Nix's News

Last Activity Weekend at Cobleland Campsite

We've had a lovely but emotional last weekend here at Cobleland, this will always be a happppeeee place for us and thank you to all those who we have met and who have joined in with our activities over the years who have helped to make it so special.  Scotland has proved an enriching experience in so many ways and it now feels like our second home, so thank you to all the lovely people of Scotland for making us feel so welcome, this land here is indeed very special and magical! Who knows where our journey will take us next but I'm sure we will come back soon and often.

Teapot Cottage

Will has just about finished creating Teapot Cottage using reclaimed wood or off-cuts from the forest.  A couple of pesky vandalism incidents in the summer meant the finish time was delayed, but hopefully now that it is a finished sturdy structure kids will just love coming across this in Teapot Wood and look after it for both themselves and the faeries to enjoy.

We had a few tackle the Chocolate Quest in Teapot Wood on Saturday and the day finished off lovely with a great bat walk long with 25 campers (and 2 rather fluffy dogs) eager to learn about and to see the bats.

Here Dave the bat is about to try to devour all the little moths, he got one!

The Wacky Forth Races

Our last race attracted a few, plus campsite managers, Lesley and Graham decided to try their luck too!

Rafts Pictured from left with Jasmine, Sam, Rosie and Darah:

Scarlett - The Rescue Boat (3rd)

Connie - Teen Zombie From Mars (Connie was stuck for a name for her raft, the name eventually came from the top she was wearing)

Darah - Mushrooms Beautiful (2nd)

Jasmine - The Dead Boat (1st - and overall reigning champion for most wins during the season)!

Rosie - Speedy (4th)

Sam - The Ship of Doom

Duncan - The African Queen

Graham - The Barfly

Lesley - We'll Miss You!

Well done to all who have taken part in this 'adrenaline rush' sport that is  'The Wacky Forth Races'. The anxiety of which has come more from watching the rafts meander through the obstacles of trees and adverse wind conditions rather than the speed of the river lately though.  I'm sure the rain will return soon but in the meantime thanks for such lovely weather this season and for not having to cancel many activities!

Surprise Tea Party

That sneaky Lesley is getting a dab hand at surprise parties lately! What a lovely surprise after our last event today to get together with everyone and stuff ourselves with cake, cake, a biscuit and more cake :-).  Thanks for all your lovely gifts and well wishes and thank you Lesley and Graham for always being so lovely and for helping and supporting us along the way.... and for this amazing cake to take away for our trip to Knoydart - that should keep us going!

The twins, Chaos and Mayhem, made this lovely picture for us today. Very accurate eh, I love how kids are so observant :-)

Keep in touch everyone! We'll keep you all posted if we are back in the area, or planning any events wherever we are as it will be lovely to meet up.  I'll be adding interesting nature stuff and more to the main website this winter too.


Morning Walk at Tigh Mor

The sun was shining and thankfully two lovely people, Andy and Sarah joined us on our last big walk for the season at Tigh Mor. From Brig O'Turk and into Glen Finglas before coming out past the famous bicycle tree. We talked forest folklore, history, flora and fauna, plus we sampled a few wild food nibbles along the way!

Loch Venachar from Drippin.

Looking Towards Glen Finglas.

Telling one of my favourite stories about fly agaric, the fairy-tale toadstool.  First I like to use a balloon and a piece of wet tissue to demonstrate how the toadstool gets it's spots. There are so many interesting stories centered around this lovely toadstool: How do Santa's reindeer fly? How does Santa fit down the chimney on Christmas Eve? Where does the saying 'going out on the p***' come from?


Activities at Cobleland Campsite

Could this be our last weekend for activities here? The sun is shining, but I hear that the rain is to return by mid-week!  Met some lovely new families to the site this weekend and despite being a quiet tranquil weekend, we were busy for activities.

Here is Millie's lovely pendant.  Her favourite animal is a deer, but she also had some rather cute dogs camping with her, Sprocket and Orla the puppy.

Here are this week's wands, from left: Finlay's Hazel, Millie, Harris, Daniel (not pictured - he needed a nap), Reece and Lily-Ann all chose Hawthorn. Actually, Millie needed a nap too, probably after all the running around for the Chocolate Quest earlier, which she needed to do in order to burn off all the calories before winning the humongous chocolate bar!

12 bat detectors joined us for the Bat Walk and despite the chilly evening there were lots of bats swooping around our heads trying to eat up as much as they could ready for their winter naps. Leo made an excellent bat for the game, although he went hungry as he only managed to catch one moth!


Morning Walk at Tigh Mor

Another gorgeous day out doing guided walks for Arthur, this time around Glen Finglas with 4 lovely couples. Lots of nice mushrooms to talk about, but not many rowan berries this year.  This is said to foretell a mild winter, but I'm not sure as there were loads of berries last year and then we had lots of rain and no snow - lots of wind though but we will have to wait and see.  This month has been an unusually dry one, you can usually only see the trees on the island pictured below in the Glen Finglas Reservoir!


Morning Ramble at Forest Hills

Two lovely couples from yesterdays walk decided to join us for a longer ramble around the Loch Ard forest.  We decided to take in the two faerie hills of the area and there were fittingly lots of fungi to look at and talk about.  We took a well earned rest at Doon Hill and enjoyed some spruce tea and biscuits before leaving our gifts and wishes on leaves for the faeries.

