From the West coast
A fascinating ten-year archive of letters from one
the most beautiful parts of Scotland,
its people, places, landscape and wildlife.
"Strachur is a small, sleepy, sprawling West Highland village spread along the north eastern shore of Loch Fyne - the longest sea loch in Scotland. This is a very dramatic and beautiful part of Scotland, full of ancient history, magnificent forests and wildlife..."
Letters from Argyll
- September '98 Introduction
- October '98 Half Hung Archie
- November '98 Magnus Barelegs
- December '98 Pantomime
- January '99 Storms and Gardens
- February '99 Campbells and midges
- March '99 Macleans and birdsong
- April '99 Loch Eck and Spring
- May/June '99 Dunoon and Squirrels
- Summer '99 Glasgow
- Autumn '99 Colour and Rowans
- Winter '00 Siskins and Finches
- Spring/summer '00 Puck's Glen
- Autumn '00 Macbeth and a Squirrel
- Spring 2001 Town and Country
- Summer 2001 From Scotia to Dunadd
- Winter 2001 Bridge over the Atlantic
- Summer 2002 Cowal and 3 Squirrels
- Autumn 2002 Smiddy and Stones
- Winter 2002 Bagpipes, deer and jays.
- Spring 2003 Rest and Be Thankful.
- Summer 2003 3 lochs and a castle
- Autumn 2003 A Beaut of an Isle
- Winter 2003 The bonnie banks
- Spring 2004 The Hollow Mountain
- Summer 2004 Kintyre Peninsula 1
- Autumn 2004 Kintyre Peninsula 2
- Winter 2004 Arrochar Gateway to Argyll
- Spring 2005 A Walker's Paradise
- Summer 2005 Scotland in Miniature
- Autumn 2005 Skye - The Misty Isle
- Winter 2005 Across the Water
- Spring 2006 The Crossroads of Scotland
- Summer 2006 Calling all seafarers
- Autumn 2006 A day out in the rain
- Winter 2006 A Winter's Day Out
- Spring 2007 A Favourite Place
- Summer 2007 Bonnie Galloway
- Autumn 2007 Port Appin
- Winter 2007 Loch Fyne and a Fine Dram!
- Spring 2008 Snow mountains and Spring!
- Summer 2008 A Walk in the Park
Town and Country
"It's like dae'in a washin', makin' a pot o' soup and gawin tae Paisley, aw in wan day!"
I heard this phrase just a few weeks ago and knew you'd be tickled. Put simply, it means, of course, "I've had a busy day" and dates from the latter half of the last century when it would take a wife all day to do all of these chores. It also reminded me of one of the things I miss about Glasgow - the patter - and sadly, even that's dying out as Glasgow becomes more and more a very modern, cosmopolitan city.
However, whenever I get pangs for my home town, I just have to look out of any window in the cottage and gaze at this...
No matter the time of year (these were taken just a few weeks ago) or the weather, the scene is constantly changing and I've lived here for seven years now. As you can see the lambs are arriving by the day - in their two's and three's and they become very inquisitive within a matter of days.
Of course it's not the only lovely view in Strachur, or indeed the West of Scotland but this part of the world is particularly stunning. Many of our guests at Burnside Cottage exclaim that this is what they expect Scotland to look like and even more amazed that it's only an hour and ten minutes from Glasgow Airport.
For those of you who like to take things at an easier pace and make a base from which to explore there are a few self-catering opportunities in Strachur. Strachur Estate, owned by the writer and journalist Sir Charles Maclean, has four lovely traditional, completely detached stone cottages which can be rented by the week. They are all in different parts of the village and accommodate groups of all sizes. You can be fairly central in Gate Lodge or Laurel Bank - situated just off the main road, or completely peaceful in Garden Cottage surrounded by quiet parkland, or Glen Cottage set in grazing pasture. From Strachur you can visit most of the areas of interest on the west coast within an hour or two's drive, returning at your leisure to your cottage. It really is a very relaxing way to spend a week.
I have to apologise at this stage for the lateness of this letter. I had intended to write a couple of months ago and I especially wanted to tell you about Kilmartin Glen which is a very important place in ancient Scottish history, but due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak I was unable to access the area for photographs. I would like to assure you that there has been no disease north of Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders but the farmers hereabouts have taken every precaution - and wisely too. I am reliably informed by my friends who are sheep farmers that they expect all restrictions to be lifted very soon indeed and hopefully by the middle of May we can get back to normal, I'll make that journey to Kilmartin and tell you all about it in the not too distant future.
On the cottage front may I present one of my pruning aids... He and wife and child have eaten their way through most of my prize plants this winter and delightful as they are to observe I am taking steps to make the garden deer proof. I have recently bought some unusual plants for my garden project and I am sure the deer would make short work of them as they seem to especially enjoy the same plants I hold very dear but of course for different reasons!!! I also managed to capture one of the cock pheasants near the house. The hen pheasants are a great asset to the garden. They arrive every day and spend some time poking about under the bird house cleaning up all spillage so nothing is ever wasted but their colouring is so camouflaged that a photograph would be near impossible.
Spring is very late this year. We have had the most marvellous weather - despite what the BBC weather reports might lead you to believe. January, February and March were very dry and very sunny but of course we've had lots of frost overnight and so plants are just now beginning to bloom but the trees are still so bare. However, the good thing is the midges are not out yet and while I've been writing the much needed rain has stopped, the sky is blue and I've so many jobs to do around the house and the garden I'd better start. Honestly, its like dae'in a washin', makin a pot o' soup an...!!!
"Where the magnificence of the scenery is matched only by the beauty of visiting wildlife."
Text and photographs © Pamela Mackinnon.