May 30, 2010
Weather wc 30th May
Well after a week with all weather systems, sunshine, wind and rain the gardens have been transformed with the grass growing madly, trees now in full leaf and some of the most wonderful carpets of bluebells in the woods on the eastern seaboard of the island. All tiws growth does however bring with it work as the the grass cutters are now at full capacity and keeping the paths and tracks on the island clear and even simply identifiable is a full time job. So is growth weather set to continue?
Today: Bright or sunny spells and occasional showers but generally dry and sunny with a stiff breeze.
Monday: Bright or sunny spells with a few showers during the late morning and early afternoon, these mostly across the hills although these showers will die out towards the evening.
Tuesday:A fine day with some bright or sunny spells. Although thickening cloud and freshening southeast winds will bring some rain through the late evening and overnight.
Wednesday:Another Bright day with sunny spells. Staying generally dry, although an odd shower may develop during late morning and afternoon.
Thursday: Fine, dry, weather when we'll see warm temperatures developing but the wind may make it seem a little cooler.
Friday:.Cloudy with rain at times on the hills but, the rain will continue spreading erratically southeastwards through the day
Saturday: It should remain largely dry and warm with brighter intervals. Sunny spells and scattered showers are expected . It is likely to feel warm in the sunshine but sea breezes will keep it slightly cooler around the coasts.
Eriska is the "CIS Ecxellence Hotel fo the Year"
There are no prizes for second place but if you try, try an try again you may finally win. So it was with the CIS Excellenceawards as I was delighted yesterday to collect this prestigious award and title of CIS Excellence Hotel of the Year. Having entered for two previous years we finally managed to impress the judges and although there was a high level of competition and indeed we were shortlisted with The Boath Housein Nairn and Kinloch Lodgeon Skye so it was with a great deal of trepidation and nervous tension that I arrived at the awards. having been pipped on two earlier occasions I was not confident but still pleasantly hopeful.
We were also kindly invited to join with Border Hospitality at the event and this allowed us to rub shoulders with other nominees from different categories but most of all it let us relax before ethe great announcem,emt. Then as the clock struck midnight the award was announced and whilst the citation left us still wondering about the destiny of the trophy, the final phrase that the winner was unique being on a 300 acre island allowed one final sigh of relief, although the panic was then on for the acceptance speech and the worry that I may trip on my way top the stage to receive the trophy.
However all went off without a hitch and it was both a great privilege and honour to be able to accept it on behalf of the team here at Eriska. Indeed whilst I was proudly pictured alongside the sponsors I was clear that this was recognition of all the heard work by the team back at the hotel. It was a great evening made even better by another winner on the table the "Plumed Horse" which picked up the coveted Restaurant of the Year award, again after a prior attempt to secure the award the year before. Whilst this all emphasises that it is worth persevering, The anxiety and late evening will I think persuade me that 2011 will be a year not to apply!
May 27, 2010
Back on the water eventually!!
After a couple of failed attempts to get on the water and take part in the Oban Sailing Clubs events we finally made it to the start line and then onto the finish line this week. It could all have been another failed attempt as we set off from Eriska with plenty of time to spare only to be thwarted by a broken shackle and lost line. However with some patience and ingenuity we managed to set off again however the delay cost us time and finger nails but with a few minutes to spare we entered Oban Bay.
Next we had to pick up our patient crew who were standing on the pontoon awaiting collection with the racing instructions in hand. However disaster struck again as in an attempt to save time we opted not to stop but pick up Ronnie at the run- under sail and not only collected Ronnie but also the pontoon, after a mad struggle we freed ourselves headed for the start line and as the gun went crossed the line only a few boat legnths behind the fleet.
Then we gradually made up on the leaders and edged our way through the fleet. This time caution saved us from powering on as we realised not knowing the course and tides well meant we had to hang back and copy but this allowed us to judge the fleet and assess the possibilities. We then worked out where th end was and overtook into the lead on the last leg. However this was too adventurous as it also allowed the Oban Sailing Club Handicap committee the chance to set a discretionary handicap which meant although first across the line we were actually last on corrected time. So now we must return and sail better to insure we can clear the Eriska name. More time, more preparation and more luck might also help but hopefully we will have the same amount of fun!
