"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 move into February the ground is still rock hard. The middle pond is frozen over and the putting green has had a covering of hard ice since late November. Itís been a long winter and the forecasters are suggesting significant snow from mid-February onwards....so the sight of a snowdrop or crocus peeking through the snow and ice is so welcome at this time.
We did have a bit of a thaw a week or so ago which shifted most of the snow and caused a major flood. We empty the top pond every few years to clear it of gravel and sand and it is astonishing just how much gets deposited by a wee burn, in a matter of years. So in the next few days we will remove most of the silt and it wouldnít surprise me if we were talking about several hundred tons.One can only presume it was dug out by hand in Victorian times, quite a thought! In the world of commodity trading it appears that peanuts are on a high. The bags of peanuts which we buy for the squirrels and birds cost £23 or so last year, this year we are quoted £58....someone somewhere is making a very large profit,I fear. Throughout this prolonged wintery spell the red squirrels have been very quiet but just recently, as it has warmed a little, we are again seeing them chasing about in the canopy, often two or three together and we havenít seen a grey for nearly 8 months now but that might change shortly as marauding males will be on the look out for new territories.
One little bird we have seen quite alot of recently is the dipper. Usually associated with the burns and rivers the icy conditions will have made life tough for this hardy bird. However, in the middle pond where a small fountain keeps the water ice-free the dipper can be seen there,daily, feeding in the open water around the fountain. As I write this in the first week of February I look out to driving snow....role on spring and a bit of warmth. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
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