Our Blog

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 13th July

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jul 13, 2014 2:08:00 PM

It's been a picturesque week with plenty of sunshine adorning the West Coast and bringing out the features that make this part of Scotland truly unique. Though most of the locals are adorning a slight redish-tint to their skin; having been caught out by the heat!

View from Lismore cropped resized 600

But unfortunately our streak of good luck ran a little low with the weather taking a turn for the worst yesterday and ending the week on a downpour.

Today: A cloudy start to the day, with things brightening up later in the afternoon.

Monday: Light sporadic showers of rain expected in the morning getting more consistent and heavier as the day progresses

Tuesday: Things look to remain dry throughout, with some sunny intervals in the afternoon

Wednesday: Following a dry morning, periodic light rain showers will make an appearance in the afternoon with brief patches of sunshine.

Thursday: White cloud to dominate, with temperatures reaching their high teens

Friday: Heavy rain showers and burst of sunshine predicted for most of the day

Saturday: Looks to remain unchanged, with the week ending on a bit of wet note.

For those coming to visit the West Coast this week, we advise proper planning to ensure you make the most of the dry weather. For those looking for activities to keep them out the rain, we would recommend a trip to Cruachan Power Station, located on the shores of Loch Awe. As well as a being an engineering marvel, the hollow mountain homes a cavern in its centre which claims to be large enough to fit the Tower of London!

Topics: Scottish Weather, weather, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, Warm West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather, activities in argyl, activities, West Highlands Walks

Eriska's Hilltop Reserves

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jul 6, 2014 3:40:00 PM

Without further ado...Eriska Hilltop Reserve

After what seemed like endless work, we here at the Isle of Eriska are proud to announce the completion of the Island's newest feature: two Hilltop Reserves

From Summer 2013, Eriska has been carefully executing plans to add two new self catering lodges onto the Island to offer guests a new type of escape on our luxurious Scottish Island

Witness our progress over the last year, with our Hilltop scrapbook; documenting the creation of the Hilltop Reserves from start to finish:

Topics: 5 star retreat scotland, Isle of Eriska Hotel, scenery, accomodation, Island, hilltop reserves, self catering, luxury self catering, luxury self catering scotland

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 6th July

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jul 6, 2014 10:25:00 AM

When it rains it pours.The West Coast weather, this week, has been a bit up and down, with heavy rain taking us by surprise on more than one occasion. However, the sun was more than generous nearing the end of the week, with temperatures peaking in the high teens , really emphasising the features that make Scotland unique.

Eriska Beach

With the forecast last week originally promising an abundance of rain, we were delighted when the sun came out fighting for the weekend and hope that next weeks less-than-promising forecast will follow suit.

Today: Lots of sunshine today, with brief showers in the early afternoon and cold south western winds

Monday: Rain showers and sunny intervals throughout the day

Tuesday: Heavy rain predicted in the morning and early afternoon, with things clearing up as the day continues. Sunshine is due to make an apperance in the evening

Wednesday: White cloud to dominate, with brief periods of sunshine in the morning, though thins are expected to remain dry.

Thursday: Another dry day, with more burst of sunshine throughout.

Friday: Looks to be another cloudy day with rain expected in the evening

Saturday: The week ends on a gloomy note with rain persisting throughout the day, broken by sporadic bursts of sunshine. Though things are due to clear up in the evening.

There seems to be enough promise of sunshine to plan some more outdoor activities to spite the rain! For those coming to the area we would recommend looking at the available activities hosted by our friends over at Stamash. Archery, Coastering and Kayaking are just an example of what they offer in the Argyll area, making for a great day out!

Photograph by Glen Montgomery, F&B Manager

Topics: isle of eriska, Scottish Weather, weather, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, Warm West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather, scottish sunset, activities in argyl, activities, Island

Glasgow 2014: Pretending You Know Everything About the Commonwealth Games

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 19, 2014 5:10:00 PM

commonwealth resized 600

It’s just shy of a month now until the beginning of the commonwealth games, which this year is being hosted in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. With preparation near completion, the populous is eager to welcome the 6500 athletes and officials from all 71 countries participating and relive some of the excitement from London 2012.

