From the woods

cairngorms-6 Last weekend I spent a few days with friends and family in the Cairngorms. Despite some very heavy rain, and the discovery that the raincoat I've had since I was thirteen is no longer at all effective, it was lovely to spend some time in the woods.

cairngorms-7

We stayed at the Lazy Duck hostel, which is friendly and cosy and where we got to see some very special creatures. I think this is the closest I've ever been to a red squirrel.

cairngorms-10

The owners of the Lazy Duck have recently acquired a few Soay sheep, a primitive rare breed from St Kilda. They shed their fleece naturally and don't really behave much like modern sheep, they were pretty skittish and have no herding instinct.

cairngorms-15

Staying at the hostel also led me to add another feature to my dream home list - an outdoor fireplace.

365-124

My mum and I spent a few hours hurting our backs, foraging for these little wild blaeberries - determined to pick enough to make something with.

cairngorms-9

And we succeeded, bringing home just enough for a few wee jars of jam.

365-127

It isn't especially good jam, the first I've made for years, overcooked and with too much sugar.

jam-2

But it was fun to make and does remind me of the woods and squirrels - can't buy that in the supermarket.

jam

Oh how I love the farmer's market

Settling in