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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bushcraft and Vegetables.

We have started by turning the beds in the vegetable garden and working our way through the alphabet of desirable vegetables, herbs and flowers. So far we have only really decided that swedes and turnips are not that exciting, and that we want most of the rest of nature's bounty. We have worked out a planting scheme based on wisdom gleaned solely from books with the words 'Easy' and 'Vegetable' in the title, built a few glazed frames and planted a some seeds. Watch this space.

This leads us neatly onto 2 weeks in August we have allocated for Bushcraft courses. For a maximum of 12 people these courses will include guided hillwalking, a 2 day open canoe trip down the Spey back to Inshriach, wild foods, shelter and outdoor cooking, probably a whisky tasting and most importantly, be fully catered by our favourite chef, Allan, using food from the vegetable garden, foraged food and local meat and game. 2nd to the 8th August and 9th to the 15th, £575 per head inclusive, anyone up for it can drop me an email on

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A stile of distinction.

Thanks to Rory and some bits left over from Raven this unconventional stile now guides guests round the cottages and to the squash court.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Dramatics and theatricals.

The Scottish leg of Centurion, Neil Marshalls 'swords and sandals' thriller, finished filming last week. I found myself in the unusual position, as local fixer, of not having to make anything. The crew and extras numbered well over 100 people on some days in conditions from spectacular to extremely challenging. Without giving too much away you can expect plenty of blood, imaginitively spilled, and some very big scenery. After a similar photo appeared in the local paper I give you the 9th legion, slipping effortlessly into character by being cold, exposed, reluctant and 1200 years too early for North Face.

Now the esteemed members of the East Harsley pantomine players are in the house for a long weekend of murder mystery so the quality theatrics are expected to continue.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Courses for 2009.

With spring coming our minds are turning to all things outdoors. I had a chat yesterday with Malcolm Handoll from Five Senses in Orkney about bushcraft, navigating by the stars and shelter building, as well as dry stone walling and building traditional stone structures inspired by the cleits of St Kilda. This morning Richard Strivens from Wilderness Experiences came for a walk round the woods and a chat about residential courses that could include bushcraft, wild foods, canoeing and mountaineering. We will be picking weeks out later this year to offer individual places or can arrange private guidance for groups already booked.

We also have the vegetable gardens to contend with. Inshriach has a large kitchen garden which was expertly brought back to life by Euan and Sulekha who lived here until recently and ran their business, Northern Greens, from the gardens, supplying local restaurants and doing veg boxes. The aim is to offer food for guests in the house, and feed ourselves, but a crash course in vegetation is required before we can make any promises. Anyone who can lend some advice or wants to be involved would be very welcome.