A lovely & memorable recent event for me was accompanying Ruth, one of my twin daughters', up to the highlands of Scotland as she pursued a job at the Torridon Hotel. York to Torridon came out at 435 miles on the satnav ... no minor road trip, but hey it was good fun and always good to natter to my daughter so the time flew and before we knew it we'd made Inverness before nightfall and after turning down £85 for a single room each at Premier Inn (that's outrageous isn't it??) we found a decent guesthouse next door for half the price with sky tv and a full Scottish breakfast thrown in!
The drive from Inverness across to Loch Torridon was truly spectacular. Ruth was amazed at how empty the roads are up here and how little of the land is given over to human habitation. This was the first time I'd been up this far North in the Wintertime and although bleak the sight of so much snow o the mountains made the place look otherworldly to me.
Ok, first off this was not a time to be indulging in my binocs and camera but from the car I did have a few flocks of White Fronted Geese in fields and in the air, a couple of Red Kites, many many Buzzards and several Hooded Crows (always good for the year list!). The weather and light was good during the drive to Torridon and we stopped off by the side of Loch a Chroisg to take a few pics - the air was very still and as you can see the surface of the loch like a mirror ...
and here's my daughter and one of her car at the same location
A bit further on, rounding a bend and we were looking down the valley towards Loch Torridon itself ......
This is the hotel where Ruth had been offered a job and where I left her a few hours later to catch the train back to York and where the very next day she decided it wasn't the place for her. Can't say I blame her, although I was wowed by the scenery its very remote, the hotel and job was not all it was cracked up to be and who wants travel all that way only to find out that you have to share a room! Good call I say and anyway she's already secured a better job.
Just the one bird pic from this adventure ... a lovely, if slightly out of focus Bullfinch feeding right outside the hotel accommodation block. I had a couple of these in my garden the other day ... straight after I'd put some different seed in the feeders (RSPB premium ..... choosy these Bullfinches!)
My train journey back from Inverness to York was truly awesome .... bang on 6 hrs but straight through and the route was spectacular, especially going through the Drumochter Pass where the train flushed many Red Grouse. I had 4 Red Kites somewhere nr Allen Water, Whooper Swans and Slavonian Grebe on a yet to be identified loch nr Aviemore, several hundred White Fronted Geese nr Gleneagles and I stopped counting Buzzards when I got past 30!