But those among us that don't share the same enthusiasm for large sporting events may find themselves unsure about what the commonwealth actually is and will certainly struggle to participate in the chatter and excitement when the games have begun and so we have composed a beginners guide to get you through this difficult time.

The Basics

There are 17 sports in total during the games in which the athletes will be competing for gold. (categories like athletics and aquatics can be broken down further into multiple events, though it's easier to generalise them).

Via the process of elimination, the athletes are narrowed down to a selection of the fastest and most skilled few. You will be able to spot them immediately as the ones who cross "the line" first, throw stuff the furthest distance or win the most points. 

History

The commonwealth games, originally called the British Empire Games, is an international event in which the "Commonwealth of Nations" (composed mostly of countries who were once in the British Empire) compete in multiple sports.

The games were first held in Canada in 1930. It originally featured 400 athletes from 11 countries and has run every four years since its creation (except for both 1942 and 1946 as a result of World War 2).

2014 will mark the 3rd time that Scotland have hosted the games, with Edinburgh having hosted it in 1970 and 1986.

The Athletes

There are literally thousands of athletes competing in the games - so it's not practical to know who all of them are and who to support.

The simplest way for deciding who to back would to naturally support any from your own country. However, should this not be possible, don't worry - simply selecting another that you wouldn't mind winning would do.

Try and learn the names of some of the most famous athletes (even from other teams). They are famous for a reason and are good fallbacks if you are really stuck. Here's the must-know list:

  • Mo Farah

Expect to see the crowd go crazy when this British Athlete runs onto the track. With two Olympic Gold medals under his belt from London 2012, Farah is seen as a sure-thing for both the 5000m and 10000m this year.

  • Nicola Adams

Another popular Brit following the Olympics Games, Nicola Adams was the first woman to win a gold medal in Boxing at the Olympic Games and was selected to be an Ambassador for Glasgow 2014.

  • Usain Bolt
The fastest man in the world. Though it still remains a mystery if Usain Bolt will actually compete this year, he is the favourite for the 100m. However should he not make an apperance, supporting any of his Jamaican counterparts will generally be a good alternative.

Watching Live

One of the most important parts of pretending to know about sport is how you react while watching it. Though general screaming when your chosen team are winning with the occasional fist-pump may fool a few, you'll need to throw in some words to fool your most knowledgable friends. Here's a list of simple phrases to get you by:

  • "Come on!" - effective when your team is lagging behind, but not so much so that it's embarrassing. Though can also be used when you're athlete is winning and close to the end of the race/game.

  • "Ouch, that's going to hurt." - mostly used when someone falls over (laughing would be an acceptable alternative if the player is not seriously injured) though can also be used for contact sports like boxing.

  • "That's going to lose him/her some points" - most likely to come up during gymnastics when the athlete is a little unsteady, though can also be used for precision sports like shooting and indoor bowls.

  • "What was that?" - if your team are starting to lose to the point of no return, critisising their performance may save your pride. Take your chance at any evident fumbles or poor plays.

Hint: Always question the ruling of the referee if it goes against your favour. They are evidently trying to stop you from winning.

When in Doubt

Throughout the games, there will be full coverage on both TV and Radio with many commentators analysing the players and events that are worth talking about. Bring a notepad and write down a thing or two to use in conversation between events.

Escape the Craze

Of course, there is always the option of escaping the games entirely. Spending near 2 weeks attempting to take part in something you couldn't care less about is exhausting work. Save yourself the hassle and book a trip to the country where the closest person is three miles away; find a tranquil utopia where you can relax peacefully away from the craze of Glasgow and other bigger cities. 

 


Topics: commonwealth, glasgow 2014, mo farah, scotland hotels, luxury hotels scotland, luxury 5 star hotels, sports

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 15th June

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 15, 2014 8:22:00 AM

This week it's football that's on everybodys lips; with the world cup having kicked off a few days ago. With everyone indoors, glued to their tv sets, the weather seems to have been of little consequence - which maybe ideal considering the less-than-perfect overcast weather that creates the illusion that we're still in March.

