As I stepped onto the platform this morning I wondered how many other commuters had experienced as enjoyable a Saturday as I had? On Friday night I had the good fortune to hear Jools Holland and his big band play in Perth. After the concert I drove across to Eriska. There was a thick dark blue band of light on the horizon even though it was close to midnight. The longest day is just around the corner and hopefully some better weather is on it way.
I arrived at Eriska around 2:00 am, and Beppo met me with the news that we would be leaving shortly after six. Moments after my eyelids closed it was time to get up. Our task was to pre-position Beppo's boat in the Clyde ready for racing over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Things were looking promising. Seona had arranged scrambled egg and bacon rolls and a suitably highly calorific picnic. The passage down toward the Crinan Canal was wonderful. A northerly wind pushed us down past Oban and on past Easdale and Seil. We had clear views of Ben More on Mull, and we speculated on the progess of the boats in the Scottish Islands Peak Race. The runners of the slower boats would have been on Ben More in the dark, but they all should have been well on their way to Jura to tackle the Paps.
A little later we passed Corryvreckan. I remembered that that George Orwell's brother-in-law is famed as the first man to swim the whirlpool. This is more of an achievement because he only had one leg. We arrived at the start of the lock system in relatively good time, although there was still a fair chance that we would not make it out the other end before the locks closed. Seona had come down to lend a hand and give us a lift back to Eriska. The lock system provides a critical safe passageway for boats to move between the west coast and the Clyde. As well as being a fantastic example of engineering, the canal is a very peaceful interlude between the rugged seascape of the west coast and the wide estuarial waters of the post-industrial Clyde.
In my view the west coast provides the most amazing yacht cruising of anywhere in Britain, but the Clyde is a close second. Therefore to be able to link both of these areas up in a single day trip is especially appealing. I always find the seaward approach to Eriska very dramatic. If you are ever leaving by boat and going south, take a glance over your shoulder and you will get a unique glimpse of the Baronial elegance of the main house. Using the canal makes a trip to Eriska for dinner followed by a return passage home the next day a viable, and very attractive, possibility for Clyde-based yacht owners.
We hope you have had a wonderful start of your week,
As you may know, we recently celebrated our 40th anniversary at Eriska, a wonderful 40 years that are worth celebrating, by putting up a bronze otter at our otter point on the west side of island! We are still looking for a suitable name for him, and you can enter the name our otter campaign before the 31st May by liking our facebook page, or by clicking at the button below.
So why do we celebrate anniversaries? There is something about anniversaries that is special. Anniversaries, by definition, commemorate important events in our lives. They are milestones of so many things; achievement, happiness, commitment, loss, and sadness but maybe most of all they are celebrated in great happiness. They may be wedding anniversaries, the day you got engaged, a special achievement or a birthday – they are all anniversaries that should be recognised and celebrated. They are ways of reliving an experience or even the very start of new ones. Anniversaries are important, not just because they celebrate an earlier event, but because they help us relive it.
It may all sound straightforward, but in today’s fast phased work and family life, we tend to forget these very important dates. You may find yourself in the position where you realise just in time or you find your self in the position of making up for the forgotten anniversary, for those reasons have a look at our two easy tips to remember the important day;
Create the 'dates really worth remembering' calendar on your smart phone or in your diary
Set an alarm for it! – In this digital age almost anything is possible, maybe more importantly, set that alarm a month ahead so that you can start to plan for that unforgettable anniversary celebration.
Why not come to us at Eriska for that special anniversary getaway to celebrate? If you have been with us before you can book to relive that special moment, or if you are thinking of coming for the first time, we would love to make it truly unforgettable. At Isle of Eriska you can celebrate in beautiful surroundings and make new memories worth sharing.
There is more to life than increasing its speed, and at Eriska you can truly relax and enjoy time with your family and loved ones. Walks around the island is a brilliant way to relax and also explore as the weather is slowly getting better.
Some fashionable wellies and sunglasses may be the way to start the week!
