It’s a great time to be here in the Cairngorms. The weather is finally turning away from the snows of winter (though there are still a few occasional days of surprise) and green areas are returning to the national park. All the wildlife is extremely active and fiesty – especially the birds who are desperately trying to settle in to the business of “going forth and multiplying”.
Wildlife is sprung!
The lambs are growing – looking forward to Spring Lamb on the menu!
Capercaillie are displaying to good effect for birders and interested tourists prepared to get up at the unsocial hour of 5am. The RSPB are running their usual Capercaillie watch until the end of May from the Loch Garten Osprey Centre. Richard Thaxton of the RSPB has written a veryinteresting articleabout the future of the Capercaillie and it’s current position on the RSPB website which makes for very interesting reading.
Though the Capercaillie lec (which is when the males are displaying their dances to attract the female Capers) at the Osprey Centre, the focus is of course, on the Ospreys themselves. EJ has been the resident female osprey at the centre for many years. She and her mate Odin, are once again incubating eggs in the Loch Garten nest. Odin has been the resident male osprey at Loch Garten for 5 years. You can follow their adventures and the osprey saga on the RSPB blog(Capercaillie photo by kind permission of Jamie MacArthur of Ornithography.com)
It’s such a lovely time for both birders and families to visit the National Park. There are plenty of young animals to view at the Highland Wildlife Parkwho have also recently added wolverines to the park. The Highland Wildlife Park is the only place in the UK to see polar bears now.
There are other wildlife watching opportunities in or near the park as well. Check these out:
Speyside Wildlife Pine Marten Hide– an excellent opportunity to see these elusive creatures and an entertainment in itself. You need to be prepared so wrap up warmly and don’t wear any strong scents or deodrants which may discourage the animals from visiting.
Rothiemurchus fish farm– to see the Ospreys hunting
And of course, don’t forget the biggest mammal in the Park – theCairngorm Reindeer herd
Opportunties to see all these creatures are available during a stay in the Cairngorms National Park though your best chances are usually by taking on the services of an experienced local guide who’ll have the most up-to-date knowledge of sightings.
We’ve included lots of wildlife highlights in our new suite of family adventures. See our family holiday pages for full details.
Not all the trees have acquired their leaves yet and the daffodils are still in full bloom as we approach the end of May – we must be in the Highlands. All those down in the balmy south near London or worse in Devon, think of Spring as beginning in March. Here we can still think of April as a winter month, so when the plants finally start to green it is even more of a joy.
The first signs of Spring in the garden (even before the grass starts to grow) are the first shoots of mint and the red buds of rhubarb poking through the soil. We’ve now picked our first crop and have already made jam. Guess what combination we used with the rhubarb?
All the herbs are busy trying to outstrip demand – need more guests to munch/drink through the supply. Our Belgian birdwatchers at the beginning of May did their best with the increasing demand for “tisanes”. We used sage, mint, lemongrass, citronella and lemon balm during the week. We also added chives and salad burnet to dishes served during the week they were here. Any more ideas for using the bountiful herb supply welcome – please let us know. We will shortly be restocking the dried herbs for the winter (by drying the herbs trying to take over the garden); producing more ice cream (lemon thyme & mint make exceptional ice cream flavours); selling pots of herbs to raise funds for our nominated charity (yet to be decided).
Use of herbs and chance to supply your garden are all added bonuses to a stay atFraoch Lodge
Both fresh and dried herbs are supplied to our guests. We’ve also supplied Anderson’s Restaurant when overcome with herbs!