Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Autumn Gold on Speyside - Where to see the colours?

I collected these leaves and let the sun illuminate them in the Alice Littler Park, Aberlour in the heart of Speyside. I love walking by the River Spey by the river on this part of the Speyside Way. I always see locals and visitors alike walking their dogs or playing with their children in the park. 

Most of our historic monuments and castles are open until the end of October and this includes the stunning Elgin Cathedral. The views from the tower in autumn show how many beautiful trees there are in Cooper Park and all the way down to Lossiemouth.
After a day of walking full of history and colour, it is maybe time for a wee dram of Malt Whisky - now what to choose - a 12 or 15 or 18 year old Glenlivet, Aberlour or Balvenie? You might prefer a local beer of which we have many from the Cairngorms Brewery as well as even more local ones. Anyone for a Black Gold or a Wild Cat? Steve is always happy to advise on Beer or Whisky and offer a wee dram at Bluefolds cottages.


Mist rising in the glen is a symbol of autumn on Speyside The mist is rising here from Ben Rinnes close to the walker's car park for the climb up the Ben. As you drive through the area, another favourite spot to stop and enjoy the colours is at the Craigellachie bridge, built by Thomas Telford in 1814. It is the oldest surviving cast iron bridge in Scotland. Its design has allowed it to withstand the many floods on the Spey and is an icon of the area.
Driving from Glenlivet through the Cairngorms National Park can take you to Loch and Eilean with stunning views to the Cairngorm mountains and a chance to walk round the Loch enjoying the autumn tints. October is one of my favourite months to get out and about in the Cairngorms and Speyside. Why not book a holiday at Bluefolds this autumn?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Late Summer in Glenlivet - What to do?

Glenlivet to the Ladder Hills
Ladder Hills by Scalan
We have had fabulous weather this week which has been much enjoyed by our visitors to Bluefolds in fact it has been too hot, but we are not complaining just looking for more. Driving around Glenlivet and the Cairngorms National Park has shown that lots of visitors from all over Europe and many from further afield are now enjoying spending time in this stunning area of Scotland. I lost count of the number of cars I saw from Continental Europe who are able to take advantage of the better exchange rate at present. I went in search of heather and I found it on the Ladder Hills; on Aanside and all the way to Cairngorm Mountain through the National Park. There are many great walks on the Glenlivet Estate. We have the walk booklet with details of where to park and the exact routes in each of the cottages. Find Late Availability at Bluefolds I love to walk by the River Livet and there are a choice of walks. Walk 3 starts from the Allanreid car park (near Tomnavulin) and is a low level one along the banks of the River with some walking over moorland. It is a 6 mile circular walk with great views to the Ladder Hills. The Malcolm Gillespie Smugglers Trail in the Braes of Glenlivet starts from Chapeltown and is also circular over the hills for 6 1/2 miles. The Glen Brown walk through forest, farm and hill track is a shorter 4 1/2 mile walk with views down Strath Avon and up Glen Brown and starts from the White Bridge Car Park. All the walks have boards at the start of them showing the routes.  Find more information about these fantastic walks on The Glenlivet Estate

Driving along Aanside

Ready for a hill walk on the Glen Brown Circuit.

Skies and Heather

Cairngorm Mountain near the mountain garden

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Dufftown Highland Games 30 July 2016

 Getting her steps photographed
Tossing the Caber
Massed Pipe Bands
Tug of War
Young People Dancing
Opening Ceremony
Highland games are a great chance to share and learn about Highland culture. We are lucky to have Highland Games throughout the summer starting with the Highland Games and Country Fair at Gordon Castle in the middle of May. We have just had the Tomintoul Highland Games held on the 3rd Saturday in July and this weekend we can enjoy the Dufftown Highland Games which is on the last Saturday in July and the Aberlour Highland Games follow on the first Saturday in August. This is a great day out for the family. I try to attend every year and am sad if I miss a year! Dufftown usually has 9 Pipe Bands from the local area which makes a very impressive sound in the arena. The Games start at 1030 with dancing and the young heavies taking part in the morning along with the start of the hill race up Ben Rinnes. At 1 p.m. the Massed Pipe Bands march from the Dufftown Tower to the field and perform several times during the afternoon with a final performance marching t from the Dufftown Tower between 6 p.m. and 6.45 p.m. The Opening ceremony is at 1.30 p.m. followed by the Heavy and Light events including the amazing Tossing the Caber and a firm favourite - Tug of War. There are children's races and Overseas races as well.

