[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]While travelling through the Scottish countryside it won’t be long before you are confronted with a sea of bright yellow. The prickly gorse bush. On a warm day, the yellow flower gives off an aroma of coconut. These warm sunny days are the ones I use to collect the yellow flowers which are then fermented into a delicate white wine.
As with all good things, there is the inevitable pain. Even after years of practice collecting these vicious, bushes flower I still get the odd sharp, sturdy painful thorn penetrates my callused skin. Adorning gloves is no defence for these hardened thorns, but with care, minimal discomfort outweighs the end result, WINE. The only way I have found to collect the delicate flower is to ask some else to collect them for me, like the wife :).
I am also happy to exchange a bottle of gorse wine for a bucket of the flowers for those of you passing our way.
There’s no magic to making gorse wine, but as with all brewing, your equipment needs to be clean and sterilised. After making a tea from the gorse flowers, straining then adding sugar, yeast little patience is required to let time do the work. By Xmas of the same year, you will have some delicious wine which will only improve with age.
Just another offering from Scotland’s larder.
Don’t forget, turn up with a bucket of gorse flowers and I will exchange for a bottle of the completed wine (and provide plasters for the fingers ) See you Soon![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
This sometimes can be the greeting we receive from our new incoming guest. ‘Yes, we have’ is our reply.
All the panic and anxiety is seen to disappear from them as soon as they hear those lifesaving words.
‘Yes, we have WiFi’.
Technology and connect ability is a marvelous thing, but don’t let it rob you of the sights and sounds of where you have been. So intent are we of posting where we are, what we’re doing, that we don’t see what we are looking at.
The main daily objective now seems to be to get the best selfie in the best location, post it, wait for the response and how many likes we get, then onto the next location to take and post the next installment, without taking a moment to absorb their surroundings.
It wasn’t so long ago that we had to wait until we returned from holiday then have our Kodak film developed at the chemist before showing all our friends where we had been. This ritual seemed to prolong the holiday enjoyment as after enduring a week of excited anticipation waiting for your photos being developed, the holiday was relieved each time you meet with a friend or relative to show your prized holiday pictures. Now we have shown everyone the digital images before we have even left the location we took them (unless you are somewhere without a signal – arg ). Once returned home the holiday is over and everyone knows what you did and what you saw.
Visiting Scotland can’t be rushed, take your time see the views, walk on the beaches, surf the waves, watch the wildlife, climb the mountains, eat the food, and taste whiskey and relax. Your postings can wait till you get back to civilization. What a talking point you be, when you have been out of signal for days – how did you survive, you will be asked. There will also be many days’ enjoyment reliving your holiday in Scotland with your friends and family over a ‘we dram’ you’ll have acquired along your journey. All this extra enjoyment we give to you for free.
Scotland is better known for its highlands, whiskey, lochs and bagpipes than for waves, but there’s little doubt that all three of Scotland’s coasts receive excellent waves. With the improvements in wetsuit technology these days, more and more surfers are braving the cold to seek out Scotland’s thick, heavy barrels, in uncrowded line-ups. The West Coast is one of the remotest surf zones in Europe, fully deserving its reputation as the “Wild West”. Offshore from Cape Wrath, the NW corner of Scotland, the Inner and Outer Hebrides take the brunt of the massive west swells. The drier East Coast enjoys swell from both North Atlantic and North Sea storms, and enjoys a predominantly offshore wind. The remote Orkney and Shetland Islands further north see the occasional hardcore surfer and are known to hide a few lonely but perfect set-ups.
The ÒNorth ShoreÓ is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of EuropeÕs premier heavy water destinations. The wildly scenic coast, divided between the counties of Caithness and Sutherland, runs from John OÕGroats to Cape Wrath. The difference is marked, the flat slab reefbreaks and low-lying topography of Caithness are a stark contrast to the mountains, honey coloured rocks and sandy beaches of Sutherland. Like its Hawaiian namesake the North Shore surf can get huge and currents can be treacherous. The plus side is the area is very consistent. Thurso East is the jewel in the North ShoreÕs crown; the world-famous reef is one of EuropeÕs finest waves, when it breaks. Unlike most of the N shore waves Thurso is quite fickle and has a limited swell window. The town itself is the only settlement of any size and the only place with full facilities. Going west the breaks are more exposed and spots like Brimms Ness hoover up any swell going. Swells from the W round to NE can occur year round, September to November are the prime months for good swell and reasonable weather. Deep winter and spring can be cold and classic, flat or wildly out of control. The area is one of the most sparsely populated in the UK so surfing by yourself, or with a few seals, is a real possibility.
Many holidaymakers/visitors to the highlands of Scotland often assume that Inverness is ‘at the top ’, there is however a further 125 miles north which is often missed.
Sutherland and Caithness is a unique area with stunning scenery. With its remote, peacefully sandy beaches and open spaces, I believe it is the only area left in the UK, that has a real sense of wilderness.
The right to access in Scotland gives everyone the freedom to explore this beautiful part of Scotland. The right of access needs to be respected Scottish Outdoor Access Code to ensure that it remains.
The short video below will hopeful encourage anyone planning to come to the highlands of Scotland, to travel beyond Inverness to ‘The Far North’. See you soon!