The wrong trousers

The good weather continued long enough for us to completely clear the orchard of brambles. No mean feat I might add! With Karen and I working in tandem we are pretty pleased with the result, all of this in preparation for (hopefully) pruning the apple trees in February.

Karen putting the finishing touches to the orchard with strimmer

Further proof of clement weather throughout the majority of January is the abundance of snowdrops and the early appearance of daffodils.

Not sure these will last now February’s storms are here

The weather also made for some excellent walking in January allowing us to find some new routes on this small Island. It may be small but the walking routes are plentiful and with advances in the paths project moving apace, it will surely encourage more visitors in the summer. The Isle of Gigha Trust and the Ranger Service (hope I have that right) must be commended for this initiative and the pleasure the paths have already given us.

The route we have walked the most is that from just North of Achamore Gardens down towards Leim beach through the Island’s wind farm. The first pictures are from earlier in the year with the sun splitting the winter sky, but I have a hazardous tale taken from yesterday’s walk. I dressed in waterproof coat, hat and gloves before setting out for my hour of exercise. On the most exposed part of the walk, which until that point I had enjoyed fair weather, the hail started. At which point I remembered that one shouldn’t walk in jeans as they are indeed the wrong trousers for bad weather. The hail did not take long to permeate the denim and the return leg of the walk had me carrying more weight and some discomfort from my saturated choice of legwear.

However, two new routes have been found. One to a beach on the East just south of and opposite the gardens and a second to the highest point on the Island. We braved the climb, which in all honesty is neither steep or of great altitude, but affords fantastic views to all coasts of Gigha and beyond. Some pictures taken from these walks below.

As often the case in these months we had the beach to ourselves
A bit of advertising for Kintyre Firewood who are keeping us warm with regular deliveries throughout winter
Down towards the Mill and Roundhouses
CREAG BHAN – The highest hill at 100m
Back towards the mainland

All play and no work makes Andy a happy boy, not quite the proverb but I need to talk about some other gains made however small in the house. The stormy weather that started just before February rolled in drove us inside and we re-commenced the rip out of the Old Manse again. Starting top down as we promised ourselves the stair well between first floor and attic rooms has been stripped.

We knew that the outer wall was prone to condensation as warm air hit the cold wall and it became apparent why when we stripped plaster directly onto brick. The decision has been made to introduce insulation to where it isn’t currently on the outer walls, the challenge is doing so without compromising the space. For now it’s about stripping back and the outer stone has been revealed and the internal walls stripped of wallpaper.

More of the roof revelead
Plaster removed from stone wall – insulation required

February’s storm have also thrown up some new challenges. The shepherd’s hut has lost the roofing felt we were so proud of applying in November and we have had to take emergency measures and the application of a new tarpaulin to the shed roof to stop water ingress.

Re-tarp’ed (not retarded as was spell checked on my Insta post)

Lastly, I have to mention it’s back to play today with the start of the six nations. February delivers a feast of rugby and starts with the Calcutta cup. I predict a close match accompanied by a couple of pints of Guinness!

C’mon Scotland!!!!!!!!

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