Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Inner Hebredies

So I finally got round to posting the next installment - I am sorry for the delay, but I have been to so many places/done so much lately I can't keep up with myself let alone the blog!  Maybe I should just tweet!  Anyway....  After Glasgow we took the train to Oban.  The purpose was to visit the amazing Fingal's Cave on the island of Staffa.  We were so lucky with the weather we had glorious sunshine and calm seas - perfect for visiting the cave we were truly blessed, not only that the wildlife was wonderful too.
Our Ferry arrives to take us to the Isle of Mull.

Passing a lighthouse on the way to Mull.

And a beautiful castle!

Arriving into the port of Craignure on Mull 
to pick up our coach which took us west to 
Finnphort from where we would take the 
next boat to Staffa.

A handsome solitary stag - the rutting 
season is about to start.

Beautiful view across the hills of Mull bathed 
in the rich colours of autumn.

The calm waters lent themselves to making 
lovely reflections!

A fearsome buzzard regards our coach 
from his telegraph pole!   We also saw a 
Golden Eagle high on the hills.

Our little boat arrives to take us to Staffa.

Passing by a beautiful yacht moored 
in the safe waters of the bay.

A seal peeps up to see what's coming!  
Later we saw the dorsal fin of a Minke Whale
in the far distance - wow!

A first view of Staffa Island.

This is Fingal's Cave - the whole island 
and cave is made up of basalt columns
and is the "other end" of the Gaint's Causeway 
the rock formations are mind blowing even
more than at the Giant's Causeway.

Here you can see inside the cave it is like an
organ in a cathedral the way the columns hang
from the ceiling.  Inside the cave the waves 
slapping against the sides make the most
incredible sound, no wonder Mendelssohn was 
inspired to write his Hebredies Overture.  You 
can see and hear a video of the music on 
You Tube of this here

Some of the most amazing rock 
formations on Staffa.

Inside the cave itself.

Here you can see the rocks going out to
sea - almost like they are heading straight
for the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Again more amazing rock columns lie 
horizontal on this island

here you can see the horizontal ends of the 
columns lying at 90 degrees to the ones coming 
out of the water - truly amazing (well IMHO!)

Here the columns curve into the rock wall!

This line of columns is known as the "clam shell" 
as it is shaped  rather like seashells.

A closer look.

Some more columns at angles on the little 
island to the side of the main island - I was
fascinated by how the rock is co curved.

Reluctantly leaving the island as the daylight
being short at this time of year we had to be 
on our way back to Iona before returning 
to Mull and then the mainland.

However on our way to Iona we got company!

A fabulous pod of dolphins decided to come 
and play and they loved swimming alongside 
our boat and jumped out of the water! 

As the boat sped up so did they!  It was a
magical moment - I didn't get too many photos 

but you get the idea!

Here you can just make out 2 of the bottlenose 
dolphins beneath the water surface.

Arriving on Iona we saw the old Nunnery ruins.

And the Abbey.

Back on Mull another lovely view.

Some sows and piglets on the Pennyghael Estate.

And this cute seagull hitched a ride on our 
ferry back to Oban, although he flew off as we 
neared the port LOL!

Oban town overlooked by
McCaig's Tower (the round building)

Some colourful boats in the harbour.

The sun began to set as we
neared port.

A yummy lobster thermidor in the port was 
just what I needed after a long day out at sea!

As was the sticky toffee pudding!

The beautiful sunset ended a beautiful day.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

A Little Autumn Adventure

A couple of weeks ago myself and 2 colleagues headed to the railway and travelled way up north to Scotland.  It took all day to get to our eventual destination.  First stop en route though was a lovely afternoon tea in Glasgow and a little bit of shopping (they have a Hermes inside House of Fraser;-))!

We went to the Cup Tea Lounge in Renfield Street and were not disappointed.  Just be aware that you only have your table for 90 minutes and you will be fine!  Now the Scots are noted for their sweet tooth so the goodies did not let them down:-

The stylish interior of the
Cup Tea Lounge
The well stocked bar and note the Victorian tiles.
A cool flute of prosecco.

The dinkiest of milk bottles which you can buy 
in the shop, although I don't take milk!

The cake tier - vanilla cup cake, lemon possett, 
meringue, fruit loaf and shortbread.  The fruit loaf 
was so moist it was divine!  I just wish one had 
been allowed to choose the cup cake given the 
selection they offer in the shop - see below.
The yummy sandwich selection - hot smoked 
salmon, ham, egg,served on brioche rolls.

Plain and fruit scones brought to you warm from 
the oven with the signature jam of the Lounge, 
whipped and clotted cream.
The non afternoon tea - my friend had a ham 
sandwich/toasty served with a lovely fresh salad.

And I think my friend's cup cake was caramel - yum!
The cup cakes you can choose from to eat
in or take away!
This is making me feel hungry!

You can check out the fabulous range on their website

The main street in Glasgow - 
Buchanon St where all the big shops are.

A stunning peacock sculpture graces one
of the shop fronts.

We really enjoyed our stop over in Glasgow 
and I will definitely revisit Glasgow soon!  But we 
had to go for our next train to take us far up North......