Sunday, 21 March 2010


Last week we enjoyed a few days in Strathpeffer (Strath of the River Peffery) . This pretty village owes it's existence to the discovery in the 19th century of mineral wells. The village became very popular and Hotels were built to house the rich and famous who visited for the season. The pump room would have provided curative waters in various ways. In the afternoon visitors may have enjoyed excursions by horse drawn carriage, or play tennis or croquet or stroll in the pavilion gardens.
Click on pictures for more details.
Below is the Ben Wyvis Hotel where we stayed, it was once a Victorian country house and contains many original features.

These shots are of the lovely countryside around the village.

Set amongst the trees is Castle Leod, built in the 16th century it is a fine example of a Scottish tower house. It was the seat of the Clan Mackenzie.

This is The Eagle Stone, carved by the picts. If you enlarge the picture you may be able to make out the carving of an eagle beneath a horseshoe complete with nail holes. No one is sure of the meaning of these stones. There are many fine examples in this part of Scotland.

The Spa Pavilion where visitors would have enjoyed concerts. The recently restored building is well used today for many forms of entertainment.

One of many churches in the village, this one is the Free Church of Scotland.

The impressive Highland Hotel

An example of the pretty houses
found in the village.

One of my favourites.

Saturday, 13 March 2010


We have been lucky enough to enjoy some lovely sunny days, so I took the dogs and my camera and headed to Spynie to visit the old churchyard.
I love this style which leads into the church yard.
Click on pictures for more detail.
Jarvis and Bryan enjoying themselves and Spynie Palace in the background.
Look at the amount of work on this old moss covered stone.

Spynie Palace, one time fortified home of the bishops of Moray. Where these cattle roam was a 10 acre walled garden which provided fruit, vegetables and herbs
I will show you more of Spynie Palace later.
This is all that remains of the little church that once stood in Spynie church yard. The plaque below records the building of a new church a few miles away, still known as Spynie Church.

After spending time looking at the old tomb stones we set off on a lovely walk that begins outside the church yard.
The beech trees form a tunnel over the lane. It is very pretty in spring when the new leaves on on the trees and flowers decorate the banks.

Looking down the lane from the brow of the hill. Easy going down, good exercise on the way back up.

A view over the fields to the still snowclad hills.

Beech woods on the hill of Spynie

The lads posing by an ordnance survey marker., they don't think much to stopping.
Notice the bored looks

Ancient and modern. I bet the men who had to produce food from the Palace garden would have been glad of this modern tractor.

Hazel catkins show that spring is on the way.

The drive up to Spynie House with a carpet of snowdrops.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


A bright day so we decided to visit Brodie Castle and have a walk round the lake and visit the shrubbery garden. There was still ice on most of the lake, but around the edge I noticed spikes of iris coming through
Click on pictures to enlarge them
I like the reflections in this shot. The duck were sliding about on the ice in their attempt to get to the lake side in case we had food for them. over
The dogs lead the way.

More reflections. In the summer we often see fish resting in this shallow pool.

I have to confess to being a bit of a tree hugger. I love this gnarled old oak tree.

I have no idea what this little tree is but it has some strange little yellow buds opening. If any of the gardeners out there have any idea what it is I would love to know.

Another shot of the mystery tree.

Soft, furry, silver buds breaking through on a willow tree.

Brodie Castle taken from the garden.