Its hard to beleive we are actually in May and that the longest day is just over a montha way, however thats what British weather is all about! The weather again this week looks typical for the west coast of Scotland- Changeable with a wet influence!
Although there are some heavy clouds, a few rays of sun will be peeking through during the week. The birds are still singing, which makes you forget about the weather. Indeed this morning we were woken by the first cukoo of the year - nice to hear and reminds us of the changing seasons but by tomorrow morning we will no doubt have already heard enough!
So whats ahead this week on the weather front?
Today: A mainly dry start but cloudy with outbreaks of rain spreading east this morning, this mainly light. Brighter but showery conditions then spread east from late afternoon with some sunshine at times and bringing in a freshening southwest breeze which will stregnthen and become westerly.
Monday: A bright day with some sunny spells and blustery showers these occasionally wintry on higher ground with snow on the hills- hard to beleive it is mid May!.
Tuesday : Another day of Sunshine and showers although it will hopefully be mor eorf teh former and less of the latter!
Wedenesday : It will start cold for this tiem of year but as teh sun peaks thrugh so teh temperatuyre will rise- although bewarned that showers are styill a possibility
Thursday: A mainly dry day but some thundery showers possible in the afternoons with light winds making it seem warmer than earlier in the week.
Friday: The rather unsettled conditions are set to continue with showers and longer periods of rain.
Saturday: At last we can start to look forward to brighter and drier spells with a good deal of sunshine for teh weekends whilst condistions sdown south will remains decideley unseasonal.
This week I have been in London working with our sales team helping to - or at least hoping to - spread the word about Eriska to potential visitors. Its amazing the even after 40 years how many people who have been in the travel trade still have never heard of Eriska, been to the west coast of Scotland or even been north of Hadrians Wall so I have been trying to do my wee bit for us all.
However I am often confronted by the question about who our typical guest is and what they normally do and whilst this is an easy answer to reach as I am never short of suggestions for guests it is also very difficult as we have no "typical" Guest as every one is different and each market place is so different. However in truth - whilst each visitor to Eriska may be here for a different reason and they partake in a huge variety of activities or even inactivities the majority do come for relaxation and recuperation, hoping to leave us less tired, stressed and harassed than when they arrived.
However when I got back I had a brief look round the dining room- if only to satisfy myself that my answer earlier about the ecclectic clientele was correct- but it soon became clearly that a trend is emerging which I was previously unaware of- Eriska is the Perfect Scottish Honeymoon Destination. However given it was a English Bank Holiday and the fact that just over two years ago there was a Royal Wedding- I should maybe not have been surprised to see the number of honeymoon couples in the dining room- almost half.
However whilst this shows a new trend, and on the face of it it should make our lives simple it is far from simple as the age groups vary- the level of activities enjoyed varies and this simply enures that we need to treat each couple individually and tailor their breaks to ther needs or simply insure that they have nothing arranged and are simply free to enjoy the island and their first few days of married life- and recuoperate for what may have been the most stressful day of their life so far!
It is our role at Eriska to create an atmosphere in which couples enjoy a unique private celebration marking the start of your marriage the most distinctive experience that will stay a treasured memory forever. Honeymoons should be unique- most only ever have one and therefore most people have no first hand experiece of what to expect but probably also have lots of expectation!
Whether the package includes all the cliched bottle of champagne awaiting their arrival, a romantic room service dinner and a relaxing couples full-body massage at our ESPA spa or simply a clear diary and no plans we can adapt and change . Honeymooners can indulge in the lavish luxury of a traditional country manor or the idyllic woodland privacy of our luxury outdoor spa suites, complete with private garden and Jacuzzi. But in short they create their perfect experience from our range of sporting activities, exceptional spa treatments and services, and award-winning culinary menus. Unwind in the comfort of our hotel and enjoy a romantic daytime stroll on our grounds taking in the breathe taking mountainous scenery, or romantic evening wander absorbing the star-bound sky.
