Cameron's Blog

This is my blog... enjoy. Cameron.

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Cameron Taylor

Cameron Taylor

Hello, pleased to meet you. My name is Cameron, I am the eldest son of the Taylor family who have lived, owned and run Portnellan for the last thirty years. I live on-site with my beautiful wife Elaine, our newly born son Lachlan, 5 ducks named Hardy, Jemima, Meg, The Duck with no Name, Mucky and Trueman the cat.

Afternoon,

Just letting you know that Christmas and Hogmanay prices are now live on the website and once again Portnellan will be looking to celebrate a traditional and fun filled Hogmanay.

Prices start from as little as £285.00 for a 3 nights stay over Christmas.

 

Our regular bonfire and fireworks display on Hogmanay. The 'loony dook' in Loch Iuibhair on the morning of the 1st January 2014 and your Hogmanay would not be complete without the annual New Years night dance in the McLaren Hall, Killin.

The dance has been held for as many years as I can remember. A great night with a traditional 'Jimmy Shand' style band and a BYOB policy. The dance floor is never empty from the moment the band strike a cord through to the wee hours.

Remember, we can lighten the burden of your grocery shopping if you take advantage of the grocery order form. This has been compiled exclusively for the guests of Portnellan by Bryan and Isla at the Crianlarich Village Store. A small overall discount is offered with free delivery on the day of your arrival. The order form is emailed out with your confirmation when you book up.

Cameron

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March Newsletter

 

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.

 

Spring Special

 

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.

 

http://www.killinmrt.org.uk/pages/team-history.php

 

Winning photo

 

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.

 

http://photos.wexas.com/wildlife-photo-competition-winners

 

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.

 

Image details

Bird – Willow Grouse (male) (*Lagopus lagopus*)

Kussamo, Finland

2nd March 2012

16:00

Canon 7D

Canon 70 – 200 f2.8L IS USM lens

Focal length used 150 mm

Aperture priority

Aperture – 2.8

Shutter 1 / 320th second

ISO 400

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.

 

Cameron

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Most of us will be very happy to see the back of January and although every month at Portnellan brings its own beauty, I must be honest and admit January is never my favourite month. Short days, long nights and the usual cold, wet and windy weather that goes with January in the Highlands of Scotland can be testing at times.

Having said this the start of January for Portnellan was positively tropical. Touching over 10C on some days but the Wintry weather soon set in around the middle of the month and the whole place was covered in some deep snow. The end of the month has been a little indifferent with temperatures rising once again and the rain and wind returning.

Now we have escaped into February I thought I would keep you up to date with a few happenings over the last few weeks.

New Recycling Depot

It is no secret that the cost of disposing our waste will continue to increase. With this in mind it makes absolute sense to provide a facility at Portnellan to deal with as much, if not all, of the personal rubbish generated whilst on holiday here. Late last year I cleared an area at the road end where all the bins and recycling tubs will be located. This will include recycling glass, tins, paper, cardboard and plastic containers. I also intend to have a compost facility. Overall Portnellan will make steps to recycle over 90% of the waste produced reducing our carbon footprint considerably.

New Bikes for Hire

We are about to take delivery of a stock of mountain bikes of various sizes. Supplied by 'Comrie Croft Bikes' they will be available to hire from Portnellan complete with a small repair kit. There will be a selection of helmets available but if you have your own bring it with you, there is nothing so comfortable as your own saddle... Comrie Croft have been contracted to maintain the bikes throughout the year. I intend to have a selection of cycle routes of differing abilities in both hard copy and to download on the Portnellan website. Watch this space for more information.

Wi-Fi

Having recognised the importance to our guests of being able to access the internet whilst on holiday I have recently had installed a brand new uprated WiFi system. The previous system was not up to the challenge of the Portnellan Estate and the new system is already performing 100% better.

Tri the Highlands 

With the recent boom in adventure and endurance events recently including Triathlon I have launched a new product at Portnellan; two training weekends on 5th April and 3rd May 2013. These are not boot camp type weekends. The degree of training will be tailored to your needs, wants and general ability. The idea being that you can come and train with open water swimming, cycling and running early morning and early evening allowing you the time in between to enjoy a holiday with family and/or friends. The training sessions are coordinated and supervised by a fully qualified fitness instructor, Pete Waugh. Both a good friend of mine, and a fellow triathlete, Pete lives locally and has his own personal training business as well as extensive experience in long and short distance triathlons. Have a look at the following link for further information and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

http://www.portnellan.info/index.php/trithehighlands

Bed Toppers  

A good sleep is vitally important when on holiday. The surroundings at Portnellan are peaceful and tranquil especially at night. All the beds we have are of 'contract supreme' quality and for some these may be a slightly firmer bed than what they are used to. For 2013 I have introduced the option of requesting a bed mattress topper to add a softer feel. Should you wish a bed topper on your bed for your arrival, please just let me know prior to arriving.

That's all for now. I'll be back in touch at the end of the month.

Cameron, Elaine and Lachlan.

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Look who came to visit. A rare sight in these parts but a sighting is promising that there maybe more at Portnellan. In fact, I think this is the first time I have ever seen a squirrel at Portnellan. Red or grey.

Some of the widlife spotted at Portnellan recently is as follows.

Pinemarten, Fox, Red Squirrel, Vole, Mole

Birds that are commonly seen at Portnellan are as follows

Candaian Geese, Whooper Swans, Kingfisher, Jay, Woodpecker (male, female and baby), Cuckoo, Osprey, Heron, Eagle, Buzzard, Swallow, Pipestrial Bat, Chaffinch, Tits, Tree Creeper, Bull finch and Tawny Owl

There are many more species out there, that to the trained eye would be found. The mentioned above is what can be seen from just walking around the estate and being down by the loch and riverside.  

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Bruce Robb is a heavyweight Highland Games competitor who tours the length and breadth of Scotland entertaining thousands of people at Highland Games events.

A goliath of a man that stands well over 6 feet tall and near just as broad but you will not meet a finer gentleman. If you speak with him at a games whilst on holiday at Portnellan, you will be sure to agree. 

Bruce has been competing at heavyweight level for over ten years now and also competed in amateur athletics. He has had success in the amateurs winning the Scottish and British titles and has even competed for Scotland and team GB in the past.

Whilst competing in the Highland Games circuit he has won the Glenfiddich under 25s, 2 Glenfiddich Open Championships and has been the Braemar caber champion twice. This is quite an accolade as the award presentation is conducted by the Her Majesty the Queen as Breamar is the Royal family's local games.

Like most of the competitors at these events they rely on local sponsorship, contributions, prize money and there own funding to compete. Portnellan is honoured to assist Bruce by means of sponsorship for the forth coming season.

To see Bruce in the flesh and cheer him on whist tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, the discus, weight over the bar and much much more click the following link to the website that lists venues and dates for all Highland throughout Scotland.

Our local Highland Games are Killin on Wednesday 3rd August at which Bruce will be attending. On the morning of the day Bruce will be at Portnellan where he will perform demonstrations on the various disciplines he takes part. You are more than welcome to come along watch and even have a go yourself. 

http://www.albagames.co.uk/Highland_games2000.htm

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