28 September 2014
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.
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!
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!
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.
24 September 2014
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?
Oooh, :-( a sad day taking the ranger tent down, but we had to make the most of the weather being so lovely before the rain hits this week apparently. We still have one weekend left though and Lesley and Graham will be keeping the maypole and the distance arrows up. We are leaving it up to the magic of the universe as to what we do next, but I'm sure we will come back often, Cobleland Campsite will always be a special place <3
Thank you lovely Oak tree for watching over our activities in the last six years. I will return regularly for a nice hug!
21 September 2014
Three raft builders today, here's the line up. Despite the quiet turnout, you wouldn't think it for the cheers by the river, then the tears! Everyone is a winner of course :-).
Andrew - The Blue Ribbon (1st)
Robert - The Dragon 'Fly' (3rd)
Finley - The Floating Jet Boat (2nd)
Whilst down by the finish line, we spotted a carefully placed otter spraint on the winner's rock. Jenni and her Dad were lucky enough to see an otter here last week, we are yet to be lucky but look forward to the day that we are.
20 September 2014
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!
The lovely David Wilkie has decided to take an early retirement and left The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre today. Although he will always fondly know his place of work as being the recently named 'David Marshall Lodge'!
Angela from ABCrafts made this amazing cake for him. He will be really missed and we are really grateful for all his help and encouragement, especially when we first arrived in the area. Watch this space for the October Strathard News. It looks like we will still see him around as he is thinking of getting a camper van!
17 September 2014
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!
16 September 2014
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.
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!
It was the third to last raft race and it was a busy one with thirteen raft designers hoping to claim the winner's prize. We haven't had much rain at all lately so it was a slow race (which meant I actually had time to record the winning order) and a couple of Dad's and Jenni had to help some of the rafts along as they kept stopping for a rest on the river's edge.
Darah - Birthday Wishes (Winner)
Adam - The Hoy (10th)
Sophie & Lauren - Molly (12th)
Liam - The Corries (6th)
Jenni & Jasmine - HMS Princess (7th)
Rachel - Fairy Friends (9th)
Connor - The Nine (3rd)
Nathan - Summer Solstice (4th)
Emily & Cian - The Cobbly Wobbly (8th)
Madeline - Magic (2nd)
Milly - Rosie (raced for fun - it was a Robertson's bottle)
Molly - Dumb (13th)
Samuel - Tessa's Boat (11th)
Cambell & Morgan - Bob (5th)