Sunday, 27 December 2009

Santa brought me a canoe trolley and a nice bottle of malt+ the usual chox and sox etc
Merry Christmas........

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Loch Oich.

A couple of weekends back, a wee group of SOTPers, that's me William Wallace, Ossianic Tales, Pedrothebairn, and Johnnytheboy accompanied by a wee group of non SOTPers, My son Andy, grandson Josh, Don, Thomas and Ot's buddy Mel, had a weekend fishing and canoeing trip to Loch Oich. We are all members of the Central Branch of a club called the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland, and also subscribe to SOTP that's a forum/website called Song of the Paddle.

We arranged to meet at Dalwhinnie for a coffee then head up to the Oich from there.
On the way we stopped at Laggan Dam to look at the awesome spectacle of the overflow spouts as thay had had a lot of rain in the area. This feeds the River Spean, a popular river with kayakers, and you can see why.

After a brief blether and a few piccies we carried on through Spean Bridge to our log cabins at Loch Oich. After sorting out our rooms and gear myself Josh and Andy got stuck into making the supper. Nothing fancy, just a wee starter of Bruschetta, thats toasted hand cut bread rubbed with garlic, squishy tomato and olive oil, topped with Italian meats and cheese.
This was folowed by Lasagne Bolognese, French Fries of Maris Piper, thin cut and twice fried, and a layered salad. OT made a superb Lemon Merangue Pie which was devoured in minutes, then we all headed off to the bar. I cant remember much after that for some reason, must have been the Highland air.
Next morning I was up before all but Don, who was out fishing at first light, and got stuck into making a healthy breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding and a muesli skirly, toast and a pot or two of real Italian coffee.
After breakfast we heard that Don had already had a pike so got our fishing heads on.
Andy, Josh and I decided to head up the eastern part of the loch as there are some good pike holding features up there.
First thing we did was get a wee fire going. Josh paddled over to the island to try for some dry wood, but it wasnt any drier than that on the bank. The canoe is quite an old Pyranha made from royalex. My mate Phil kindly lent it to us for the weekend. Nice boat, very light and turns on a sixpence.

Lots o reek but no much heat but he eventually managed to get it lit, and soon we had a brew on.
This is my boat with a rod either side.

Pedrothebairn and Johnnytheboy in Pedro's Mobile Adventure, chucking lures around to no avail.

This is Meggy, my English Springer Spaniel, happiest when she's covered in mud and shivering with the cold.
This is a view of Loch Oich at sunset, with 40 minutes of paddling left.

Getting ready to head back to the cabin for a sauna and a shower.

Josh in his usual position, picking his nose when he should be paddling.

So we headed back to the cabin for a sauna and a swim. Meanwhile, Johnnytheboy had been busy making a huge pot of Chilli con Carne which we had with loaded potato skins, wraps, garlic bread, guacamole, salsa and soured cream. It was so good that I went back three times.
Then we went off the the bar. I have a recollection of a bottle of Havana Club in the wee small hours but its rather vague.
Next morning was horrible with rain, snow, sleet and avery other kind of weather thrown at us so no-one seemed very keen to get out fish except Don. Don is a man of the mountains, lochs and streams, and was totally unperturbed, and very well prepared for this. He had 3 pike for the weekend and was the only one to catch.
After a huge fry up, Andy, Josh and I decided to head for home, while the others were staying for another night.
A great weekend with top scran and the best company, hope we can do it again next year...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Scotch Bonnets in Scotland?

I planted 18 of these back in March of this year, never expecting much of a result. 2 months later in May I saw the first seedlings appear, 5 to be exact.
I gave 1 to a buddy, and kept the rest for myself. This one has about a dozen fruits, and once they go red/yellow I'll make chilli con carne calliente.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Milly and Meg have a canoe picnic.

Sandra and I have been on holiday for the last week. It's been spent mainly cutting firewood for our winter supply of fuel for the wood burning stove, tidying up our half acre garden, getting the chicken coop winterised etc etc.
Monday was such a nice day though, that we had go for a paddle, and maybe I could try for a pike....

This is a wee loch near Dunkeld. There's a small island in the south west corner so this seemed the best place to take the dogs, as they would'nt be able to wander off. Meg is our 10 year old English Springer Spaniel. Meg is very well behaved, unlike Milly, our 2 year old Basset Hound, she's absolutely bonkers.

I stood watching my rods/floats/baits not catching any pike while Sandra got a wee fire going.

Nothing like burger and onions cooked over an open fire in a proper old fashioned black iron frying pan.

Milly decides to patrol the shoreline and bark/howl/fart at anything that moves.