Friday, 1 July 2016

What a recent Guest thinks about Dronach cottage

This is one of many reviews for the cottage on Airbnb.
Dronach cottage is one of four cottages at the Bluefolds Cottages complex: They are picturesque stone cottages in a remote spot near the Glenlivet distillery. Our communication with Elizabeth was perfect and our interaction with her husband Steve at the cottage was wonderful. Detailed instructions are provided to find the place (although not complicated). We arrived in the rain on our bicycles and Steve was there to greet us with a roaring fire. Too wet and tired to travel the 10 miles to the nearest grocery store, Steve did a small shop for us to get us through until the next day. Our cottage was spacious, clean, warm, and everything worked. The coal driven stove is brilliant and easy to keep going. The views of the hills towards the Cairngorms is spectacular. We would highly recommend this spot for a secluded, quiet, and unique stay in the area. There is a grocery store in Dufftown 10 miles away as well as a quaint pub a few miles down the road, providing good meals (and drink). Steve checked in on us daily and provided a private whisky tasting. He is extremely knowledgeable and the experience was a real highlight of our stay. We loved our stay! Elizabeth Response from Elizabeth: Thank you for your lovely review. Enjoy the rest of your cycling round Scotland. June 2016

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lecht Mine, Glenlivet

Lecht Mine from the Car Park
Across the Glenlivet Estate there is a range of historic sites and buildings waiting to be explored.  The Crown Estate Glenlivet
featured the Lecht mine in their Winter newsletter reprinted here. The mine is easily reached by a pleasant short walk from the car park on the Lecht road.


The Lecht mine

• Iron ore was first mined at the Lecht in 1730 by York Buildings Company of London. The mine was abandoned in 1737 due to substantial losses.

• The mined ore was transported on horseback across the Avon at the Fordmouth-Lynachork ford, and then over the Dorback Hills to Nethy Bridge. Wood from the Abernethy Forest was used to smelt it down into “Strathdoun (Strathavon) pigs”.

• The mine was re-opened in 1841 by the Duke of Richmond as a manganese mine, local stories tell that the Minister of Corgarff had to lend his bull to help drag the new heavy rollers over the Lecht Pass. However following the importation of manganese ore from Russia, the price fell from £8 per ton to an uneconomical £3 per ton, and the mine was closed for a final time in 1846.

• At the peak of activity over 60 men and boys worked at the mine and it was, and still is, the largest manganese mine ever worked in Scotland.

Lecht Mine building still standing - last used 1846
• In 1863 there was nearly a reprieve for the old mine when samples of iron ore were sent to James Morrison, Manager of the Ferryhill Iron Works, Co Durham, for assessment. He would gladly have taken 50,000 tons per annum, and all that was needed to secure viability for the re-opening of the mine was a railway link to Tomintoul, but in that time of economic retrenchment no-one could be found to back the proposed iron ore railway.

• The foundations of some other buildings can still be seen, but only the mine building has survived as it was very solidly built to carry the water wheel and heavy machinery.

• The mine building was restored and reroofed and interpretation about the mine workings installed in a joint project between The Crown Estate and Moray Council.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Sunny Winter

Bluefolds on the hillside below Ben Rinnes
Beautifully lit trees in Glenlivet
Looking west across frozen Loch Droma

Sunset north of Ullapool looking across Loch Broom


It is hard to believe that we are already in the 2nd month of 2012. Where did January go? I am glad to say that the weather, apart from some high winds, has been much milder and dryer and sunnier than for the last 2 winters. The last few days although very cold, has been very sunny and it has tempted me to don my outdoor clothes and walk in Glenlivet and then further a field with a friend over to  Ullapool on the west coast. 
 I have been watching on the TV about David Hockney's new Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London which is all to do with new ways of taking photos and painting and how to see more in the landscapes that we take for granted on a daily basis. I am certainly trying to be more observant as I drive around Scotland. It is lovely to be able to drive around and enjoy the stunning winter light.