Doon Hill is a sacred spot for the faeries where wishes are left to naturally degrade. It's said to be unlucky to take anything from a faerie hill and they do like a nice natural gift, or maybe some honey, cheese or milk, or even to help them by collecting litter along the way.

The Minister's Pine can be seen popping out of the top of Doon Hill from a distance. This is said to mark the faerie portal which the local Minister, Rev. Robert Kirk was invited to enter in order to discover and correct unfair representations of the fae.  There are many variations of the story, but most center around his mysterious disappearance in 1692, some say to the faerie realms for protection, some say this was due to publishing their secrets, although I hear that his spirit has since been released from becoming entrapped.

 

So many LBJ's ('little brown job' mushrooms), so we were unable to identify all of them, although the big one has been created by a clever local wood carver and makes this a lovely picture to photograph.

 


Morning Stroll with Forest Hills

As Arthur is in the Dolomite's, we were lucky enough to take in the beauty of his guided walks as we cover for him at Forest Hills and Tigh Mor this week. We were joined by 23 lovely strollers around a lovely circuit of Lochan Spling dotted around the edges of which was fly agaraic, the fairytale toadstool, gorgeous.

 

Here is one of the sculptures along the route, a huge dragonfly with it;s 'Alien-like' punching jaws! 


Activities at Cobleland Campsite

Wooden Pendants

The weather is just fabulous which means lots of happy campers enjoying the trees and the fresh air.  After the chocolate Quest we decided to get crafty and here are some lovely pendants the kids came up with.

Jasmine's neclis :-)

Darah's butterfly design, a sea shell was added later.

Lauren's glitterball of a pendant resulted in Will looking like he was ready for an episode of Strictly!

Sophie's ruby encrusted butterfly.

Will can't sit still for long so he came up with this crab face :-).

Magick Wands

Jenni was back this weekend again to add another wand to her collection, also a few lads wanting to know how to do some spells to their Dad's.  I had to inform them that they couldn't use them for mischievous spells though, which includes turning a Dad into a frog!

From left: Max's Oak, Alfie's Oak, Jenni's Hazel, Sam's Oak, Harry's Oak and Samuel's Hazel. Connor made a Hazel wand but suddenly rushed off during spell teaching, obviously couldn't wait to get to work!

Bat Walk

Lovely to see so many people interested in bats and coming along to the bat walk. We had lots of sorprano pipistrelle's showing off their acro'bat'ic abilities above our heads in the trees. We also had some owls screeching on our way back to camp. 

We later heard the Miller family were having fun when they got back to camp with an Egyptian story that I mention when I talk about owls. It is said that if a Pharaoh took a dislike to someone they would send them a picture of an owl in the post.  If you were unlucky enough to receive the owl picture it was expected of you to take your own life and the owl would then be your guide to the otherworld! I think everyone was getting the owl card then :-).


Activities at Tigh Mor

It's back to the adult bushcraft sessions at Tigh Mor every Thursday until the end of September and it was perfect weather with lovely company.

Loch Achray opposite Tigh Mor, what a lovely view this wee willow tree and Devil's bit scabious has.

The bat walk is still proving popular, especially as the daylight hours are shorter which means we can enjoy the bats and get to bed at a normal hour.  The mist rolled in over the loch which made watching the water bats all the more special as they magically appeared out of the mist to circle close to the water's edge. We even had a couple of tawny owls screeching at us on the way back :-). 


Activities at Forest Hills

Morning Ramble

We were back out with Arthur again, this time for a longer walk in readiness for covering his walks next week. Here is a cheeky chap peering through the heather and a fox 'n' cub orange flower up on the highland boundary fault line near Aberfoyle.

Fantastic views beyond the broom and across the heather to the hills behind Aberfoyle.


Activities at Forest Hills

Morning Stroll

We had a fabulous day, all starting off following Arthur from Trossachs Treks on his morning stroll so that we were ready to cover his walks there for the next two weeks while he is on holiday.  We some lovely people including a family from Deli who were kind enough to share some local plant uses, basil tea is a must apparantly!

Can you spot the third fish?

Then we met a lovely family on our Bushcraft walk, who were really refreshingly passionate, about everything really :-). They were especially interested in our Douglas fir tea and a recipe for Douglas fir chocolate pots for their new cafe 'The Black Douglas' - it's got to be done! Here is the recipe from The Forager's Kitchen by Fiona Bird.

Douglas Fir Chocolate Pots

What to forage and find:
Sprig Douglas fir, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 inches (6-8 cm) in length, washed and dried
1 1/2 cups (300ml) light (single) cream
7 oz (200g) bittersweet (dark) chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
1 medium (small UK) egg
2 teaspoons Douglas Fir syrup (or pine sugar)

What to do:
1. Put the Douglas fir sprig and cream into a pan and scald it over a low heat. Do not allow the cream to boil. Set aside for an hour to allow the flavor to infuse and then remove the sprig.

2. Put the chocolate into a food processor and pulse to break it into small pieces. Take care: the machine may need to be held in place.

3. Reheat the cream (do not allow it to boil). Slowly pour the hot cream into the food processor and pulse, ensuring that the chocolate doesn't overflow down the sides of the machine. If you don't chop the chocolate first,  it may do this. So slowly does it.

4. Add the egg to the hot chocolate cream, blend and then add the Douglas fir syrup or pine sugar. Pour into pots and refrigerate until set.

Bat Walk

Then the day finished off nicely on our Bat Walk, out under the magic light of another supermoon.  Here is Jonathan the bat about to reveal himself again - the moon reveals us for what we really are!