We decided not to retrace our steps but to carry on down SE ridge to Druim Leac a Sgiathain. It was a good move, so was the tea and cake at the Ariundle Centre still open at 5.00 pm on Sunday.

Friday 16 October 2015

Italian egg layers - Ancona bantams arrive

These Ancona bantams are Scots / Italians.

Originally imported from Italy in the mid 19th century but bred in Fife for the last 50 years by Joe Stenhouse and his father before him. If all you want is eggs, no meat for the pot, then bantams, especially these are ideal

They don't take up much space, they are decorative, friendly and  great egg layers, Joe's strain does over 240  a year quite large white eggs and of course they eat half as much as large fowl.

So far these have been kept indoors to accustom them to their new housing then they'll be let out to range and rake about. I am told that they are friendly but a bit flighty so need to be approached and handled calmly and quietly.

Next job is to find or hatch an unrelated male to produce hatching eggs in the  Spring