The experiences are endless, we have however had to offer special honeymoon packages simply to give ideas to guest of what we can do although in reality most create a package having discussed it with the team at Eriska. Anyway its really rewarding to the team to be able to make a mark on couples first few days of married life and gives a real sense of purpose when we see then start to relax and unwind and then enjoy all that Eriska has to offer
I suppose it should be no surprise that another bank holiday weekend is a wash out but then again its not really a "Bank Holiday" here in Scotland and normally the first week in May brings with it the start of real summer. However there is no doubt that over the last few months there has been no real normal weather pattern with spring in full flow in Argyll while the rest of the country has shivered and drowned -- so now when we would normally see sunshine and blue skies I suppose a change is not surprising!
At least there is activity in the garden though as the grass on the golf course has turned green and is in full flourish, the geese have taken flight and headed north, the warmth in the ground has certainly kicked the seeds and plants in the gardens both in green houses and outside but along with that comes the weeds too so it is a busy time simply keeping on top of the grounds keeping it all tidy.
So will this week be a week of sun tan lotion and hard graft over the flower beds or a week of wellies and water standing in converted paddy fields?
Today: After a wonderful dawn yesterday the day simply deteriorated and turned to rain and today looks similar except the dawn will be a bit cloudier and the rain during the day less consistent!
Monday: Remaining cloudy throughout today with some rain at times. The patchy rain turning more persistent during today.
Tuesday: Another cloudy, damp, day with further outbreaks of light rain. The rain will be more persistent towards the north, but southern parts tending to turn dry later.
Wednesday:Bright start but with rain spreading in.
Thursday: Clearing early on then bright with blustery showers. Further rain for a time in the afternoon then finally drying up
Friday: Whilst the wind will be strong it should bring a the start of a change in conditions with drier weather pushing in.
Saturday: Whilst this period will start unsettled due to the strong winds it will seem warmer and drier- hopefully a sign of things to come!
Otter sightings on Eriska are not unheard of and in fact some of our guests are attracted by the thrill of the search. These sensitive and playful mammals hold an irresistible charm over our guests enjoying a relaxing walk along the island’s edge, which has made them a favourite over the years.
Eriska’s coastal environment is ideally suited to their habitation.
Our natural habitat remains untouched by urban development, water pollution or the use of pesticides. Our island location is remote from main roadways, which is one of the greatest threats to their numbers as roadkill deaths are one of their biggest threats. Our coastal and land environments offers food on tap: fish, shellfish, but also birds, small mammals, etc.
However all is now solved with the latest addition the the Eriska family. A year ago we were approached by one of our guests with aproposal to add an Otter sculpture to the beach at Eriska. Whilst at the outset this sounded a rather daft idea it was also the sort of concept which begins to attract support and is one which soon had enough traction to move from dream to reality.
So over the last year Kenneth Robertson has been working on a piece for us - not only was the actual otter sculpture important but insuring it fitted in to the environment and more importantly onto a rock at Otter Point was essential. Several visits later and much hard work from Keneth and his son have now seen the installation on the shore.
I am sure like us vsiitors will be pleased with it and will come to admire and enjoy our new constant and guaranteed resident. he now has three roles, to guard teh entrance to loch creran, to encourgae otters to teh shores and to offer a sighting spot for visitors. Howeer should this still one be to easy to spot here are some handy hints to have the best chance of spotting our eluisove creatures:
•Look for their ideal location: clean water, vegetated banks, and available prey.
•Look out for their distinctive webbed toe prints, or droppings (that may contain fish bones and scales)
•Dawn explorers will have the best chance of spotting them.
•Be still and patient, or walk quietly; keeping upwind.
Take care to avoid disturbing them or their habitat. With no guarantees of a sighting, our island setting itself is worth exploring and enjoying.
This week we’ve been pleasantly surprised by a fair bit of sunshine, giving us all a break from the downpours that swept in last week and that is expected to continue over the next few days.
As always, our guests have taken full advantage of the weather conditions to make the most of their time with us. Our 9-hole golf course, in particular, has been busy this week with some of the larger parties organising friendly tournaments amongst themselves.
Though with May just around the corner, and the temperature struggling to break the barrier into double digits, we’re left to wonder if we’ll ever get a chance to put away our winter wardrobe and break out the summer t-shirts and sunglasses.
