Sunday, 25 September 2011


Over the last few days we clocked up a lot of miles touring the West Coast around Oban, so today we decided to stay close to our lodge on Loch Awe. In fact our destination was just a few miles away on the opposite side of the loch. Sitting in the foothills of Ben Cruachan, the highest mountain in the area, we would visit Inverawe Fisheries. We wouldn't be doing any fishing because we had no tackle and although I love angling, game fishing isn't what I do. We would however, take advantage of the visitors centre, the cafe and some of the lovely walks that were on offer.We enjoyed a lovely peaceful walk around several small lakes and stopped every now and again to watch anglers pit their skills against the trout. For those who like game fishing this place is marvellous.Not only are there the already mentioned lakes, but it is also possible to fish a stretch of the scenic river Awe. With regards to walking, there are many nature trails, one of which descends to the shore of Loch Etive. I would like to have taken that walk, but the tiredness that comes with old age, and lack of time, wrestled it from me. Instead, we retired to the cafe, had a light lunch in very pleasant surroundings. Before leaving, we wandered around the visitor's centre and shop for a while and then set off for a leisurely drive back to our lodge. During out journeys to and from our lodge we had passed a bit of an old tree sticking up at the side of the road. It was gnarled and twisted, but put me in mind of a horse's head, so as we were passing it again on our way back I decided to stop the car and photograph it.I was surprised and glad that somebody else had had the same thoughts about this piece of wood because as I got closer I could see that somebody had given it a pair of eyes to make it look even more realistic. We arrived back at our lodge satisfied with our day out and even had enough energy to enjoy a stroll down to the shore where our own private bench awaited us.What a shame this holiday was coming to an end, we only had one day left now, so we'd have to make the most of it.
Here's just a reminder that if you would like to find out more about me or my books click here Or if you want to take a look at my pyrography work please click here

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Going Potty

Hi all,
Since taking up pyrography in April I've created much more than I ever did when working in watercolour. Today, I've added the eighth precious little trinket box to my website. I think it's my best yet and priced at under a tenner.I can imagine some handsome fellow placing an eternity ring in it and giving it to the love of their lives.

I have also managed to finish and frame a rooster that I've been working on for some time. Sorry this item isn't for sale, I like it so much it is hanging next to my computer.

I am currently working on a clock and should be able to show you that next week. If you are thinking of having a go at pyrography, and have some questions, I would be pleased to answer them if I can. Below you will find the usual links to my websites.
Please click here to see more pyrography.
Please click here for information about my books.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Seil Island

Today we will be visiting Seil Island and crossing the Atlantic. Luckily for us, we won't have to go on a boat or an aeroplane because many years ago the Scots built a bridge. Below you can see the bridge which famously spans the Atlantic ocean.The bridge is not only functional, but also very pretty. If you look closely at the photo below, you will notice a pink rim across the top. These are fairy foxgloves; a beautiful little wild flower that only seems to grow wild up north.
By the time we'd finished exploring the bridge, we were getting hungry so we retired to the strangely named, Tigh-an-Truish Inn, where we had a very nice meal in the garden. If you are wondering about the name of the Inn, Tigh-an-Truish, actually means 'house of trousers'. It comes from the time after the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 when kilts were banned on the mainland. It is rumoured that inhabitants of Seil Island changed from their kilts into trousers, at the inn, before going onto the mainland.

After our meal we carried on to Easedale, a tiny village with a lovely harbour.
We wandered around a while and immersed ourselves in views of magnificent scenery. Everywhere you look in Easedale there is a stunning view.
Easedale is also the home of the Highland Art Exhibition. It is very difficult to describe, but I will try. The word exhibition is a little misleading because to all intents and purposes, it's a shop. It was started by poet, artist and composer, C J Taylor, who died in 1998. The exhibition displays some of his creative works which are spread throughout a vast assortment of souvenirs. In fact, the place could be described as a big gift shop which revolves around one man's work. We didn't buy anything but we were extremely fascinated. After leaving Easedale we took another road to the other side of the island and ended up at the village of Cuan, where the people of the next island, Luing, catch the small but lively ferry. However,it was late in the day so we didn't bother going over; we turned around and went back to our lodge, happy and satisfied with our day.

If you would like to see more about me and my books please click here.
If you wpuld like to see some of my pyrography work please click here.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Hi all, just a quick post to let you know that I've added another couple of items to my pyrography website. One of them, a trinket box, is pictured below.

There's good news too, although I only took up this form of art in April, I'm getting faster, so I am able to reduce my prices.