May 24, 2010
Supervised Pellet Delivery
Having now installed our new Biomass wood pellet boilers for the hotel and the stables , and given some of the publicity and intrigue surrounding the venture I am often asked about the system, not only how it works and how we find it but whether it is as good as expected and how we are finding the operation of it. Still 4 months down the road we are not really ready to comment on it, down to us getting used to it, technology advancing faster than us and in a funny way- the system getting used to us!
Due to the varying capacity of the bins I can never tell exactly how much time we have before the next order is needed, the changing temperature outside and varying demand in the hotel also adds intrigue to the storage and the need for an advanced warning for the delivery lorries all adds confusion. this is also combined with the fact that having two differnet sizes of bins and the need to maximise the delivery in order to minimize the transport costs leaves with even more headaches! Last week I decided I could not last till the 1st June so ordered a delivery and hoped that firstly we would not increase usage in the intervening period or I could end up shoveling pellets, and secondly that by the time the delivery arrived we would have enough space for the full load.
Anyway it was with a great deal of dread that I watched the lorry arrive and then supervised the unloading, as the first store took a little more than the driver anticipated we move to the second and I held mty breath as the delivery began again and my nerves started to fray so it was with no fingernails left that i beathed a sigh of releif as the last pellets came doen th pie and the load was delivered. Next time I will delegate my success to others!!
May 23, 2010
Weather wc 23rd May
After a glorious week of dry weather it is an obvious comment that with a Bank holiday weekend finishing the next seven days we will be in for a disappointing change. I suppose that at least if it does change we will not have to water the green house twice a day and we can fertilise the golf course as the rain will wash in the chemicals- but that is not really positive thinking so lets see what we have in store for ourselves?
Today After a dry night with clear skies we ware in for a rather dull start to the day with sporadic showers around noon then a drier afternoon
Monday: After a mostly dry night with some clear spells but mist and fog will develop. Mild and muggy with light winds.
Tuesday: Fog patches burning back to coasts where possibly lingering in places, then warm, sunny spells but scattered heavy showers will develop in the afternoon. A little cooler with westerly breezes.
Wednesday: Showery rain clearing in morning then bright with some sunshine, but isolated heavy showers later. Strong westerly winds over summits.
Friday:The morning will be dry with sunny spells, but with scattered showers developing in some places. Temperatures will be mainly near normal,
Saturday: . Through the day the likelihood of some scattered showers or spells of rain will grow, but with some brighter, warmer periods
May 22, 2010
I am often asked when the best time to visit Eriska is and although the "business answer" should be anytime we have avialability the truth is that personally having such a changable climate and weather and seasonality makes each time of year different and it is this which is one of the attractions of living here. I am never very sure which is the best time for me the crisp frost Januaries, the spring March when flowers and trees start to bud, June and July with long days and short nights, August with the odd day of sunshine, October with the red and golden coulours of the autumn or the short nights and roaring log fires of December.
In reality it truly is the fact that we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world with ever changing views and scenery that makes it such a wonderful sight anytime, it not only changes on a daily basis but also on an hourly and even minute by minute basis! The attched image was taken a couple of evenings ago when the day it self had not been that great but the fact that there was a little cloud in the sky allowed the sunset to have a wonderful red and purple tinge and Dennis has certainly caught this on film.
May 20, 2010
Golf not just a game
I think it was Mark Twain who declared that Golf was a good walk spoiled but sometimes I think this is an unfair tag. It is often the reason that many people venture outside in the pretence of sport and exercise and after receiving some images of the course at eriska Today from Dennis Hardley it is clear that there is more to the game than the competition.
We are so blessed with the weather and the nature and the land we live in that we become blazee and forget to appreciate the best things in life. Whilst Gerry has the course in great shape nature has its surroundings and setting in even better conditions and it is hard not to admire the handy work whenever you walk round or even over the course. The fact that trying to put a wee ball in a hole adds to the challenge but never detracts from the surroundings.
The above shot shows the 5th hole with one of our most experienced players putting out although I think he is a bit overconfident following his ball to the hole so soon after playing the shot!
May 18, 2010
Diamonds are forever!!
A couple of weeks ago we were approached to see if we would be interested in hosting a photo shoot for a new jewelry cataloguie for a firm in Glasgow. It all seemed a simple job with the crew coming to Eriska for a night and shooting a few shots on the beach as the sun went down, a few on the bridge with a motorbike and a few in the swimming pool. They came up to the island for a look around to firm up the ideas and we agreed the details and all was calm.
