Monday, 26 September 2011

Healthy Otter Population on the River Spey

I last week (Sept. 19th ~ 23rd) completed another unique 5-day Spey Descent with Outdoor/Environmental-studies students from Edinburgh University. All in all a great trip with a group of interesting & accomplished students from various parts of the world ~ incl. UK, US, Canada, Finland, Germany & China. We were blessed with good water-levels & the weather was, in the main, kind to us. Undisturbed by our presence, we passed close to many small birds ~ incl. pied & grey wagtails, dippers, as well as herons & also buzzards soaring above in the mainly clear skies ~ a bird-watchers' paradise.

At various points along the river, we saw otters on each of the five days. Never before on all my many Spey Journeys have I, every day, had such clear sighting of these beautiful creatures.

Over the weekend, immediately following the Edinburgh University descent, I facilitated a two-day river trip as part of a Beeches Boysie-Bonding (alias 'Stag Doo')  ~ comprising one night D.B&B at The Beeches (~ followed by two days on the River Spey ~ Advie to Spey Bay (~ No otters on this Spey Journey but still a great many beautiful Atlantic Salmon leaping close to our canoes.

Right now, I am just back at The Beeches having earlier today been on the picturesque section of the Spey between Loch an Uvie & Newtonmore (~ ) ~ delivering an introductory moving water skills session for a lovely couple from Torphins, Aberdeen-shire.

Lady Spey is currently wearing her rich yellow and golden autumn cloak as, along her banks, the leaves of birches, rowans and aspens bid their colourful farewell to 2011.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Congratulations to Newtonmore Shinty Team

Many congratulations to Newtonmore Shinty Team on their 4 - 3 victory over arch rivals Kingussie last Saturday in the Camanachd (Scottish) Cup Final played at the Bucht Park, Inverness.  

Most excellent game, with much skillful play right up to the last nail-biting finish in the form of the decisive goal in extra time. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Good luck to Newtonmore Shinty Team

Good luck to Newtonmore Shinty Team against Kingussie in the Camanachd Cup Final tomorrow at the Bucht Park Stadium in Inverness. This should be an excellent game. Presently Newtonmore have a superb collection of talented players ~ a great blend and balance of older, experienced players and young, fit boys who can all work well together ~ truly a Team. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Watching a playful Otter

On the 2nd Day of our 5-Day Descent, just sat and watched an Otter playing in the shallows by Boat of Garten -Wonderful sighting.

Boat of Garten is on the west bank of the River Spey between Grantown on Spey and Aviemore.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Beeches Boysie Bonding Stag Weekend

Most excellent weekend just past here at The Beeches, Newtonmore ~ ~ 7 guests on a 'Beeches Boysie Bonding' ~ alias Stag Do. Mix of golf Saturday, delicious Beeches food, full Balvenie Whisky tasting Saturday evening and then canoeing on the lovely River Spey on Sunday. 

Stunning light on the lush green fairways of the Newtonmore Golf Course. . Autumn colours ~ vibrant reds and yellows ~ beginning to  appear along the banks of the Spey ~ BEAUTIFUL!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Warning ~ Colonies of North American Signal Crayfish Moving Northwards

Somewhat alarmingly a population of North American Signal Crayfish have just recently been discovery by members of the Glen Nevis Ranger Service in the Ballachulish Quarry. 

This is the most northerly confirmed population in the west of the country. The nearest previously known on the west was south of Oban. Most northern confirmed locations on the east coast are, flowing in to the Moray Firth, Rivers Lossie and Nairn.

Now an invasive species, ousting native species across Europe (carry a disease which affects native crayfish) the Signal Crayfish causes serious environmental damage, burrowing into river banks up to 1.5m, out-competing fish for shelter under stones and eating fish eggs & juveniles. Water users ~ incl. canoeists, kayakists and anglers should ensure thorough washing of equipment ~ esp. containers/boats following contact with waters containing known populations of this very damaging Crayfish. 

Monday, 5 September 2011

September 2011 First Aid Course - Outwardly Mobile, Newtonmore

Our next 2-day ~ practical, hands-on/'suitable for all' First Aid Course will be running at The Beeches, Newtonmore on September 27th & 28th. 

B&B Accommodation available at The Beeches ( 

Dates soon to be confirmed for late (~ likely 28/29/30) November full First Aid at Work 3-Day (revised 2009) course. (