Monday 23 June 2014

Crannogs, Ossian and a Pinzgauer

This is Ossian, a young barn owl with attitude, who wanted to know where her evening mouse was. She wasn't impressed at having to fly back and forth between her perch and Colin's wrist just for a few morsels of day-old chick, and she wasn't shy about voicing her discontent. In flight, though, she was silent - and always, she was beautiful. I love barn owls.

Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy feeding the red deer at Highland Safaris, near Aberfeldy in Perthshire, with their wet black noses and velvety antlers. We're in the Highlands now, just, with bare blunt hills and rocky, peat-stained rivers. The heather's not in flower, but the broom is, the yellow bright on, finally, a dull day.
We went to the Crannog Centre on Loch Tay, a reconstruction of an Iron Age log house on stilts in the lake - and remarkably cosy it was. As usual, it was well presented, and our guide put all his breath, literally, into demonstrating fire-lighting as well as other ancient skills. It's a wonder, what you can do with a primitive bow.

And then we did the safari, in a unique ex-military 6-wheeled vehicle called a Pinzgauer - ideal for bouncing over the hills along rough tracks and through streams, past black-faced sheep with tails still attached, and shaggy-maned Highland ponies. We stopped at a bothy on top, for a cup of tea, a piece of shortbread and a wee dram of whisky, made just down in the valley by Dewars. We were meant to have a tour and a tasting there, but we couldn't fit it in. Sigh.


the queen said...

At bearizona they demonstrated the owl glide. The owl on stage locked eyes with me, chose me, and glided over my head. Ruffled my hair.

TravelSkite said...

I had that once, with a sea eagle in Australia. Fairly startling.


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