Gerard and I have just arrived back from a short trip to the Scottish Highlands… apologies therefore that this week’s blog is a day late. I was so busy enjoying the delights of the Cairngorms, Aviemore and Kingussie, that I didn’t have time to write this week’s installment until our return to Hampshire on Wednesday evening.
One of our reasons for a Highland “fling” was that our great friends, David and Katie Young, who own the charming restaurant with rooms, The Cross at Kingussie, http://www.thecross.co.uk/ , have been inviting us and we have been promising, for so many years to visit them and for various reasons and pressures of time, we have never managed to until now, thus we organized a trip way back last year and as an added incentive to ensure we were able to be there, Gerard hosted an intimate, informal wine event with them too.
We had a super couple of days with them and were so well looked after and one of the highlights of the trip, besides just spending a fun time with Katie, David and family was a wildlife adventure that they had thoughtfully organized for us all…..an expert guide, Malcolm O’Reilly of ARC Guiding, http://www.arcguiding.com/ ,took us all on a half day outing across and beside the Lochs and we saw a variety of wild life at close proximity and coupled with his expertise, his passion and his love for all things wild, we had a great time.
We were hoping to see ptarmigan, mountain hare, snow bunting, capercaillie, (I think they look a bit like a turkey with a peacock type tail) crested tits, (we heard them, but they were too shy to show themselves) crossbill and eagles, to name just a few. We didn’t manage to see some of those, but we did find Hooper swans, all sorts of varieties of ducks, including Golden Eye, (sounds like they should be extras in a James Bond film) and a pair of red squirrels who happily entertained us for a number of moments peeling pine cones to eat the seeds which are hidden inside. All in all it was a fascinating morning followed by a very tasty lunch in Aviemore.
In the evening we were all back at The Cross and enjoying natural, organic and bio-dynamic wines which accompanied a delicious dinner of local Scottish fare, the highlight of which was the braised ox cheeks and Black Isle mash with buttered greens- simply delicious.
I had never visited Scotland before, but I will definitely be back there soon- we didn’t have chance to explore Edinburgh, so we will ensure we do next time and whilst we enjoyed a number of tipples of Speyside whiskies, there are many
more whiskies to sample, so the whisky distilleries will be a must on the next visit also. Gerard is very excited at the prospect!
In the meantime, huge thanks to David, Katie and their lovely daughter Marieanne for being such charming, warm and friendly hosts. It was a pleasure to share a few special moments with you all and we loved The Cross and its super friendly, warm and welcoming atmosphere and for sure it serves the best breakfast we have enjoyed in ages- simply delicious! Thank you too to Becca, Susan and all the team for looking after us so well.
Till next week