family holiday let inverness

Struan Lodge, Beauly, Scotland UK
Struan Lodge Beauly
family holiday let inverness

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family holiday let inverness holiday, lodge, self catering, highlands, accommodation, beauly, inverness, loch ness, rural, chalet, family

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Hot drinks and snacks are dispensed at the White Lady

Hot drinks and snacks are dispensed at the White Lady, and a licensed restaurant on the family holiday let inverness upper floor deals with the more substantial needs of those made suddenly ravenous by the invigorating mountain air. Perched beside the top terminal is the Ptarmigan Observation Restaurant, an impertinent pimple on the majestic brow of Cairngorm, but at 3650 feet indisputably the highest restaurant in Great Britain.

The broad flank of the mountain imposes its own vast scale. Looking down on the crowded slopes, the human figures are dramatically reduced in size, for all the world like the tiny miniaturized creatures Lowry painted against industrial backgrounds.

The osprey hide near Loch Garden has little in common with the family holiday let inverness unisex gear and raffish dark glasses of the hotching ski slopes. Silence and stillness reap a rich reward here, enabling the watcher to study at close quarters those aloof aristocrats of the air, the great fish-eating hawks. The return of the osprey to nest successfully on a Scots fir in Strathspey in the 1950s, after a barren gap of more than half a century, represents a triumph for those dedicated to the preservation of bird-life.

Osprey feathers were once in great demand to adorn the hats of fashionable ladies. Avid collectors salivated at the thought of acquiring osprey eggs, which seemed to hone their acquisitive instincts to a razor sharpness. Desmond Nethersole-Thompson, who watched the first of the returning ospreys through a telescope from the window of his house, has described the sure of a next of osprey eggs: ‘big eggs, two or three of them, of creamy ground colour, almost completely covered with great blood red blotches and violet under markings’. The inoffensive fish-eating hawk was indiscriminately slaughtered for its plumage, and had its eggs seized for the collector. By the beginning of last century, the osprey had been liquidated as a nesting species in Scotland, although the breed continued to nest successfully in Sweden and Finland. It was in the early 1950s that a handful of excited Scottish ornithologists began to report to their colleagues on the return of the osprey. It is thought that a pair from Scandinavia, passing over Strathspey on their northward migration in spring and seeing a territory bearing a striking resemblance to their homeland, took the happy decision to nest here. They built an eyrie, but the nest was robbed, doubtless to become an expensive addition to some wealthy collector’s private hoard. To combat the egg thieves, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds organized ‘Operation Osprey.’ The first year, despite a careful watch, the eggs vanished on the exceptionally dark and misty night of 3 June. Since that setback the defences have been constantly strengthened, and a day and night, round the clock watch is mounted the moment the ospreys arrive. The only unsuccessful years were 1963 and 1966, when gales destroyed the nest eggs, and more recently, when a human predator evaded the defences, although he was subsequently charged and had to suffer the ignominy of public exposure.

The eyrie is on the crown of an old Scots fir growing on a small dry knoll in typical greenshank country. Many observers have commented on the curious way in which ospreys obtain nest-building material, flying to an old pine tree, hovering over a dead branch, then breaking a stick off without alighting. On a still day, the sharp crack as the stick snaps can be heard clearly.

Visitors to the osprey hide have rare delights in store for them. They osprey is in supreme command of its element, and to see it in lazy, gliding flight is to witness poetic arabesque in the air.

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