Isle of Mull – A Little Bit of Heaven

It is a few years ago since Mike and I last visited the Isle of Mull and the way things are going, it will be a few more years before we get to visit again.

Our journey to Oban from our home town in Cheshire, took us about 5 hours 30 minuties, travelling a total of 320 miles. The scenery, thankfully, is very pleasant and picturesque and to me, there is nothing about this type of journey that is unpleasant.

Once we arrived in Oban, we headed straight to the ferry port to catch the boat to Craignure. This journey takes approximately 46 minutes, which again, is a pleasant route to be on.

Once we arrived in Mull, we had a little bit of a drive to get to the very tip of the island to a place called Fionnphort. This indeed, is my little bit of heaven. I cannot describe the feeling of tranquility and calm that this place embraces you with.

Just to the left of Fionnphort is Fidden Farm where we set up our camp for a few days. It is a very raw and natural campsite that is situated right on the beach and has the most stunning of views. This is where we set up camp and enjoyed our first evening eating campfire food, watching the sun set over the nearby island of Iona while enjoying a little drink or two.

Fidden Farm Camp Site

Fionnphort is a small village which is ideal for walking with routes that have the best view points ever. Wildlife is also abundant and easy to observe in this area. 

There is a busy little ferry port here also for trips to the Islands of Iona and Staffa. Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland

After our idyllic stay at Fionnphort, we packed up and drove to the absolute beautiful village of Tobermory which is a little fishing port that was built in the late 18th century. It is now the main town on Mull and is very popular with tourists. The town is adorned with brightly painted buidings and shops along the main street and the harbour is always busy with fishing boats, yachts and the ferry that runs to and from Kilchoan.

A View of the Picturesque Tobermory

Our trip to Mull was most definitely one of the most memorable ever for me and it is a trip that I would like to do again one day in the future. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later πŸ™‚

Coping with the Lockdown

I won’t lie, I’m actually not liking the whole situation right now and like every other lover of the outdoors and adventures, I am finding this “being trapped indoors” a bit of a struggle.

Being a key worker for a pharmaceutical business, my daily working arrangements haven’t changed at all. I still travel into the office daily, do my day’s work and travel back, and with my once a week supermarket shop for life’s essentials thrown into the routine, my weekdays are no different for me.

It’s the weekends that are getting me down, especially as the sun has been shining recently and the temperatures have been not too shabby either. I can hear the beaches, canals and the countryside crying out to me, inviting me to come out to play, but I am unable to visit any of them. This saddens me greatly.

It isn’t completely doom and gloom though as, on a positive note, my other half has been busy around the house and garden during the week, doing all of those jobs that you never seem to get round to when you are busy doing more important outdoor stuff, so for that, I am ever so grateful and happy.

There is also the fact that I’m missing my family and friends, especially my 84 year old Mum who lives in a retirement apartment complex, and along with the upset of not being able to visit for a coffee and a chat, this has the added fear factor of hoping that everbody who visits the building are actually sticking to the rules of social distancing and sanitising. I have to try not to think about this as it could drive me crazy.

My two doggies are helping to keep me active though as I still get to have my little walk with them in the morning. This is my favourite part of the day at the minute as there is nobody around so I feel at one with my thoughts, and with the weather being good at the moment, this is an added bonus. I just hope that the Government don’t take this pleasure away from me any time soon.

So, in these very challenging times, I am trying to keep my spirits up and remain positive. Mike and I have been planning our next holiday and checking out some lovely new areas of the UK that we can explore and hopefully we will be able to get our little speed boat out on the water too.

Until this day is possible, I will carry on crafting …. I am currently crocheting a pretty Daisy Blanket / Throw which helps to take my mind off the crazy situation we are all living with at the minute. Crafting definately helps me unwind, relax and to actually stay positive.

Stay safe everyone and don’t forget…. stay home πŸ™‚

On the ferry heading to the Isle of Rum
Current Project – Daisy Blanket / Throw

Fitness Watch, Daily Goals and a Circular Walk Around Tarporley

Mike & I have always enjoyed both our daily and weekend walks with our dogs and it has been one way that we have kept ourselves moving and fit but now that we are both in our mid 50’s we feel that staying active is even more important, especially as I was diagnosed with allergy related asthma last year. So this year we purchased our fitness watches and joined Ordnance Survey online so that we could plan our routes and download the maps to our mobile phones.

