Early January and the morning skies have been filled with vivid oranges, peaches and purples, as the sun has risen in all its splendour, providing the perfect backdrop to enjoy some gorgeous winter walks. I haven’t quite managed to peel the Happy Farmer away from the farm to join us on the jaunts but whilst he has been busy on feeding rounds, I have been enjoying hearty walks. The perfect tonic after the heady celebrations of an island Hogmanay.
Decorations have all been neatly packed and stored away for another year. So, as I made my way through the fields on the morning run, with dogs in tow, we were suddenly alerted to movement among the pine trees. Almost hidden from view, under a huge camouflage jacket, was a ‘lesser spotted’ Happy Farmer. Just maybe he was looking to get a bit of peace from the ‘ditching’ cars on our new ‘Hebridean motorway’, which leads, in a twisty, windy, single-track way, to the island’s distilleries. Hidden from sight, it wasn’t just the dogs barking that blew his cover, but the bellowing and roaring of the bull and cows coming from the neighbouring field and the loud bleating of the sheep as they rounded themselves up, all peering over the fence, looking on at the Happy Farmer in dismay. It seems everyone was wanting the Happy Farmer’s attention. I usually spy the tractor making its way across the fields with cows, bull and sheep in tow. A Happy Farmer at this time of year is a welcome sight for all the animals. Even Muffin and Hansel, our horses, can be seen with their noses hanging over the garden fence waiting to see what treats are going to be coming their way from the farmhouse kitchen. Anyhow, he was spotted, cover blown, busy planting the Persabus Christmas tree back into the ground, carefully securing it with a stake, to allow it to settle in once again, and continue growing, following its brief Christmas holiday in the farmhouse.
My hearty jaunts then have taken me over ‘the bridge’ to the Mull of Oa as youngest and I enjoyed rambling along the pathway to the American monument. A wild and blustery day, and the frothy sea spray was being blown from the crashing waves below right up and over the dramatic cliffs that surround this rugged and stunningly beautiful coastline. The monument providing quite a backdrop as the sun began to set across the Atlantic.
Out beyond Bunnahabhain we were among otters and deer. The silhouette of a lone stag could be seen on the skyline, grazing away. Peated waterfalls were bubbling down the hillside with the sun lighting up the purple and golden hues of a Jura landscape, across the white capped Sound.
The Lochs in Dunlossit woods provided crystal clear reflections of the skies above as we made our way along the track and through the drive, dogs in tow, as the sunset through the trees and dusk began to fall.
In January, if the weather is kind, the range and depth of colour and light is both dramatic and beautiful. As the island quietens down nature comes out to play in all its glory.
Winter breaks on Islay can be just the tonic after the busy festivities.
At Persabus we offer a variety of accommodation, whether you are wanting to stay in our farmhouse bed and breakfast suite, where you can enjoy a dram in our whisky lounge and comfortable super king-size double beds in either of the two ensuite bedrooms. Or, cosy up in one of our self-catering cottages beside the fireside, and enjoy all the homely comforts on offer. Persabus Cottage was the original farmhouse at Persabus and offers traditon and comfort, whilst the Millhouse has a more modern finish and was renovated from the old steadings that once housed the mill that threshed the corn on the farm. For hardy campers there is the opportunity to pitch your tent in the beautiful surroundings at Persabus, just a short distance from the North Islay Distilleries. Best of all, a good hearty breakfast from the Happy Farmer is on offer with all these options.
We look forward to offering you a warm welcome at Persabus soon.
Until next time…