Let’s hope we have a warmer week ahead.
Sunday: Starting off with a cloudy morning and some light showers, rain will persist in the afternoon getting heavier as the day goes on.
Monday: Following a night of rain, expect more showers throughout the day
Tuesday: The day will be mostly dry and cloudy, with some light showers briefly passing early afternoon.
Wednesday: Following a dry night, expect to see a mixture of light and heavy showers all morning, with the weather drying up in the evening
Thursday: Expect a cold and wet day, with heavy rain dominating throughout the afternoon and evening.
Friday: Another day of heavy rain expected with moderate wind blowing in from the south-east, though temperatures are expected to climb to a weekly high.
Saturday: With some light rain showers throughout the morning and afternoon, the day is expected to dry up with a slightly chilly evening.
When you live somewhere it is often easy to forget how lucky we are with an endless plyground of activities and facilities to use.
But when a guest asks us for suggestions of how to amuse themseves we are never short of ideas.
Eriska caters for a wide range of activities offering complete relaxation to the most fast paced sporting activity to lure a wide-ranging audience. Here’s a quick guide to some of our top attractions:
Our 9-hole golf course is a top sporting island attraction regularly drawing in enthusiasts from all over the UK but with stunning views and challenging holes a few lost balls and wayward shots will not ruin your day!
Invigorate, energise, or relax at our ESPA spa facility that provides a full range of top-to-toe beauty therapies, ideal for those wishing to escape the realities of real life for a few days and be pampered by our trained professionals.
Our 17 metre indoor swimming pool is perfect for those seeking some holiday fun. Wither you’re a more serious swimmer, or just want to splash around with the family our pool is large enough to accommodate all
4. Sport Hall
Our sports hall houses a range of equipment to cater for a variety of indoor activities. With badminton, tennis, indoor bowls, table tennis, a putting green and five aside football, guests have the opportunity to fine tune their skill with some friendly competition.
5. Clay Pigeon Shooting
For those looking for something a little bit different, we offer the thrilling heart-pounding experience of clay pigeon shooting for those visitors with a keen eye and quick reactions from our expert tutor.
Unlike the cities and towns of Scotland, Eriska is a perfect location to enjoy the local night skies. There’s minimal light pollution and good sightlines to enjoy a clear view of the stars, planets and the occasional satellite casually passing by. On a really clear night you really do see it all
7. Nature trails
Eriska offers walkers and the photographers among us the perfect setting to explore and enjoy the local scenery and wildlife. Alternatively, for those wanting to burn off some energy through our island woodlands or venture further afield we have bicycles ready to hire
With over 100 different species of birds on the island, the early birds among our guests will be kept occupied looking out for some of our favourites at their most active and vocal.
9. Boat Trips
Absorb a spectacular seaview tour of our West Coast island and local marine wildlife and all departing from our own pier!
Eriska and the surrounding Argyll coastline is the perfect location for some of the best secluded shore and sea fishing opportunities in Scotland.
The weather this week has been horrendous!
Or so one of our guests told us, in reality it has been no different than we would have expected at this time of year but given the wonderful dry spring - 5 week of no rain -we have enjoyed the last week may seem like a dramatic climate change.
With heavy rain and high winds, our guests have spent most of their time indoors - though with no lack of activities to keep them occupied. Having taken full advantage of our indoor leisure facilities, the spa has been fully booked all week and the indoor sports hall has been occupied with groups flooding in to play tennis, badminton, football or enjoy a round of indoor putting.
However, things did clear up by the end of the week, and we even managed to get an entire day of sunshine, allowing day trips through Oban, or across to some of the larger islands by ferry. having seen the change in weather coming we thought a film crew who were staying with us would have been pleased but regrettably having shot two days in dull wet conditions sunshine and clear skies for a day did nothing to help their continuity so not everyone welcomed the last day of improved conditions!
Though summer is just around the corner, it doesnt look like there'll be much need for sun lotion this week to come.