The route that we took

On Sunday, we completed a circular walk around Tarporley in Cheshire that took us on part of the Sandstone Trail route. We parked in the car park behind The Rising Sun Public House. The route took us through the lovely village of Tarporley itself and accross the many fields in the stunning countryside of Cheshire with lots of kissing gates and stiles, so bear this in mind if you are walking large dogs.

Our dogs cooling down in the stream

We skimmed the edge of Tiverton and passed Tiverton Hall and at one point along the this part of the trail you get a glimpse of Beeston Castle high up on the hill. This stretch of the walk is part of the Sandstone trail where you cross Wharton Lock, and a small stream where the dogs took a little dip, then several more fields, some of them being crops of corn.

When we came out of the fields we found ourselves in the yard at Beeston Cattle Market where we headed back through the village of Beeston and more fields, crossed more stiles, passed through more kissing gates to end up at the bottom end of the shopping street at Tarporley and a well deserved beverage at the pub was had before heading back home.

I aim to close all of the rings daily
  • Distance: 6.85 miles
  • Total Steps: 18,130
  • Calories Burnt: 1,081

So my question is …………… Are these watches worth it?

(I think they are)

The Caledonian Canal – Our Open Canoe Adventure

Our 60 mile (96.6km) Canoe Trail included a series of canals and lochs with links to Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the great Loch Ness. Mike, myself and our faithful Cocker Spaniel Harry, started our journey at Corpach, just north of Fort William, on the west coast of Scotland, where we slept in the car overnight with a magnificent back drop of Ben Nevis. The route took us through the Great Glen and should have ended at Inverness on the east coast, however, due to a change in weather conditions we decided to call it a day at Dores after spending a very windy and wet night in the tipi.

Having chosing to do this trip in October, we were extremely fortunate that the weather conditions were excellent for that time of year. The lochs were mainly like glass making the reflections look surreal.

And so the journey begins….. Loading the Canoe with our kit at Corpach

Day 1 – Corpach to Gairlochy and across Loch Lochy to our first nights camp at Laggan Loch….. Fuelled on fig rolls & orange & mint club biscuits, we decided to start at the top of Neptune’s Staircase to avoid the portage around the many lochs so our journey began immediately at the canal which would take us to Gairlochy where the swing bridge gives access to Loch Lochy. At the swing bridge we were delighted to watch the golden retriever, who apparantly makes the walk daily to meet a lesuire cruise boat. The crew on the boat tipped off the passengers to save the dog a sausage from their breakfast and at the same location every day, they would throw the dog his treats. It was such a pleasure to watch.

The waters were like mill ponds

On entering Loch Lochy, we were met by complete tranquility and again, the waters were like mill ponds. The wildlife was in abundance and we were in awe of such beauty. After a full days paddling we reached Laggan, were we had a well deserved comfort break and portaged the loch to the river system that was to join the canal with Loch Oich.

Our camp at Laggan Loch

Our first camp was on the banks of the river and to say it was an idylic site would be an understatement. After putting the tipi up and sorting out our sleep mats and bags, we headed off back to Laggan where we had a few well deserved drinks on the converted Dutch barge, the Eagle. The next morning, we woke to a famous Scotch mist, packed up the kit and headed off for the next leg of the trip…..

Day 2 – Laggan Loch to Loch Ness via Loch Oich and Fort Augustus. Another long tiring day but the beauty of the journey made it a very pleasurable trip. When we finally arrived at Fort Augustus there was another long portage around the numerous lochs and we made a few trips back and to to collect our kit, so after a good stretch of the old legs, another comfort break and a fish and chip supper, we finally set off and entered the mouth of the very awsome monster of a Loch – Loch Ness.

The Great Loch Ness. This photo was taken on a beach just after leaving Fort Augustus

We decided to head to the South East side of the Loch where there is very little access to the roads and civilisation as we both felt that the whole adventure deserved to be experienced in total solitude. So, after a further hour or two of paddling, we found ourselves a lovely little beach, complete with a fallen tree and lots of fire wood, so here we chose to set up our next camp. Mike made a fire and cooked a curry while I made up the beds and poured a wee dram (this is customary apparently!!) That night, we slept under the stars rather than putting up the tipi and enjoyed the clear black skies that was full of the brightest shining stars.

