We really enjoy our visits to Doune. As well as making lace we get out and about quite often. It’s good after a morning, afternoon or whole day of lacemaking to have a leg stretch, up the hill, off to Inverie or Airor, or over to the Dun that gives Doune its name (left), perhaps to see ruins of the old settlement from which the people were evicted in the 1850s to be replaced by sheep – what is referred to as the Clearances.
The old field boundaries and field system are still obvious (left), as is the old grain kiln in the shadow of the large rock on the right of the photo on the right. I took quite a long walk around various sites and up to the top of three small hills around about, more than I have been able to walk for several years.
Another day, Morag, Mike and I set of to walk uphill to the road, then along the road towards Inverie (IN ver EE) and down a track to Sandaig, another bay along the coast. Unfortunately Morag developed a sore foot and decided to turn back, Mike going with her, so I continued alone.
The tide was way out when I reached the beach in front of Sandaig House (left) so I decided to walk right down to the water’s edge. It was interesting to see the worm casts of sand and little holes where marine creatures have buried into the wet sand when the tide was retreating. some had little “wicks” coming out of them. I wasn’t going to dig down to see what they were!
Back at Doune later, I was amazed to learn that I had walked about 8 miles (including the walk to the water’s edge and back)! and it hadn’t seemed like a hard slog!
During the second part of the week we had the company of a couple who went walking each day. They would go with Gavin in Gripper to a point from where they could walk a good few miles to get back to Doune. One day some of us went along on the boat for the ride! It was the calmest day with a bit of a heat haze over the coastline as we chugged around the coast into Loch Hourn (Hoorn) and up to Barrisdale where the two walkers had to clamber onto rocks and over to the shore where they started their walk.
Here’s Gavin returning to the boat after accompanying the couple ashore.
We even saw some porpoises leaping through the water, but otherwise there was no sightings of other wildlife at Doune, - well, apart from the split second view of a couple of stags on the hill above the road on the way to Sandaig. Still, there were plenty of wild flowers to be found. I was especially thrilled to find the tiny delicate Grass of Parnassus, left. Wild blue scabious
brambles, knapweed ,purple heather
At Doune itself there were the usual wild birds who came to feast on the peanuts in the hanging feeders outside the stone lodge dining room. Mostly chaffinches and sparrows, they queue up, waiting their turn to eat,(left) while the robin sings from the roof top, waiting to pick up the pieces that drop to the verandah.
Let me take you on a wee guided tour of the buildings, the people and pets of Doune, starting with a view of Gripper at the pier, and pets, Ron and Tally at the pier store..
Along the path to the stone lodges, in the last few years, a new building emerged, tucked between the rocks. To begin with it was very raw and new looking but has now matured and “grown into” the landscape. This is “RANZO”, (right) home of Mary and Alan, who originally renovated the White House and built the lodges.
Passing in front of Ranzo we see the stone lodges ahead with Jamie’s house on the hill above. Jamie, one of Alan’s and Mary’s two sons, was just a teenager when the family first spied Doune from the sea as they cruised down the coast, and is now married to Penny, who came to spend the summer working at Doune dining room some years ago.. Also up on the hillside but to the left is Liz’s and Andy’s house. Liz is the lacemaker who came up with the idea of a lace week, about 20 years ago.
and a beach all of our own! Margaret went swimming out there, but although I waded out so far, I couldn’t quite bring myself to get right under the water. It was ……. cold!!! Those are sea urchins and a scallop shell on the verandah rail! Don’t know who put them together like this!
A week at Doune always goes far too quickly. We arrive on a Saturday with a whole week stretching in front of us, Then suddenly it’s Wednesday, and the week just flies twice as fast from then on till Saturday is with us again and we are on our way home. Goodbye Doune till next year.
Talk again soon.,