However in the back of my mind all was not so calm, what would happen if it rained, how would they store the diamonds, all these worries were upon me and in the end the ash cloud and potential BA strike seemd to be the biggest worry. First they had to change the model at the last minute due to a family bereavement, then they had to find alternative transport from London, all this time they were addressing these issues and I was simply watching the weather and looking to the skies for advice.
On this note someone was listeniung as when they arrived the sun shone, as the sun set the wind dropped offering an image of tranquillity, and when they were on the bike on the bridge the wind blew giving a picture of activity. Naturaly I kept an eye on proceedings- strictly to insure all was going to plan- and every time I dropped by there were more outfits and jewels on show. The shoot is now all over and they have returned to Glasgow in an the can we hope are soke excellent shots of the jewely and hopefully the set! We will now have to wait and see.
May 16, 2010
Weather wc 16th May
Now that we are all clear- following eruptions ion the Scottish parliament this week- that Summer does not start till 22nd June we can assume that we are well into spring and last week the rain and warm sunshine just encouraged the plants to blossom and bloom, the vegetable patch is alive, the trees are covered in leaves and even the Rhododendrons have started to flower, however it also means the weeds are thriving and the grass is growing madly so the sound of cutters is evident and seemingly never ending! Anyway whats ahead next week?
Today:A dry bright start with some sunny spells. Cloud will bubble up again and will bring a few scattered showers though many areas will stay dry.
Monday:Mainly clear sunny start, the odd hill fog patch. Isolated showers in the afternoon. Freshening north westerlies on hills.
Tuesday: Bright or sunny intervals with a few showers.
Wednesday:Cloudier with patchy rain spreading from the southwest. Rather cloudy but mainly dry in the evening.
Thursday: Rather cloudy at first with outbreaks of rain or drizzle but drying up later.
Friday: Coastal mist or fog at dawn but then turning brighter and drier with perhaps an isolated shower.
Saturday: During the morning the brighter weather will arrive and temperatures are expected to be warm.
May 15, 2010
L:ast week a potential guest phoned asking about boat launching facilities. I too great pleasure in letting him know about our new floating dock and the fact that I often launch my wee boat on the old slipway by the pier. I explained that the slipway had in the past had rails in indeed my father had launched and revered his 33foot bermudan at the beginning and end of each year although often extra horsepower had to be involved to help pull the mass up te rails. I explained that we simply hitch the trailer to our tractor reverse down the slope and then once the days sailing has ended we simply repeat the procedure.
This all seemed very simply and I sat snuggly behind my desk basking in the skill of organisation I imagined and described to the potential guest. Simply a launch then reverse launch- well today it was a bit too close to that!
With the sun beating down a light breeze and everything running smoothly in the hotel I decided to play hookey today and disappeared off to sail. Everything went according to plan a rare occasion in my boating life, especially given I had rigged the boat this week after its winter up at Arnotts house, no sails upside down, nor mast toppling over so we returned to the pier and packed away the sails. Then I reversed the trailer down the slope and Seona brought the boat round and we secured it back on the trailer- so far so good.
Then disaster as the tractor got stuck in reverse, no humphing or pushing could solve the issue so much thought and silence was called for. This simply allowed the tide to recede further leaving the boat and trailer now high and dry and the tractor still would only reverse. So I ran up to the maintenance shed and collected another vehicle- still trying to work out how to move the tractor away from the now rising tide and get the boat out of the water. Well then it came to me. I unhitched the trailer and reversed the tractor back ina large circle so it now faced down the slope, I then proceeded to reverse up the track to the hard ground.
Then I linked a large rope to the trailer and the front of the tractor and a chain to the tractor and the other vehicle and we set off up the slope. After 10 yards we hit a snag as the trailer and tractor became too remote so the other vehicle was used to pull the tractor back down the slope, the rope was shortened and the tow began again. Eventually we got the boat and trailer off the shore and I set off- still in reverse for the shed. It must have looked peculiar for any onlooker but then after all my sailing antics it probably just looks like another day out for me!! Anyway the boat is back in store, the tractor is back in its shed- it will be interesting to see what happens on Monday when the maintenance team return from their weekend off and try to move it- and another saga is complete. 1 hour preparation 3 hours sailing and 2 hour recovery- A typical Eriska sailing day!!