On the down side, finding blank wooden bowls for pyrography is proving to be very difficult. I had to go a shop that was almost in Sheffield for the one I have on my website and I could hardly believe that after driving the best part of sixty miles, they only had one.

I've scoured the Internet, but even google can't help. So, if anybody knows where I can get any bowls, I'd be very grateful if they could get in touch. I'm getting so desperate that I've even thought about getting a lathe and turning my own.

While I'm trying to tracking down some bowls, I've started work on clock and hopefully I'll be able to show you what I've produced next week.

If anybody has any questions about pyrography, please send me an a e-mail and I'll do my best to answer.

Here's a link to my pyrography website, if you are interested click here

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Oban & Loch Awe

Hi all,
There's only one downside to holidaying on the banks of Loch Awe; there aren't any supermarkets within easy striking distance. So today our main priority was to restock our shelves by driving around the top end of Loch Awe to find a supermarket in Oban. The photo above is of the top of Loch Awe; going shopping in these surroundings isn't the torture it is in our town. Oban is a lovely town and often referred to as the gateway to the Isles. Caledonian MacBrayne ferries can be seen entering and leaving the harbour on a regular basis as they take visitors and residents to most of the Western Isles.Before we entered the town we went up the dead-end road that flanked the harbour to the north, just because we wanted to see where it went. A holiday camp was the answer and very nice it looked too if you like being with other people. We were glad we took this road because on the way back, just as we entered the town we saw a fine statue on the esplanade and just had to photograph it. A war memorial by Alexander Carrick, which needs no further explanation because it says it all.
In the town we found a supermarket after viewing McCaig's Tower. This is a Colosseum look-a-like and dominates the town which it towers over. It was commissioned by a banker, (you've guessed it) called McCaig who had it built to keep the local stonemasons in work. If you like a drop of the hard stuff, Oban also has a distillery that is worth a visit.

After doing our shopping we left the town via a road to the south which took us alongside the Sound of Kerrera a narrow stretch of water that separates the mainland from the small Island of Kerrera. A small ferry takes cars and pedestrians over to the island which only has about 40 inhabitants. Being only six and half miles long
and having no shops the place is a haven of tranquility.
The picture above shows the ferry on the other side of the Sound of Kerrera.

That was enough for one day and time for us to get our shopping back to the lodge. I'll leave you with a link to my writing website please click here.
And another for my pyrography wwebsite which is growing quickly and now boasts some unique gifts Pyrography.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Autumn & Pyrography

Hi all, I didn't get chance to go fishing this week-end, so I did a bit of pyrography and finished a bowl I'd been working on for a couple of weeks.
I think pyrography and autumn are perfect partners because the burning of the wood goes so well with the colours of the season.

I have added the bowl, and another precious trinket box, to my website this morning. Here is the link if you like to take a look please click here

If anybody would like any information about pyrography, please e-mail me.

I will be back with my next post about Scotland in a few days.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Craobh Haven

Hi all, in my last post we had just left Aird, a lovely place that is situated towards the end of the Cragnish Peninsular. It was our intention to go straight back to our lodge on Loch Awe, but we changed our plans. Shortly after rejoining the main road, we saw a sign for Craobh Haven which pointed down the other side of the Cragnish Peninsular, so we thought we'd take a look. After about mile, the road came to a dead-end at a purpose built holiday village and marina complex.
The houses that provide the accommodation had only been recently built and were very well tended. Roses climbed around the doors giving the place a feel of Dorset, which felt rather strange on the West Coast of Scotland. Beyond the houses was a marina that was bursting with yachts. This was a perfect place to moor a boat, calm waters and lots of islands to explore. It struck me as being odd that all the boats were deserted, but there again, perhaps their owners were working double time to pay for the boat's up keep and the mooring fees. Nearby, was a water sports centre that also provided accommodation on Eilean Buidhe, a small island within the marina.We walked around, took some photographs including one of the cross on the left. It is a memorial cross dedicated to two members of the MacDougall family who sadly lost their lives in the first world war. I don't know what it is about WW1 memorials, but I always find them moving. I have photographed quite a few and if life wasn't so short I'd love to go around and record as many as possible and put them on a website for all to see and hopefully remind people of what sacrifices these men made for our country.

By now we were very tired, so we jumped in the car and headed back to Loch Awe where we were greeted by the best holiday view we've ever had.

I'll leave you with a reminder that you can find out more about me and my books by clicking here. My pyrography work can be viewed here, and some more of my photos and our paintings can be seen by clicking here.