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
"Hello Boys and Girls, are ye all enjoyin' yersel?"
No doubt you are wondering if I have had too much of the golden nectar but no, here in Strachur, as in every other village in Scotland, we are in the middle of Pantomime rehearsals. Pantomime is a peculiarly British thing and I was very taken aback recently when a couple who were staying with us from Texas announced that their school regularly performed a "Pantomime". Further discussion revealed that their version of "Panto" was completely different from ours - it was in fact a "mime" - whereas our Scottish pantos are full of audience participation - men dressed up as women, women dressed up as men - ludicrous story lines and everyone ending up happy ever after. It is usually - if done well - a terrific 2 hours of fun for all the family and I know from many experiences the cast enjoy the whole crazy production every bit as much as the audience.
The Strachur Panto is a very new phenomenon in the village and this will be out fourth newly-written offering. Our audiences are growing by the year and when it comes to the actual performance we have all sorts of locals helping with backstage work, teas, tickets - in fact anything that needs doing gets done by some willing helper - a real community project! Of course when its all over the Director/Producer (myself) needs to go and lie down for a fortnight - it is an extremely exhausting, but very rewarding experience. It's the little things that make it all worthwhile, the smiles on the faces of the old folks from surrounding residential homes who enjoy being among the children and singing their hearts out, or the children skipping out of the hall singing some tune or other they've learned during the performance, and asking their parents if they can come back next week! If you haven't tried it you're missing out - it's great to act like a big kid again and get away with it!
On the wildlife front, the new Highland Pony foal Tess with her mum Rhona, continues to grow and thrive. Getting ever so curious these days she will almost let me pat her but not quite yet - maybe by next spring, when she'll be a yearling.
It's amazing what lands on our bird table, this chappie had a terrible time trying to get to the food under the canopy - he was just too big but he gave it a good try anyway. I also caught a cat sitting there one day and managed to capture it on camera - I hope the photograph turns out. A pair of Goldfinches were spotted just two days ago feeding from the station at the back - I've never seen them here outside mid summer but until today it has been very mild, I guess that's the reason.
Several deer have been wandering about the cottage - not at all concerned about us watching them watching us - they are delightful. The weather has turned very cold indeed over the last 24hours and I shall have to get a "jildy" on to plant the last few bulbs before the ground completely feezes over. December usually changes from being very cold and crisp to very mild and damp and this continues until January when you really know it's winter - then we look forward to Spring.
May we at Burnside Cottage, take this opportunity to wish you all, wherever you are, the very best of the Festive Season and may 1999 be your happiest year yet.
"Where the magnificence of the scenery is matched only by the beauty of visiting wildlife."
Text and photographs © Pamela Mackinnon.