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West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 25th May

Posted by Bertie Badger on May 25, 2014 9:54:00 AM

Midge season is here! Run inside, lock your doors and close the windows: Scotland has been overrun with bloodsucking beasties.

This last week has been a pleasant surprise. After forecasts of frequent showers and far more grey cloud than we would care for, we had resigned ourselves to the idea that we would be facing another dull week of weather. Yet the sun became a prominent feature towards the weeks end, much to the delight of our guests and - unfortunately - the local midge population who quickly gathered in swarms around the Island.

Isle of Eriska

With the rain keeping these pesky flies at bay, we're sitting on the fence this week unsure to hope for more sunshine or more rain (to give us a break from their troublesome bites.

Today: Light rain showers to persist throughout the day

Monday: Another showery day ahead, with some peaks of sunshine in the afternoon

Tuesday: Looks to be mostly unchanged, with more sunny intervals and rain showers

Wednesday: Today will remain mostly dry, with light winds accompanying. Rain Showers are likely to fall briefly in the late afternoon

Thursday: More dry weather ahead, though moderate gusts of wind may add a chill to the otherwise mild day.

Friday: Temperatures climbing to a comfortable 19°C today, though the sun is unlikely to make an appearance through thick white clouds

Saturday: The week looks to end on a mild note, with only brief showers predicted throughout the day.

For those coming to visit this week, an anti-bug spray may be worth the investment to save yourselves the suffering of Scotland's most irksome residents while enjoying the moderately dry week ahead. Though for any wishing to stay indoors we still have plenty to keep you occupied with our vast leisure facility.

For our keen wildlife spotters, you may be lucky to catch a glimpse of a seil or two along the stoney shores, as they lounge out on some of the warmer days.

Topics: wildlife, Wildlife at 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

Otter Spotting: The Triumphant Return of Eriska's Wildlife

Posted by Bertie Badger on Mar 13, 2014 2:53:00 PM

It's that time of year again when the Island truly comes alive.

With the season broken in nicely, the notorious wildlife of Eriska is making it's triumphant return for 2014 bringing with it the magic that makes Eriska special to so many of our guests.

Though our friends in the animal kingdom never truly left us - most notably Bertie and his friends, who suffered through thunder storms and gale-like winds all winter to get their daily helping of peanuts and milk - the rest of the island natives are beginning to come out of hiding

   Otters  

Otter Point, in particular, is showing signs of life with our cheeky semi-aquatic compatriots frequenting our stony-shores. Many of these playful creatures have been spotted by guests over the last few days, as well as island resident Mrs B who was lucky enough to capture the above pictures for us.

As suggested by it's name, Otter Point is a sight notorious for spotting otters and last year become home to the bronze sculpture, Wache, that was placed in tribute to mark Eriska's 40th year as a hotel, making it an increasingly popular spot for our guests.

Wache

Wache

Wache, our bronze otter sculpture, was made by Kenneth Robertson last summer using advanced techniques to give it its flawless life-like shape that was moulded to fit a particular rock at Otter Point.

It was placed as a "Guardian to the Island" to mark Eriska's 40th year and subsequently named by our competition winner, Dr. Joe Myers, who came up with the name "Wache" which is an old Scots terms meaning "Eternal Watcher".

Since his placement on the island, Wache has become a popular sighting point for our guests and is frequently mistaken for a real otter to approaching visitors!

Tips for Spotting Otter's on the Island

Eriska’s coastal environment is ideally suited to otter's habitation.

Our natural habitat remains untouched by urban development, water pollution or the use of pesticides. Our island location is remote from main roadways and our coastal and land environments offers food on tap: fish and shellfish as well as birds and small mammals.

Here’s some handy hints to have the best chance of spotting them:

  • Look for their ideal location: clean water, vegetated banks with available prey.

  • Look out for their distinctive webbed toe prints, or their distinctive odour (likened to jasmine tea!)

  • Dawn explorers will have the best chance of spotting them.

  • Be still and patient, or walk quietly; keeping upwind (wind can carry your scent which may alert them to your presence)

Other Otter Locations near Eriska

The west coast of Scotland is well known for offering sightings of wildlife not commonly seen in bigger towns and cities. From Oban there are a selection of boat tours dedicated to sea-life watching as well as frequent ferries to the Isle of Mull who's coastline is littered with Otters when the tide is in.