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Of course, in Brazil the England football team are faced with what we would consider near-tropic temperatures of about 31°C, which some have complained resulted in their defeat against Italy, and this coming week looks to be picking up in the UK so that we too can enjoy a bit of sunshine!

Today: Starting off cloudy, things will clear up gradually leaving plenty of sunshine.

Monday: Sunny intervals and light winds throughout the day

Tuesday: More sunny intervals, with clouds thinning in the evening leaving crisp clear skies.

Wednesday: Things look to be mostly unchanged, with more bursts of sunshine during the afternoon

Thursday: Temperatures drop slightly, with sunshine becoming a bit more sporadic

Friday: White clouds to dominate, with temperatures dropping slightly further.

Saturday: The week looks to end with more cloud and cool temperatures.

With things looking to remain dry, accompanied by a fair amount of sunshine, those coming to us this week will have plenty of opportinity to enjoy the tranquil surroundings that is unique to Scotland's West Coast.

This week we'd recommend taking advantage of the not-to-bad weather and enjoy a trip over to Staffa to visit Fingal's Cave, which is said to be one of the most uniquely breathtaking sights in the world!

Topics: Scottish Weather, weather, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, Warm West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather, Football, World Cup 2014

National Cucumber Day: How do you take yours?

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 14, 2014 5:42:00 PM

sliced cucumber

The 14th June marks National Cucumber Day: a day for foodies all over to appreciate thisrefreshing fruit (yes cucumber, like tomato, is actually a fruit). Though we suspect the more skeptical among us would perhaps shake their heads in disbelief to the existence of such a day, cucumber – which comes from the same botanic family as melon – has a variety of day-to-day uses.

As well as a tasty additive to many salads, cucumbers are famously used for eyes in facials; with claims that its high water and vitamin content helps revive tired eyes! Its popularity in drinks and cocktails has also boomed in recent years, and though it may not be one of the first things you'd think to use in a cocktail, its clean flavour makes an excellent addition to summer beverages.

At Eriska cucumber has become a favourite choice for many of our guests, mainly with Hendrick's gin, and so to help everyone celebrate the day in style we have listed some of the most requested beverages featuring a dash of cucumber for you all to try (including our new non-alcoholic Eriska Fizz)

Hendricks and Tonic

For a delightfully refreshing tipple, serve Hendricks Gin over ice, top up with tonic and garnish with a slice of cucumber to fully appreciate the infusion of rose petal and cucumber in this most unusual gin.

50 ml Hendrick's Gin

125 ml Tonic Water

2 slices of cucumber

DSC 1044 resized 600Hendricks Martini

Refreshing Martini with a hint of cucumber!

50ml Hendricks Gin

5ml Dry Vermouth

To Prepare: Add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake over plenty of ice. Strain into a Martini Glass.

Garnish with a cucumber ball in place of the traditional olive.

 

Eriska Fizz

Chill out on a warm day with a refreshing mix of cucumber, elderflower and lemon.

25ml elderflower cordial

25ml lemon juice

2” cucumber; Skin and seeds removed

To Prepare: Remove the skin from the outside of the piece of cucumber, and the flavourless, watery seeds from the center. Roughly chop the piece into a few smaller pieces (to help it break down). Add this to a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice and elderflower cordial, and mash the cucumber a little with a muddler or flat end of a bar spoon. Add plenty of ice to the shaker and SHAKE HARD to squeeze the flavour out of the cucumber. Strain the mix into a tall glass filled with ice and top up with soda water to finish. For a more visually appealing drink use a tea strainer to strain and ensure no little pieces of lemon or cucumber make it into the glass.

NB Also works fantastically with 50ml of gin for those seeking a little more bite...

Co-Written with Keith McGregor, Duty Manager
Photos by Glen Montgomery, F&B Manager

Topics: Eriska, Drink, National Cucumber Day, Hendricks Gin, Gin Recipes, Gin Cocktails

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 8th June

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 8, 2014 2:37:00 PM

One week in and we already fear the summer weather is going to be an unpredictable whirlwind of sun and showers.