Well, I never caught a pike but it was a great day just the same.

I do catch the occasional pike though

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

White water rafting.

Last Saturday along with my son Andy I tried white water rafting for the first and not the last time. This was at the Linn of Tummel, a 2 1/2 mile stretch of grade 2 river finishing with a grade 4 18ft waterfall. The Canadian guide is right at the back and I'm just in front of her.
We never made it, and were swimming just a few seconds later.

Great fun...

Canoe pic.

This is Josh and I on step 5 of an 8 step dam.
We capsised at number 8 due to getting our paddling out of whack.
Good fun though.
I'll get back into my blogging when the cold winter nights come in.

Friday, 19 June 2009

I've been having lots of fun with the canoe this last few weeks. This pic was taken last night on the river South Esk between a wee town called Brechin, and the Bridge of Dun close to the Montrose Basin. There had been a lot of rain so the water was very high and fast. Very difficult to get decent pics on a canoe trip because no-one is very keen to bring camera's or cellphones in case they get wet. This part of the river has quite a few rapids and wiers, and also lots of hairpins and islands.

Great fun....

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


I finished the chicken coop/henhouse a week past Sunday and on the Monday, Sandra and I went to see a breeder to buy some point of lay hens.

These are called Light Sussex and cost just £10 each. They were much bigger than we expected, and have been laying 4-6 eggs per day between them. The eggs mostly have two yolks of a very deep orange colour and taste great. I have'nt let them out yet but over the next few weekends I'll let them out for a short while in the evening to see if they are happy to come back when it gets dark. Watch this space.............

Friday, 1 May 2009

Sunsets, Rainbows and Chickens.

I've been on holiday this week. Not for a rest but
to catch up on some projects, mainly the chicken
run. I started on the Wedensday by digging eight
eighteen inch deep holes. I then put in the posts with
concrete which I hand batched myself. Thursday
the concrete had set so I set about building the
compound. This has to be tight to the floor to keep
foxes and badgers out.

At this point I have hung the gate, and built the
three sides up with chicken wire. Still have to work
out how to do the front. I intend to have a double
stable type door and another mesh panel. I'll need
to resite the smoker. I'll need to start using the smoker.
Too much work and no play makes Jack
a dull boy.

Nice sunset from my front garden.

Looking out back and there was this nice part


Finally some leaves appearing on the beech trees.

Its going to be a good summer of hard work and hard play.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Canoe trailer project.

Myself and a few guys from the Paisley Pikers
Fishing Club have purchased Canadian Canoes
this year. The are many rivers in Scotland
suitable for open canoes and we will be doing
a few expeditions this summer through until
autumn and beyond. To do a river its a good
idea to have a trailer capable of carrying a
load of camping/fishing gear and anything up
to 6 canoes. I got this for the taking away.
Its an old caravan chassis, and formerly was
a towable holiday home for a family of four.

Not much to look at but great potential.

Here I have welded angled mild steel sections
to beef up the frame and give us some storage
space. A good mate gave it the treatment with
a wire brush and grinder.

Typically I give it a couple of coats of paint and
on comes the rain, but it was almost dry anyway
so no harm done.

Here I've made a start to timbering the floor and
sides, and fitted a replacement hitch as the other
one was beyond repair.
With a little help from friends I built the canoe
frame. It will take five sixteen foot canoes and
a whole lot of camping and fishing gear. Room for
another canoe on my roof rails if need be, and
more stowage space in the back of my estate car.
Cheers for now.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Plans for this growing season.

First proper post for a few months. The last couple of weekends have seen an improvement in the weather so I have made a start to the veggy plot. I now have 20 raised beds.

Shallots do'nt mind if its a wee bit cold.

This garlic was planted last October and should be ready about June. I have lots of veg started in small pots in the greenhouse including tomatoes, zuchini and peppers that will stay in there, and also some cabbage, beans, sweetcorn, fennel etc that will be transplanted into beds once they are established.

Other projects have included rebuilding an old Yamaha TT 600 Enduro motorcycle, converting a old race kart to an offroad buggy for my grandson, and converting a old caravan chassis to a trailer for transporting my logs etc, building a canoe rack to fit the trailer and lets not forget working 6 days and a couple of evenings a week. Sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in a day.....

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Canadian Canoe.

Inspired by Mungo's canoe trip into the wilderness
last year I decided to see what it's like for myself.
Sandra bought this for me as a Christmas present.
It's a wee bit too cold just now and some of the lochs
are still frozen, but if its not too windy I will definitely
try it out this weekend.
Have to practice my J stroke....I'll report back;-)