However, for those not too fussed about trying to catch a distant glance of Otter's in their natural habitat, the Scottish Sea-life Sanctuary in Benderloch homes a few and even hosts a couple of "Meet and Greet's" throughout the day to give you a closer look and learn more about their eating and living habits.

So for those in the area in the near future, we would definitely recommend taking your chances out by the coast to try your luck at spotting one of these fantastic animals and visit Wache who continues to guard the island at Otter Point!

Topics: isle of eriska, wildlife, Wildlife at Eriska, Eriska's Otter, Wache, Otters

West Coast Weather Forecast wc 3rd November

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on Nov 3, 2013 10:18:00 AM

This week marks a stark change in the West Highalnd Seasons

 

Its often amazing how the climate seems to remain the same and then suddenly overnight we flip into a completely different season. So it has been this week as we started with a mild - if damp - Monday and this was soon followed by torrential rain- stories of 6 inches falling in 45 minutes do not seem implausible- and strong winds so that today when  we awaken - the leaves are off the trees, the temperature is almost 10 degrees lower and the mountains of Kingairloch and Ben Cruachan have white snow caps adorning them- winter is truly here!

Strangley it seems later than usual and this woudl not be a surprise as the summer seemed to continue longer than normal and this has pushed autumn into November. Rutting Stags resized 600The Deer Rut and stalking was certainly later and whilst I am hearing stories of a great month on the mountains with fantastic images of Rutting Stags it does play havoc with my plans for collecting leaves in October and we still have a lot of raking and burning to do now to get tideied up for Christmas

It is one of the stregnths of Scotland the ever changing weather and certainly one of te attractions compared with places that never seem to alter seasons- fortunately its one which we appreciate even if its also one we seem to continually complain about! So what is in store for this first week of winter!

Today: Bright with sunny spells and scattered showers today although be warned that the showers will be fierce!

Monday: Bright with sunny spells, but also scattered showers, mainly over higher ground at first, but developing further east during the afternoon, perhaps the odd heavy one later over Eriska. Fresh or strong west to northwesterly winds slowly easing.

Tuesday: Showers will become more isolated and confined to coastal areas , with long clear spells inland, leading to fairly widespread frost over rural parts as the winds fall light. 

Wednesday: A few showers continuing , otherwise a dry and bright day with lengthy spells of sunshine for most parts. Light west to northwesterly winds. 

Thursday: Rain clearing to showers  then bright with sunny spells and showers in the evening.

Friday:After a dry night some heavy and prolonged periods of rain. Windy, risk of gales 

Saturday:Rain will soon clear leaving clearer but showery weather for most of the weekend. It is likely to stay largely unsettled thereafter with showers or longer spells of rain, locally heavy.

Topics: Eriska, wildlife, Wildlife at Eriska, Scottish Weather, weather, scenery, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather

Local Walks & Hikes at Isle of Eriska and further Afield!

Posted by Christina Jacobsen on Sep 27, 2013 8:34:00 AM

Beinn Lora - Isle of Eriska

As we do have a considerable wealth in terms of nature and scenic landscapes we wanted to share some of our walking routes with you, perfect for the full day trip, the holiday challenge, and some of the smaller ones near and around our beautiful island!

For the leisurely strolls there are plentiful walks within a short distance of Eriska whether it be the circular walk round the Island of Kerrera or the energetic climb up Ben Cruachan, the office at the hotel can offer guidance, maps and even a Garmin Handheld GPS to insure you are fully equipped.

Ben Cruachan - 14km /8.5 miles - 7 hours - 9 hours


Ben Cruachan is one of the finest Munro's in the southern Highlands, its pointed peak towering above its rocky satellites giving great views. Ranging 1376m above sea level it is quite a challenge. The ridge walk to Stob Daimh makes a great circuit around the Cruachan reservoir. It consists of steep and rocky paths with a small section of easy scrambling. The descent is a grassy slope which can be boggy in the final sections.

The walk...

The video above shows off some of the incredible views and the challenge of getting to the top and back down the Stob Daihm route. 

Getting there...

Only a 30 Min drive from Isle of Eriska, following the A85. Should you wish to use public transport, Ben Cruachan is available by train and bus. Get the train from Connel Ferry to Falls of Cruachan Station (summer only) or the bus service to Ben Cruachan Power Station Visitor Centre.

What to bring...