Having prepared ourselves for a lot of doom and gloom this last week, we found ourselves pleasently surprised to have been frequented by warm temperatures, sunshine and only the gentlest of breezes.

View of Eriska Surroundings

It would seem that the pattern will continue onto the next week, leaving us all guessing what to expect, but with temperatues now sitting comfortably in the teens we can finally start to make full use of our summer gear! 

Today: A dry start to the day, with intermitant rain and sunshine in the afternoon.

Monday: Looks to be mostly dry, with thick white cloud for the most part. A possibility of sunny intervals in the morning and earlier part of the afternoon.

Tuesday: Some light showers expected to start of the morning, with things clearing up as the day progresses.

Wednesday: Predicted to be a day of light showers.

Thursday: The weather is forecast to be mostly unchanged, with more showers throughout and brief spells of sunshine in the morning.

Friday: Another dry day, with white cloud dominating and moderate winds coming in from the north.

Saturday: The week look to be finishing on a dry spell - with more white cloud and chances of sunshine.

Flowers at EriskaIt looks like we may have ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and so we encourage you to explore the area and all it has to offer. Though it may be wise, for those coming to stay with us this week, to pack both suntan lotion and a waterproof jacket - just to be safe.

The area offers several cycle paths for keen cyclists varying in difficulty and length. The Isle of Lismore, in particular, is a lovely place to spend the day with unbeatable views all around. The Island has a length of 9 miles broken up periodically by cafe's to rest and grab a bite to eat, making it suitable for beginners to expeirienced cyclists.

Topics: Scottish Weather, weather, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, Warm West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, activities in argyl, activities, Scottish Island Walks

Seaweed: The New Skincare Superfood

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 5, 2014 9:47:00 PM

In recent years, the want to replace artificial products from our day to day life has skyrocketed. People, more now than ever, are more health conscious and want to know what products they are washing into their hair, moisturising their face with and consuming in their food.

It’s becoming more and more common to find your conditioners, face creams and soaps filled with coconuts, almonds and aloe vera from the exotic corners of the world. Healthy snacks and drinks too are filled with colourful ingredients, full of vitamins and nutrients that are good for both internal and external health.

It may be a surprise to some that there is a good alternative right on your doorstep. Though not as glamorous, the use of seaweed in skincare products and in the kitchen is starting to show a certain popularity for the tremendous benefits it offers.

Seaweed in Skincare

Ishga Seaweed

Seaweed is also used frequently for many body wraps that are help eliminate toxins and body tension. Though a company based in Scotland, called Ishga, have developed a full range of products using seaweed which is ideal for all skin types.

The seaweed used in Ishga products comes from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. They contain high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols which help provide protection against environmental damage and leaving your skin looking healthier as a result.

This month, our Spa are offering a special one hour Ishga facial, using seaweed products and light massage to tighten and tone skin as well as stimulate blood and lymph circulation, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

 

Seaweed in Food.

Though the very idea of eating seaweed may seem repulsive, you may be surprised to know that it is likely you have already eaten regularly in your lifetime. Carragheen gives a gelatinous substance when boiled, which is used in ice cream as well as vegetarian friendly jellies.

Though when we talk of the use of seaweed in food, we really do mean in its pure form! It is commonly used in Japan with Sushi and in miso soup, but with the western world becoming more adventurous with cuisine. Seaweeds such as Kelp are cropping up more and more, dried and powdered into a garnish that can be sprinkled over pizza, or used as a wrap for fish.

But it is the health benefits of eating seaweed that we really like to emphasise: while there are many different forms of seaweed that vary in mineral and vitamin content, all are high in dietary fibre, provides your daily dose of iodine and is almost as high in protein as other vegetables.

Topics: spa treatments scotland, Food, Spa, Ross Stovold, Seaweed, Ishga Seaweed, spa facial, superfood, seaweed in food

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 1st June

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 1, 2014 11:07:00 AM

Today marks the first meteorological day of Summer - a time I'm sure many thought would never come! Though we aren't quite enjoying the tropic weather so many of us desire, Scotland seems to have finally settled into a comfortable medium with more than enough sunshine to keep us content and the occasional rain shower to keep the flora a nice crisp green.

