"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
As we enter into our last week before Christmas, snow has arrived at last.
Not the gentle falling soft snow that you know is going to lie and carpet the ground in white peacefulness,no, this was the freezing driving stuff that comes straight from the arctic,horizontally, doesnít come to very much but can chill you to the bone in minutes. However with the cold weather,generally, comes drier conditions and we prefer that.
The chilling cold puts added pressure on the wildlife and I have watched a flock of bullfinches ,wonderfully colourful birds,working away at frozen seedheads in the herb garden,recently. Large flocks of siskins have also been common of late. These brightly coloured wee birds seem to come and go and this year they are much more numerous than in recent years. Perhaps they are migrant birds driven across the North Sea due to lack of food in their early wintering areas. Who knows but they are a welcome addition to the birdlife of the gardens. We have had recent discussions with representatives of The Big Tree Country. It may well be that the Palace grounds will be used in a new conifer initiative, planting rare or endangered conifers in various locations where they can be looked after and nurtured to give future generations the chance to see these magnificent trees as they mature,something that our predecessors did in the 1880ís when they planted up the Palace grounds with a whole variety of rare trees which we benefit from now. Another initiative which we are looking into is,possibly, joining with Tayside Biodiversity Action Group to locate a camera in the grounds which would feedback live pictures of our red squirrels to some point within the hotel. Itís early days yet but it is something Kenny and I have been considering for quite a few years.
In the hotel we potted up two young Yuccas a couple of years ago.We didnít care for them much, an occasional feed and water but,despite sparse attention,they grew mightily and a request was made to trim them back. Not one for doing things in half measures, I consulted the book, and cut them back drastically. This resulted in 14 young plants which the book said would grow on if potted up. So in the coming year you might see a forest of new Yuccas around the hotel,in which case the book was correct. If you donít, the book was wrong.
A Happy Christmas to you all and I hope the coming year is good to you. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.