This one of the more challenging hikes and would be in need of some planning depending on the season, navigation skills and much more! Some of the basics are as follows;

Food & Drink

The actual amount of energy needed depends on a number of factors: your body weight, age, gender plus the distance and total height gain of the walk. In hill walking, your muscles need both carbohydrate and fatty acids. If the available carbohydrate is reduced too much, then you will have to slow down. Good food also provides the motivation to complete - and enjoy - your expedition.

The most important requirement is water. When we exercise, our body temperature is controlled by the evaporation of sweat from the body surface. If your body is dehydrated, then heat can't be dissipated in this way. This can result in the rapid onset of heat exhaustion.

Other Essentials

There is definately more planning in these long walk and some essentials are needed;

  • Suitable clothing and footwear
  • Suitable map, compass and a route plan
  • Basic first aid kit
  • A watch

Remember that the essentials may vary depending on season! There is much difference between getting heat struck and snow and ice! 

Walking on Isle of Lismore (Achnacroish and Salen Circuit) - 9.5km / 5.75 miles - 2.5 hours - 3.5 hours

Lismore from the airLismore, long, narrow, low-lying and fertile, sits neatly in Loch Linnhe in the south-western end of the Great Glen. The island is tranquil and unspoiled, and surrounded on all sides by stunning mountain scenery, from Ben Nevis in the north (snow-covered in winter) and the Glencoe hills, round, in a clockwise direction, to Ben Cruachan, the hills of Mull to the south and Morvern to the west.

There is a network of little-used old footpaths which criss-cross the island and make possible a variety of different routes. All could be done in a day from the mainland.

The walk...

This fine circuit starts at Achnacroish, the 'capital' of the beautiful island of Lismore and landing point for the Oban car ferry. It follows sections of both the southeast and northwest coastline of the island and offers wonderful views as well as a cafe at the half way point. 

First section of path can be boggy but the rest of the walk follows tracks and minor roads. A short section of track at Salen can be impassable at very high tides. For detailed walk descriptions follow this link

Getting There...

Only a 20 minute drive from Isle of Eriska is Port Appin where the ferry takes you over to Lismore. Leave the car on the main land and the ferry takes you across for £1.60 per person every full hour and leaves back every half hour

What to bring...

Good shoes although it may be mainly flat, good shoes are a walker's best friend! A small rucksack with an extra dry layer is always recommended. Halfway through the circuit you will reach the Lismore Heritage Centre and cafe where you can enjoy tea and cakes. If you are more of the packed lunch kind of person the hotel can provide packed lunches with fruit and sandwiches. 

Beinn Lora - 5.5km / 3.4 Miles or 15.5KM / 9.6 Miles  - 2.5 hours - 4.5 hours

Beinn Lora may only be 308 metres high but its position means that the magnificent views from its summit match those from many a Munro. The approach uses way marked forestry walks but the section before the final pull up to the top is a swamp. If you have four legged friends bring them with you, they are good help on the steepest parts and excellent walking company. 

Getting There... 

The walk can be started from the hotel or from the Beinn Lora car park in Beinn Lora which is part of Barcaldine. Benderloch is the nearest town or village. The car park is situated next to Ledaig Motors filling station or 'Pink Shop' in the centre of Benderloch on the A828 Oban to Fort William road and the sign for Beinn Lora is visible from the road. This is the start of two woodland walks with steep climbs but fantastic views over the Lynn of Lorne.

Only 4 miles from the hotel, following the A828, one can be at the foot of Beinn Lora within a swift 10 minutes by car or approximately 1 hour if one decides to walk from the hotel. 

Beinn Lora   lismore in the backThe walk...

When starting from the car park one can start by walking left or right (both taking you up to the same point), the only difference is that the path to the right will be steeper t first before it becomes flatter midway, the path leading left will start off slightly easier but become steep at the top. Personally we believe the best views are from the path to the right! If you follow this link, it will take you through the walk step by step. On a sunny day you look straight onto Lismore in the background. 

Isle of Eriska - Beinn LoraWhat to bring...

Good shoes, some areas of this walk is quite rocky and a solid thick sole in your shoes will help a lot. A small rucksack for a packed lunch is essential, and should you have a sweet tooth the 'pink shop' is conveniently placed at the bottom for those who like to bring that little extra treat. Your camera! This 'little' hill has some stunning views not to be missed! Also do you have four legged friends bring them too, they are great for pulling you up the hills!

