Life in the Highlands

Hello and thank you for looking at my Blog...i hope you enjoy my site. I'm pretty new to this but hope to keep it all updated with the progress of my garden. I've really enjoyed being able to start everything from scratch and the hard work has been worthwhile. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress too! Feel free to leave comments it's always nice to get feedback.

Friday, June 29, 2007

End of June 2007

Not had much chance to get at the garden really, with the weather we've been having and working away. There's always a little ray of sunshine though in that whilst working over the West Coast the last couple of weeks, I found myself on yet another canal, this time the Caledonian Canal based at Fort William. The hotel was situated right on Banavie locks or as it's known Neptunes staircase. I have to say it's one of the most impressive set of locks i've seen. It was even more impressive when a large vessel the size of the basin was working it's way down the staircase.

Unfortunately it rained after the first night in Fort William so i was only able to venture out briefly. The area is very nice and the people friendly. I really enjoyed my time working there and look forward to my return visit.

I was delighted to see the little steam train 'Lord of the Isles' puffing it's way across the swing bridge at Banavie on it's way to Mallaig. With a little toot of the whistle (you know the sound that only steam trains make) as it went across you couldn't help but smile. This is the route, of course, which was used in the Harry Potter railway and further up the line is the famous Glenfinnan viaduct used in the film for the Hogwarts express. During the summer months you can catch Hogwarts express and travel the same route, a pure delight for hardened Harry Potter fans.

Back over the East side again for the weekend, and just for a laugh, I joined some of the girls from work and went camping at Grantown On Spey camping site, now i've never been camping before and after borrowing a 2 man tent off i ventured. I was really surprised just how easy it was to put up the tent. The camp site was a marvel and i was really impressed with the layout and facilities at the site....the toilet and shower block were surreal in that it had piped music, was very warm and those fancy lights that turn on when you enter! Oh and i must point out it's one of the cleanest places i've been. One nights stay has completely converted me to the delights of camping...despite the incessant rain! I shared a pitch with a rather nice 67 year old retired German chap who seemed to be cycling the world....he was amazing and very helpful and friendly. I did have a bit of bother sorting out my air bed but eventually my German neighbour managed to suss out the problem, erm we hadn't put the plug in the other end, so once he sorted this out it was all inflated and ready.....erm for it to slowly deflate over night! All part of the fun!

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Blogger Owin & Irena said...

Neptune's staircase looks awesome. What a wonderful name. Congratulations on your first camping adventure. I have yet to try it myself preferring the comforts of home...and garden.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Thanks for your nice comments Irena. It is pretty awesome, but very pretty too. I too usually prefer my home comforts but was pleasantly surprised.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

The staircase does look wonderful! As for camping I can't say I share your delight! I love the great outdoors but do need a comfy bed at the end of the day! Good luck to you :-)

11:10 PM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

The canal looks pretty cool and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. Before you return to the garden I wanted to invite you to participate in a meme that's being passed around some of the gardening blogs. You can learn more about it at this link: Random Things Meme

7:31 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hi Ziggywig,I know what you mean about a steam trains's whistle, i get them going past my signal box every now and then and it putts the hairs up on the back of my neck when they go past at 60mph whistling over the crossing, it's fun to see the people at the crossing when they realise what is coming.
The air bed ritual is most definately part of our camping holidays.

Cheers Mark

12:48 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Thanks Chris...i could've done with a comfy bed when the air bed deflated...the grounds pretty hard.

Hi Kenneth, don't think i've done a meme before....hmmm's pretty hard to think of seven random things but will try my very best...thanks for tagging me.

Hi Mark, It's amazing how folk get excited at the site of a steam train. I can't believe i was outsmarted by an air bed! It was nice though to get back to nature...something soothing about the simplicity.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Hi Ziggy, That canal looks really interesting. I hadn't realized it was a lock until you explained about a large boat going through it. I watched huge barges going through two locks on the Mississippi and it took forever. I can't imagine how long it would take a vessel to get down Neptunes Staircase.

How very topical that you have the Harry Potter train on your blog. Soon the book and the movie will be coming out here and I {blushing} can hardly wait. As old as I am, I'm still a big fan of the books and movies. You are lucky to see the train and route it takes.

The camping sounds like fun. Did you share the tent with the German fellow? I don't quite know what "pitch" would mean. Anyway, the situation with the air mattress sounds like an "I Love Lucy" episode. Those showers seem like you were hardly "roughing it". That must have been quite nice. Now you are ready to go for a longer venture! Years back I camped but just never enjoyed it a whole lot. Of course that was 30 years ago and all those nice camping accessories that are available now hadn't been invented back then. I'm going to check out your link to the camping site now just to see where you were.

Thanks for the fun,

8:44 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Hi Alyssa, it seems to take ages for the boats to go through the locks. There's what the locals call 'the posh boat' which looks like a small passengerliner that travels the length of the canal starting at passed through the staircase going toward Inverness on Thursday whilst i was at lunch in the pub it was pretty impressive but I gather is really expensive.

Thankfully had my own tent but just shared the pitch...a pitch is a designated bit of ground for the tent and usually there is only one tent per pitch but as he had a small tent and my crowd had a big tent i shared his pitch and put my tent up next to the German gents....had to laugh at the thoughth of sharing his tent but thankfully was in my own wee pod although he did snore all night so it felt that he was in the same tent at times.

I must admit the 'showers' were space age and not camping at all.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Lifecruiser said...

Ah..... We just LOVE, no ADORE Scotland! We've been there twice and hope to go there once again in the future.

...and we've been on that Harry Potter train from Fort William to Mallaig, going over the Glenfinnan viaduct - a fantastic experience that I recommend anyone!

I even phoned my brother in law - who loves steam trains - from the train and let him hear when it whistled - just to tease him of course... *giggles*

The Scottish people seems to be so very kind and polite and NICE.

I'll soon write some blog posts about our trips to Scotland, showing off our photos too.

Of course, the highlands is our favorite place - though it's tough to hear what people say sometimes with the dialect! *giggles*

(We're Swedes, living in Stockholm, Sweden)

3:09 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Thanks Lifecruiser...had a peek at your blog and loved your pics of Scotland. Hope to see you back in the Highlands soon.

8:27 PM  

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