Wind and rain herald the beginning of winter here in Wester Ross, and it can be a tad wild! I think one of the things I love most about Scotland is in fact it’s weather… I suppose you have to, to live with that unpredictability! The seasons are very clearly marked in colour, not necessarily what is in the sky! We can have very clear sunny winter days, and cold wet summer ones. The likelihood of it changing within a 4 hour period is well… likely. But, look to the trees and the sea and the mountains and the veritable artists palette confirms which season we are in. Now, the trees are bursting with fire and gold, russett red leaves and moss soaked trunks. Heather shrubs flash bruised purple amongst the bog and moors. The mountains themselves are getting darker and greyer, preparing for their winter coat of snow. The burns and rivers are running hard now with all the rain, and froth a violent brown and white. It’s all fairly dramatic stuff and rather magnificent. The sea is one of my favourite markers of time, it’s huge fat swell and rise this time of year draws your eye to the horizon, with black clouds ghosting over Skye and Applecross. Often a crack of light and glittering sun breaks through and a cold sparkling beam frames a patch of land. (Where I can only imagine folks are, inside of their hopefully snug wee homes… talking about the weather!) Walking in this weather is always worst before you actually wrap yourself up in waterproof jacket and wellies, grab the lead from the hook and concede to the pleading eyes of a small, bouncy, weather oblivious pup and take the first steps out. I have a 20 minute rule – I ignore my inner voice, whingeing and cajoling me to go back home….make it quick… do a pee, do a pee (the pup, obviously) and practice a little mindfulness. Plod on for 20 minutes then I start to enjoy it. The roaring of Stags in the distance, birds still busy and boggy squelches as we meander. There always seems to be something else to see and as the trees lose their leaves viewpoints change and the land shows itself. Of course, there are beautiful sunny days and crisp fresh skies. Then it is much less of a chore…and becomes a wonderful little gift during the short days and long months of winter.
So, a few thoughts on the landscape but as always the restaurant provides the focus for our lives here- will we stay open through the winter, what else will we do? At the moment we are looking forward to the festive season and will continue to open over the weekends. Certainly Sunday seems to be popular with locals and visitors alike – a roaring woodburner, a roast dinner or seafood platter and a view out to the weather.