Day 3 – The next morning we woke to the sound of the wind getting up and the waves that were quite choppy were lapping on the shore. We had two choices now…. we could either stay on this little beach with no access to civilazation until the wind dropped or to get in the canoe and battle the elements. We chose to move on….. The journey was somewhat of a challenge and we were both tired and horrified to find a salmon farm further along our journey that we had to paddle around in order to make headway to get to our next stop, which was the beach at Dores at the end of Loch Ness. This is where we would set up camp for the last night of our adventure.

The final camp on the windy, wet beach at Dores

The next morning, we again assessed the conditions and decided to call it a day. The waves were far too high to attempt to carry on. So, while I stayed at the camp with Harry the hound, Mike headed back to Fort William in a taxi to collect the car. That evening we booked into a hotel where we enjoyed a much deserved shower, a hearty meal and a few drinks. The next morning, we headed back home…….. back to reality!!

Things to consider if you decide to do this trip:

Get a British Waterways Licence. This Licence gives paddlers the opportunity to purchase a key for the toilets & showers along the way which costs approximately Β£10 per person. The lochs are extremely cold even in the summer. Set an example, and make minimal impact by leaving no trace of your camp. Take litter home with you and remove all traces of fires. Only light fires on sand or shingle spots, never on grass or peat. Use only dead wood.

Glamping on the Island of Anglesey

So this year, with the unpredictable ever changing weather forecast, Mike and I decided to leave the tent at home and opted to stay dry and try out a little bit of glamping on the stunning Island of Anglesey. We are regular visitors to the island but had only ever passed through this particular area. So, with sleeping bags, cooking equipment, walking gear and our two hairy hounds, we set off for our next adventure…..

Our days were mainly mainly spent doing circular walks where we took in the stunning views of natural outstanding beauty from the coastal paths and enjoying watching the different birds and spotting grey seals bobbing about in the many little hidden coves along the way.

Mike and the dogs enjoying some beach time
Camping Pod – Anglesey Outdoors, Holyhead

The Beaches were plentiful and many were only discovered if you ventured along the coastal paths. These stunning rugged bays with little rock pools were just waiting to be explored and the dogs just loved them as much as we did.

We set up camp in a very comfortable pod at Anglesey Outdoors Campsite just outside Holyhead. The location was amazing and being just a ten minute walk from the nearest beach and the coastal path made it ideal. From the pod, we had spectacular views of the Snowdonia Mountain Range which was a lovely back drop for when we were enjoying our early evening barbecues.

Making daisies for my next afghan blanket

And to put the icing on the cake, I even managed to do a bit of crafting in my spare time. Making crochet daisies ready for my next Daisy Afghan, Blanket. Happy days!!!

Living the dream πŸ™‚

Hand Crochet Daisy Throw / Afghan

Easy Beanie Knitting Kit

Knitted on circular knitting needles. A perfect gift for a perfect someone!!

Knitting Kit

These beanies are ideal for both men and women and being super light, they are great for both winter and summer wear.

This project would make a perfect gift for someone who is already a knitter or is a knitter but has never attempted to knit with a circular needle. The yarn is super soft and chunky so it doesn’t take long to complete the project.

There is enough yarn to make either a standard beanie or a longer slouchie design if you would prefer.

There is also an option for purchasing the kit with the needle or without it if you already own one. A great purchase for somebody who doesn’t want the hassle of shopping for all the requirements.

Currently, the kit is available in 2 colours but if you would prefer a different colour, you could request by private message or keep coming back to the shop as I will be adding more colours soon.

Contains everything you need for your project

The Kit Includes:

Full Instructions to make the Hat.
100g of quality Chunky Wool.
1 x 7mm / 40cm Circular Knitting Needle (if selected at checkout)
6 x Stitch Markers (these could be either metal or plastic depending on availability. And a drawstring bag to hold your project when not working on it

Inspired by the English Countryside !!

One evening, while watching a programme on television about our beautiful English coast and countryside, I was sat looking through my book of crochet blocks trying to choose a design for my next Afghan blanket, however, nothing was inspiring me at all. It was my partner, Mike, who suggested sunflowers. Wow! what a fabulous idea, so this is where it began…..

This blanket is MTO and can be made up to any size you want. Contact me for prices.

Now I had the vision and idea locked into my mind, I began searching the internet for the correct colourways and, after a lot of research I was happy with my choices.

I have made this stunning Afghan a few times already, and as I write this post, I do have one completed and ready to ship in my Etsy Shop, JillyMix. However, they are also available as a made to order item, so I can make them up in any size to suit depending on your individual requirements.

Thank you for looking :0)