Spring is springing by fast! In the Highlands we are behind the rest of the UK in terms of plants and our daffodils are just out. The birds are singing in the trees and the squirrels are very active. We have been lucky to have had some fantastic sunny days recently - notably the warmest place in the UK on a couple of days!
As the area is great for mountain and road biking, we have installed a secure bike store that will take up to four bikes for our guests exclusive use. It's being put to the test by our guests this week. Soon to be added is a BBQ, in anticipation of some good summer weather.
The local attractions have all opened their doors, one of our favourites is the Highland Folk Museum which is an open air museum that shows highland life through the ages. It was used as a set for the series Outlander. You can experience the smokey peat fire of an 1800s black house and be shouted out by the schoolmaster in the Victorian schoolroom!
Copyright Highland Folk Museum
Our regular squirrel feasting on peanuts outside the Apartment.
January ended with the sled dog rally in Glenmore and despite the generally poor snow cover this year, the white stuff did make an appearance for them. It's an amazing sight to see the dogs hurling along with the sleds.
The weather in general has been cool and kind - with some stunning blue skies and sunshine that makes you feel that spring is in the air. We spotted some snowdrops by Cawdor Castle recently which reinforced the feeling. Coal tits and Great tits are starting to sing in the morning and we have also had visiting male and female Brambling in the garden.
February is busy with events in the area with Groove Cairngorm music festival and the North Hop food and beer festival in Aviemore, plenty to keep us occupied!
After a mild early December, snow arrived to welcome our first visitors. They had a 'magical' time at the apartment and enjoyed a horse and carriage ride courtesy of Carrbridge Carriages. Our second set of visitors also managed to get in some snowsports on Cairngorm. before the milder weather set in. We then had another snowfall, this one quite heavy. The photos below show the transformation of the pinewoods opposite the apartment over a couple of days.
So of course we just had to take advantage of the snow sports and walking in the snow - here are a few shots of the great weather we had before the melt set in. We are hoping that we have more snow before our next visitors arrive!
Thanks to Alice Buttress, Squirrel is now in place!
The weather has been very mild which has meant that the walking, golfing and biking opportunities have been great. Not so good for the ski season, although we have had a few snow showers today, so hopefully it won't be long until the slopes are open.
The red squirrels have been very active in the garden recently, stealing nuts from our neighbours and burying them in the lawn for harder times. Waxwings are still present in the village and in huge numbers in nearby Aviemore. Large flocks of Fieldfare and Redwings are making short work of the rowan berries.
We are very excited to welcome our first visitors. The last renovation job of pointing the stonework was completed by Peter Gemmell and the Christmas decorations are up!
Wishing everyone who worked on the project a huge thanks. Here's to a happy and healthy 2017 and best wishes for the festive season.
With a little help from the other half, we finally finished the renovation and are ready for business. The photos have been uploaded on www.carrbridgeselfcatering.com and we are now listed on Airbnb and holidaylettings.com. Looking forward to welcoming visitors. The photo above is a panorama but hopefully it gives a decent impression of the layout.
We are now well into autumn and have been astounded by the large thrush flocks that have been feeding on the rowan berries at the back of the apartment - some flocks had over 100 birds. There have also been waxwings in the village, beautiful visitors. We have had the first snow on Cairngorm and hope this bodes well for the ski and snowboard season, but the weather has been remarkably dry and mild throughout October. Long may it continue :-)
After weeks of warm sunshine and minimal rain, Autumn has finally arrived in the last week with bronze and golden colours everywhere. Talking of golden - the Golden Spurtle competition was held in the village this month. This is the WORLD porridge making competition that attracts competitors from far and wide who are tasked with making both a traditional porridge (not too much salt!) and a innovative speciality dish. This years winners were an American and a Norwegian - it was a great event that included a whisky tasting and we all had a chance to taste the porridge entries.
2016 winners - Photo Fergus Thom
We have also been busy with the apartment renovation - carpets and flooring have been laid, oak doors fitted and the oak furniture has been delivered. Apart from some snagging, we just have the kitchen left to complete so should be on track for opening in December. Some sneak preview photos below (in panorama mode so excuse the seemingly strange shape rooms!)
What a busy month it has been - both at Squirrel Apartment and in the area.
Carrbridge hosted the annual Carve Carrbridge competition, Grantown-on-Spey had their Highland Games followed by MotorMania, Thunder in the Glens (the Harley Davidson Weekend) rode out from Aviemore and Forest Fest took place at the Highland Folk Museum. Next month we are looking forward to the World Porridge Championship in Carrbridge!
Nature wise - fungi is still producing well - an amazing display that has continued with Giant Puffballs (thanks Ian Ford), Ceps and lots of other inedibles including Angels Wings. Heath Cudweed has been flowering along with Creeping Ladies Tresses and the Blaeberries have had a very long season. We picked 3lb last week! The Crested Tits are very vocal in the woods and we have heard some rumours of migrants in the West - you never know. We have a lovely addition to the wood opposite, courtesy of Alice Buttress of http://www.carrbridgestudios.com/artistsstudio.htm. A lovely place to sit and listen to the birds or to watch the Aurora at night (hopefully!).
Believe it or not, we have found time to continue with the renovation of the apartment. Thanks to some very good tradesmen, including Stefano the plasterer (https://www.facebook.com/Get-Plastered-416770178491234/) Graham and the boys at MacPherson Electrical Ltd and Norscot for our new front door, we are getting there. Most of the apartment is decorated and we should have the flooring laid by the end of the month. Our official opening is getting closer - very exciting :-)
A very exciting week as have emptied the apartment of everything (the guy at the dump thought I was mad throwing so many carpets out!) and the renovation has started. Bedrooms first, back to the bare bones for decoration. We have also started sourcing local goods for the apartment and Doug at http://www.woodsign.co.uk/ has created two great signs for the apartment. The door sign is shown below.
The first blog to keep you up to date with what is going on in the area and provide you with updates as to the renovation of the Apartment, which is due to start at the end of the month.
While we are waiting to start, we have been out looking at the amazing wildflowers that are appearing in the park. The wintergreens are all out and the orchids are displaying well.