Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lochearnhead holiday experience -fishing, wildlife, sheep shearing, highland games, geneology, water sports and baking!

Rare photo of Fraser and a trout.

Never a dull moment at Briar Cottages in Lochearnhead. Danny, a guest fishing off our jetty, was delighted when he turned around to witness another guest with a fish in his mouth waddling up the stairs to our loch garden.  No not a nutter.. it was an otter! 

July saw the annual sheep shearing contest and highland games in the Lochearnhead games field. Local and international shearers perform on stage picking up points for accuracy and efficiency against a ticking clock with a panel of global judges watching their every move.

We had great fun at the Highland Games witnessing open sports and invitation heavyweight events, highland dancers, a pipe band, novelty stalls and listening to the hugely talented folk band Pure Malt in the beer tent. We were lucky to have a McLaren staying in the cottage. Turned out his ancestors were linked to the inhabitants of Briar Cottages from around the 1790's.  McLarens take note...your clan will welcome you with open arms to their hospitality tent at the games, ask you to join in the clan march and invite your assistance in the clan tug of war. The chief rallies his clan with bagpipes the next day (Sunday) at the top of Creag an Tuirc' or (Rock of the Boar) in Balquhidder. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the summit. The McGregor clan also march and have a hospitality tent. McGregor’s were the first to hold title to Briar Cottages (known then as Easter Achraw) before it was forfeited to the titled Breadalbane Campbells after the Jacobite rebellion.

                                                                                                         The scouts have been out in full force entering the highland games events and adding colour to Loch Earn with their sailing and kayaking adventures. The scouts have a base in the old Lochearnhead railway station.

Our visiting baby mallards are no longer fluffy ducklings. 6 of them still come to feed on wild bird seed with their mum in our loch garden, however, they are more like teenagers now with their wings not quite fully formed.
                                                                                                        This weekend, 14th August,  brings Wake Scot to Lochearnhead where willing wake boarders of all ages and abilities will enter the competition based in front of the Clachan Cottage Hotel. On the 28th August the Annual BLS Horticultural show comes to Lochearnhead village. The local talent from three neighbouring villages will be out in full force showing off their gladioli, rhubarb, wholemeal loaves, scones, jam tarts, handicrafts, photos, paintings and more. There are 88 different categories to enter. The event takes place from 2-4pm with prizes awarded around 3.30pm. No shame if you only come to look and have a cup of tea (as I will be doing). After all its only £1 entry including the tea!  I did grow my own potatoes and herbs at Briar Cottages this year but I would say that the results are more luck than talent. Anyone staying at Little Briar cottage can pick the blackcurrents, gooseberry's and cherries that grow behind it. They just seem to appear so I can't take any credit for them either.
Our recent visitors have been out every day on the loch with water-skis, their motor boat, ringo, banana and more. Launching and mooring a small boat is all inclusive here. If you fancy a go but don’t have the equipment or experience you can go 150 metres along the road and speak to the professionals at Active Scotland. There is a second water sports facility 700 meters away beside the Lochearnhead cafe where they make yummy home made pizzas to order.

 I will show you pictures of the building of our new luxury holiday cottage in my next blog. It is well under way. In fact the stone cladding is scheduled for this Friday....