 

 

KerreraWalking on Isle of Kerrera - 9.65km / 6 miles - 2.5 hours - 3.5 hours

Take a trip to Kerrera to hike around the circular 6 mile route cutting across to the other side of the island to enjoy views of Mull and Lismore. Kerrera is the island which is visible directly from Oban Bay. Kerrera is quite a large island and can be compared with Scarba, Seil and Luing, it is however scarcely populated and provides excellent shelter for the Oban harbour. The current population is around 35 people. 

The walk...

Starting from the ferry terminal, this route heads south along the east coast of the island. The bay on your left-hand side here is called Horseshoe Bay. It was here in 1249 that King Alexander II died while attempting to re-take western Scotland from the Norwegians.

On reaching the south of the island the route passes a tea shop, the only source of refreshments and public toilets on the walk, then leaves the main track to visit Gylen Castle and the southern shore of the island, with good views out to sea. 

Gylen Castle on KerreraGylen Castle (the name means 'Castle of Fountains') has a shorter history than most Scottish castles: built in 1582 by MacDougalls of Dunollie (just north of Oban), destroyed by the Covenanters under General Leslie in 1647 and restored in 2006, the work being financed by Historic Scotland and the worldwide MacDougall clan.

The return route, still with plenty of interest and good views, starts parallel to the western shore of the island, but a little higher on an old drovers' road, before cutting across the hilly interior of the island to return to the ferry terminal

Getting there...

It takes only 20 minutes by car from Eriska following the A828 to Oban. The Kerrera Ferry Time Table can be found here or you can get the small shuttle from Oban to Kerrera.

What to bring...

If you are out for the day, a packed lunch is good to have - if you let us know in advance we can provide some lovely packed lunches for the whole family. If you check in advance, Kerrera Tea Garden may be open and can offer traditional and home cooked foods, including their own baked bread and cakes - the perfect place for a treat after a walk.

 

Isle of Eriska Walking on Isle of Eriska - From 30 mins to 1.5 hours

Eriska itself is a 300 acre paradise. The Island sits at the mouth of Loch Creran, a Marine Site designated Special Area Conservation. Part of the charm of Eriska is the ability it offers to explore the estate and enjoy the island as if it were your own. From the formal ground to the western seaboard to the rugged hill side, the whole estate has a charm and is genuinely interesting and exciting to explore whether you are a nature and wildlife devotee or simply keen to walk and wander the many paths and trails in search of peace and tranquillity. 

It is easy to do simply walk till you meet the sea, turn left or right and when you reach the bridge or the Pier simply head back to the main house. Alternatively pick up a map of the island and guide yourself around using the white posts which mark the trails and stop off at the information points to learn about the flora, fauna and wildlife as you explore Eriska.

A map of the island is available from reception but also through this link

Isle of Eriska The Easy Walk 

Mainly flat, and will not require much preparation. You can walk down to the pier, across the golf course, or past the driving range, walking towards the west side of the island. Terrain is mainly flat with accessible paths.

 

 

Isle of EriskaThe Moderate Walk 

The moderate option would take you down to the heronry, back up to the cairn and down the path above the hotel. In this loop the paths are easily recognisable with some hills and uneven surfaces as you go along. 

 

describe the imageThe Scrambly Walk 

Takes you along the shoreline on the west side of the island and down towards Mrs B's house. You can start by walking down to the pier and along the shoreline, or walk through the putting range and down the path following the white signs (this one is slightly easier to walk). Further down you will see Wache, he sits on the stone watching over the island and its guests. For this walk, keep an eye on the tides!

 

 

 

Hill Skills Summary

For the shorter walks on the island

Like most walks in the countryside always let people know where you go, dress for the weather and, bring a camera, borrow a pair of wellies from the main entrance if you were so unlucky to forget shoes or misinterpret the weather for your stay (nearly impossible if you follow our West Coast Weather blog each week). Is the weather warm, remember to bring a bottle of water with you! Follow these simple 'rules' and you will, without a doubt, enjoy your walk! 

For the longer walks

Food & Drink

In hill walking, your muscles need both carbohydrate and fatty acids. If the available carbohydrate is reduced too much, then you will have to slow down. Good food also provides the motivation to complete - and enjoy - your expedition. If you in advance are planning to go for hill walks while you are here let us know and we can provide packed lunches with delicious sandwiches, fruit and a bottle of water. The most important requirement is water! When we exercise, our body temperature is controlled by the evaporation of sweat from the body surface.

