Posts from August 2011

Conic Hill and Loch Lomond wildlife

Last evening I had a lovely walk up Conic Hill on the eastern side of Loch Lomond. A quick midweek blast of exercise, some fresh air and a good opportunity to catch up on chat with friends. As summer winds down it is now getting dark around 9 o'clock but the trip up Conic is short steep hike from the Balmaha car park, ideal if you've got a spare hour or two. Last week we walked up as a family in glorious sunshine with a picnic so took ages longer and spent a decent amount of time enjoying the immense views in every direction. On the way down yesterday we met a few local coos, lovely large bulky Highland Cattle, a perfect Scottish scene.

Highland cattle are of course a domestic breed but the goats I saw on my previous lochside walk up near the north end of the loch are feral, there seems to be quite a healthy thriving population and are a common sight for walkers on the West Highland Way.

The next photo was taken rather quickly of an unknown creature in the water. It took a bit of time to realise we were watching a mink swimming just off shore carrying dead prey which appeared to be only slightly smaller than the mink itself. After swimming, the mink scampered across the beach and headed behind rocks to better cover. American mink have no natural predators, save man, in this country and are a result of the generations following escapees from mink farms as far back as the 1920s. The mink population have become a nuisance in parts but I was intrigued to watch it as I've never previously seen one.

And finally, has anyone any knowledge what this skeleton is from? Photographed just north of Inversnaid on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond. I spotted it when walking day 3 of the West Highland Way. It seemed far too pristine to be real. Any ideas folks?


... has been fairly rapid during the long days of a Scottish summer. Since pouring the floor slabs the timber frame has gone up in a matter of weeks, with work now starting on building up the old dairy's stone walls another 400mm to roof eaves level so our guests will have plenty of headroom upstairs!

Construction design is similar to the house, using an insulated timber frame clad with woodfibre board on the outside for extra insulation and to reduce thermal bridging. This keeps the wind out and, with the help of fancy tapes and membranes on the inside, the heat in. Heating is to be from a ground source heat pump and solar thermal panels, with solar PV offsetting electricity use. Inside we just have underfloor heating on the ground floor which will keep things cosy during the chilly winter months!

Over the next couple of months we should see the roof windows in and the roofs slated, then hopefully, the windows and doors will have have arrive so the cottages can be wind and watertight before the cooler and wetter months...roll on Autumn!

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