Can you believe another month has passed since my last newsletter. How time flies...
I hope all is well in your life and you have been enjoying the first signs of Spring. However, not to dampen your Spring spirits too much, I remember my gran always said that if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion. Well, it certainly came in like a lamb and we have been experiencing magnificent weather. We are now into our 20th consecutive day of dry and/or sunny
weather. I'm thinking this must be a record for Scotland. Not just for February but for any month in the year!
The mountains are still holding their snow. Winter mountaineers have been experiencing magnificent conditions with known ice ridges providing excellent climbing. Those participating at all levels of walking, hiking and mountaineering have been enjoying wonderful days in such conditions.
Portnellan's Online Availability and Booking System is launched
I have not long finished the laborious task of data entry for the new online booking and availability system supplied by Supercontrol. It is now live on the Portnellan website. Naturally, I am so pleased that that task is over. I launched it live on the website last week after beta testing the product as much as I could. There are still a few matters that arise as the system is being used but ultimately it is working successfully.
Apart from now being able to book immediately and direct from the website the back office of Supercontrol is a delight. Availability is instantly updated. The system is also designed to update all my online agents. Confirmations will be raised automatically and emailed out. A host of guest information can be added. Text and email notifications can be raised and booking statistics can be monitored.
This marks a big step in the direction of our continuing commitment to provide top-class customer service so I hope you find it worthwhile. It does not mean that there will be less personal contact; I am always here for you to speak to.
This is such a magnificent time of year as nature awakens from its Winter slumbers. How lucky we are being able to enjoy the delights of snowdrops peeping through the soil with the promise of daffodils blooming in the near future knowing that this time next month, trees will start to blossum, plantlife will begin to reach upwards and lambs will be gambolling in the fields. I can't wait.
If this is not enough to entice you to come and visit Portnellan and the beautiful countryside, I am offering a further 10% discount on all reservations for the month of April commencing 2nd April 2013. Please ask for details when reserving your accommodation.
Tempur Mattress and Pillow available to hire
In our continuing programme of providing the best service,I have become aware that more and more people are using this product. Obviously,it is vitally important that you have a great night's sleep when on holiday and although Portnellan's environment is perfect for rest and relaxation, a successful and enjoyable holiday can not be achieved on a restless night's sleep. We have always taken great pride in the condition and comfort of our beds but now, for those who enjoy a softer feel bed, it is possible to hire a Tempur mattress and pillow. Please enquire on availability upon booking. They are priced at £20 per stay.
Killin Mountain Rescue Team
More and more people are taking to the great outdoors and enjoying all sorts of pursuits. An increasing number are taking to the mountains in Winter and an increase in incidents
is inevitable. Latterly, the Killin Mountain Rescue have been busier than ever in our area with 11 call-outs in the last 9 days. These men and women brave the most unbelievable conditions in all hours to conduct a rescue and you never know, one day it might be you. For those of you who enjoy the outdoors please do not
forget to pledge generously towards this volunteer organisation. Collection boxes are often placed on shop counters,in doctors' surgeries etc. local to where the Mountain Rescue Team is supported. Please click the following link to our local mountain rescue website. The history of its creation is
detailed with a number of very interesting stories
Most of you reading this know that Portnellan is located at the foot of Ben More which towers above the lodges and cottages. It is a tremendous mountain and a joy to wake up to every morning. Many, many people climb the hill all year round. I have attached a photograph of the Sea King helicopter which lands adjacent to Portnellan when conducting a mountain rescue on the Ben.
Please click the following link to our local mountain rescue website. The history of the Killin Mountain Rescue Team is detailed with a number of very interesting stories including a rescue dating back to 1874 on Ben More.
Finally, the owner of Gamekeeper, Mr Nigel Spencer, is a keen amateur
photographer. He recently entered a competition through the Royal
Photographic Society and won a first class holiday to South Africa with the following photograph. Please click the following link to view the
Photograph. Nigel has provided a little information of where, when and how
the photograph was captured.
The Willow Grouse Image was taken near to Kuusamo in Eastern Finland in March 2012 during a two week visit specifically doing wildlife photography. The first week was spent in the Boreal forests photographing eagles, owls and woodpeckers, and other woodland species. The second week we moved north to photograph Pine Grosbeaks, Siberian jay, and Reindeer before moving to the far north of Norway to the Bearents Sea to try our luck with King Eider and other sea ducks. Towards the end of the first week, we had heard there was a male Willow Grouse in the Kussumo area quite close to where we staying. We drove to the area, and it took quite some time to locate the bird. When we found it, it was walking along various hedge lines and not in a good position for photography. Eventually it moved out into some snowy fields and a much more open position. I decided that I had to get low down to get any chance of good images. As soon as I stepped off the path, I found myself waist deep in snow and in that low position. It was very cold indeed, a long way below freezing, but the light was good and I knew I had too keep shooting as it was a great opportunity.
Bird – Willow Grouse (male) (*Lagopus lagopus*)
2nd March 2012
Canon 70 – 200 f2.8L IS USM lens
Focal length used 150 mm
Aperture – 2.8
Shutter 1 / 320th second
Natural light – no flash
I am sure you will agree the photograph is simply beautiful.
Congratulations Nigel and we hope you and Sue have a wonderful holiday.
That's all for now. 'Til next time.