Footwear & Clothing

Walking boots should be like a good friend - supportive without being irritating. Your shoes for the longer walk should therefore be; 

  • Water proof
  • High enough to support your ankle.
  • Padded - the insole and upper lining should give a firm but comfortable support to the whole foot.

Always bring the appropriate layers depending on season and destination! Having extra dry layers can make such a difference. 

Some of the Essentials

  • Suitable map, compass and a route plan
  • Basic first aid kit
  • A watch
  • A torch

For more information on hill skills visit the British Mountaineering Council!

Topics: isle of eriska, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Eriska, Wildlife at Eriska, weather, scenery

Wache - The Guardian of Isle of Eriska and its Guests

Posted by Christina Jacobsen on Jun 12, 2013 8:13:00 PM

 Wache - Eriska's Otter

Did you know that Otters watches the health of our aquatic resources?

Where otters thrive, the water resources are healthy for human. Otters are the apex indicator species of the water habitat and our water resources, and can be seen as critical indicators of our human condition. 

As you may know, over the years history and memorable dates have been marked by the addition of items to Eriska. The year the house was built, 1884, an oak tree was planted by the south east corner of the house and indeed it remains strong and vibrant today- indeed it sports a delightful swing seat. In 1984 to make the house one hundredth birthday another oak was planted on the south west corner by the croquet lawn and despite a few years with little growth it is now well established and beginning to dominate that area.

So to mark and celebrate our 40th Anniversary this year we decided to mark it by adding a permanent new "Guardian of Eriska" in the shape of a Bronze Sculpture. Wache was made by bronze sculptor Kenneth Robertson, using advanced techniques, initially creating a wire meshed mould which was then cast as a simple albino plaster. Ensuring he fitted in to the environment and more importantly onto a rock at Otter Point was essential and it was moulded to fit a particular rock looking a specific way to guard the island. Several visits later and much hard work from Keneth and his son. Wache now sits at Otter Point cast in wonderful bronze. 

We felt our sculpture needed a name and so we set out get our friend a name. After a few weeks of collecting name suggestions and votes, a name was announced last Sunday; Wache was sent in by Dr. Jo Myers Thompson, and is old Scottish for 'Eternal Watcher' - a name that ideally suits him as he sits on the rocky surface on the west side of the Island watching the loch. 

We therefore thought we would introduce you to our winner and asked how she came about the name Wache. And indeed did we end up with a worthy winner! 

Jo Myers Thompson BLOGDr. Jo Myers Thompson is the Executive Director of the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, a not-for-profit umbrella organization overseeing a variety of conservation efforts in the deep heart of equatorial Africa. By profession, she is a primatologist and naturalist.  

Jo received her doctorate degree from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and is a contributing author to several books about ecology, distribution and evolution and has since 1995 been involved with otter conservation, which started with her raising an infant Congo Clawless Otter. At that time, the species had recently been declared extinct. However, that classification was based on absence of reports not absence of the otters.  So, she was launched into the world of otter conservation as the world expert on the Congo Clawless Otter species.

How did you come up with the name Wache?

"My very dear friends, Victoria & Douglas Miller live near Oban. They know of my love for otters and tell me from time to time of seeing otters around that region. In fact, they mentioned to me about the bronze statue even before the competition was announced. When you posted the competition on your Facebook wall, Vicki wrote and asked me what name I would suggest. I told her 'Wache' because it means "Eternal watcher" in the old Scottish tongue." 

Wache will hold three roles as Eriska's guardian:

  • To guard the entrance to Loch Creran.

  • To encourage otters to the shores.

  • To offer a sighting spot for visitors that come to Eriska. 

If you are coming to visit us soon or in the future, take a walk to Otter Point and say hello to Wache. He sits on a truly beautiful spot on the island which is perfect for sunsets and taking pictures. Maybe he will bring some of his friends to our shores? If you're lucky you might spot them, it's just another great reason to bring your camera to Eriska.  

Wache will have his name engraved on a plaque together with Dr. Jo's and when finished it will be displayed for everyone to see. We will make sure to keep you all updated on our progress. And again, congratulations to you Jo! 

Topics: Wildlife at Eriska, Eriska's Otter, Wache, Otters