Sunset from Eriska

With the celebration of out 40th Anniversary yesterday, we've been hoping for a few days of proper sunshine to help celebrate in style, though it would seem the weather has different plans!

Today: Things looking to be a bit dull with overcast throughout the day and some heavy rain in the evening

Monday: Rain will continue to fall until late afternoon with things drying up in the evening.

Tuesday: Today looks to be dry for the best part of the day with some light shower and sunny intervals late afternoon

Wednesday: Rain showers will dominate the day with occasional bursts of sunshine in the afternoon.

Thursday: After a dry and bright morning, some showers are due in the later part of the evening

Friday: Light rain showers and periodic sunshine throughout.

Saturday: Things look to be mainly unchanged for the end of the week, though temperatures climb back up past 20°C mid afternoon.

For those coming to visit the West Coast this week, a bit of Castle spotting may be an interesting way to make the most of your trip to accommodate the ever-changing weather.

Scotland's West Coast is littered with castles on both the main land and many of the Island's, and while some of them only stand as unsheltered ruins, a few such as Duart Castle and Castle Stalker offer an escape from the rain

Topics: isle of eriska, Scottish Weather, weather, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, Warm West Coast Weather, castle

40 years and still going!

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on May 31, 2014 8:39:00 PM

As I sit here this evening it would have been a very different picture 40 years ago.

On 31st May 1974 Robin and Sheena Buchanan-Smith officially opened Eriska as a hotel. On one side 40 years must seem a lifetime ago and on another it seems to have flown by. Over that time we have been lucky enough to have worked with some wonderful team members who have helped make Eriska what it is today and we have been fortunate enough that so many have crossed our wee rickety bridge to place their trust in us to deliver a relaxing experience.

However the greatest achievement for us as a family is the fact that even after 40 years we are still here and still operating and running Eriska, although sometimes it feels a bit backwards in that Eriska really runs us and operates us! My father always used to highlight how difficult it was to welcome guests who became friends and how challenging it was to continually evolve  and change to meet their needs and demands but in reality the two are intrinsically linked in that Eriska has always been and for as long as we remain involved- always will be- driven to evolve by our guests and the team we work with.

So what has changed over the last 40 years- well we must seem like an oasis of calm this evening compared to 40 years ago- on this night back in 1974 my parents had just held an opening reception for over 100 of the great and good of the area and those who had supported them on the journey from an empty old house back in July 1973 to a vibrant building in May 1974.  The official opening was by Tom Flemming and my mother missed it as she was carving Smoked Salmon in the kitchen.

They then went on to serve dinner for a full house plus some gluttons for punishment non residents who stayed on form the lunchtime reception. It was not only the hotels first night but also the team and more importantly my parents first night.

The tight schedule had left no time for a dry run or practice- they were still painting the diningroom at lunchtime before service and my fathers perfection stopped us having wet paint signs visible (history will now tell if anyone left the reception with more of a mark than they had anticipated!) so when the full diningroom, on a hot summers evening were all waiting for the main course it could be excused that my father became slightly distraught with his wee hostess trolley, old fashioned bone handled carving knife and small pheasants to carve and a baying crowd of hungry visitors. I have never been sure how long tables waited or how generous the portion sizes were but as far as I have been told everybody remembers the evening as ground breaking, the team learnt a great deal, my father never took to carving pheasant out of choice and Eriska was reborn and in truth we have tried never to look back except to reflect on the journey we have taken and look forward on the road ahead. 

The most amazing thing is that a young lady form Oban with no professional cooking experience and a Church of Scotland Minister from St Andrews managed to bind a hotel and island and team together to look after the guests with simple hospitality and peace and quiet. The good news is that little has changed today and these three ingredients remain in our bowl and remain at our core and will for the next 40 years.

Happy Birthday Eriska!

Topics: Eriska, Family Run Hotel, anniversary