Sunday- Cloud and rain through the morning with lighter showers and sunnier spells through the afternoon.
Monday- Cloud and rain, becoming heavier throughout the day. Mild temperatures.
Tuesday - Cloudy but dry throughout the day with rain in the evening.
Wednesday- Heavy rain throughout the day with temperatures peaking at 9 degrees, becoming dry late evening.
Thursday- A day of sunshine and showers becoming dry late in the evening.
Friday- After a dry start the clouds will start to push in for the weekend and bring the threat of rain.
Saturday-A wet night will see damp dawn but the good news is that sunshine is round the corner and the remainder of the weekend should be brighter and warmer
One of the many advantages of being located at the west coast of Scotland is the surrounding of such a diverse wildlife.
With over 100 different species of birds on and around the Island, guests can witness a variety of different melodies and harmonies created by our feathery friends, as well as a whole spectrum of colours.
Whether you’re a seasoned bird watcher or just out enjoying the sights, we recommend you keep a look out for the Eriska Top 10.
1. White-Tailed Sea Eagle
With a wing span as large as 8ft, the sea eagle is the largest bird of prey in the UK. Having only been reintroduced to the UK in the 70s, after becoming extinct in the early 20th century, it is one of the rarest sights not only on the island, but in the entire of Scotland. The feather on its tail lighten with age, becoming white as it reaches adulthood – hence it’s name
Similar to storks and cranes, heron’s have long legs and sinuous necks that are usually found outstretched while looking for food. Though these birds are non swimming they are often found in water, due to their varied aquatic diet, using their dagger-shaped bill to spear any prey that comes in range.
With a distinctive shrill call and long, slender, down curved bill the Curlew is easily recognisable to any who cross its path. It feeds near mud or soft ground, like sand, using it’s unique bill to burrow into the ground in search for worms and other invertebrates.
4. BuzzardThe common buzzard can be found on the fringe of most wooded areas of Britain, though generally prefers to hunt over large open ground. This impressive bird of prey has large rounded wings and a short neck and tail, though they can vary in colour from much darker browns to paler alternatives. Its ‘meowing’ call can often lead to it being mistaken for a cat.
5. Hen Harrier
After heavy persecution in the UK, mainly in grouse shooting estates, the hen harrier is now considered much more of a rarity. As another one of Britain’s birds of prey, they hunt over open ground and are considered to do so loudly. They are the only hawk like bird to practice polygamy, with males mating with several females at a time.
In European folklore, the goldcrest is considered “King of the Birds” due to the golden orange/yellow crest on the top of its head, which also gives rise to it’s name. It is the smallest bird in the UK, being no more than 9.5cm in length, and commonly inhabits pine trees, using it’s small thin beak to pick at insects between pine needles.
7. Canadian Goose
Any golfer walking the course at the mement will either curse thse birds for leaving their mark on the fairways or bless them for keeping the grass so green and healthy. They are a large goose, with a distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch. An introduced species from N America, it has successfully spread to cover most of the UK. It forms noisy flocks and is often regarded as a nuisance in areas where large numbers occur on amenity grassland and parks
8. Ringed Plover
The ringed plover is a small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird. It is brownish grey above and whitish below. It has a orange bill, tipped with black, orange legs and a black-and-white pattern on its head and breast. In flight it shows a broad white wing-stripe.Breeds on beaches around the coast, but has also now breeding inland in sand and gravel pits and former industrial sites. Many UK birds live here al
l year round, but birds from Europe winter in Britain and birds from Greenland and Canada pass through on migration.
Gaining it’s name from it’s distinctively bright red legs, redshank’s are often found residing along the coast, hunting for insects and crustaceans by sticking it’s bill into soft soil or mud. Their loud piping call alerts all in its surroundings.
10. Tawny Owl
These invisible wee friends insist on keeping guests up at night with their call. Being no larger than an average pigeon, it hunts small rodents. Commonly found in woodlands, this nocturnal bird feeds on hotel insects during the night and often nests inside tree holes where it can protect it’s eggs against potential predators.