Thursday, 4 October 2012

What's It Like To Walk The Kintyre Peninsula?

Nearby Woodland
It is certainly something I hope to do in time but not something I even considered before I got here!

I'm still finding my feet in this beautiful place, and adjusting to many changes in my life, besides, after spending a few years in a place with no hills I'm discovering long forgotten muscles and that's just while taking the dog for a walk!
It will be some time yet before I'm ready for that hike!

Until you've been here and seen it for yourself you just can't appreciate the sheer beauty, the place is so alive!
I feel very lucky to be here, and I am looking forward to sharing Jaimie's Photographs as well as joining him while he patiently waits for the Sea Otters, Dolphins, Seals, Deer and all the other wonders Kintyre is bursting with.

For now, here are just a few treasures just on our door step;

Our water supply

Our water comes direct from the hills, filtering through the heather and rocks, snaking down the hill through woodland before it meets the Loch.

Over the back is an untouched forest, no pathways, no signs of humans at all, everywhere you look are signs of life, little burrows, nests and runs.

I want to go back to sit quietly and observe the wildlife, however I love the fact there is no path and don't want to create one, so I'll probably watch from the sides and hope whatever is around gets used to my quiet presence.
From the edge of the forest
The other side of me is a Pine forest, the ground rich and green with moss.

The first photograph at the top shows one of the many Burns that run though it.
From my garden I've watched Crows over the tree tops chasing Buzzards away.

There are faint pathways in this woodland, but even still the ground is soft, green and lush.
Be careful where you tread, just strolling through I spotted a little Vole weaving through the mossy forest floor trying hard not to be seen.


Walk this way... Gently
I don't want to be seen!
I feel like I am intruding on their peaceful, untouched haven.

However, there are many places to walk, enjoy the scenery, fresh, clean air and Wildlife.
Be prepared though, the weather changes quickly.
The view from the (almost) top

The first time I climbed the hill after moving here it rained as we left, but as we climbed the sun dried our clothes, as we got higher the fog dampened our clothes again, but it's OK the wind blew the cloud away and dried our clothes once more!

What a view!
As you can see, I have plenty to keep me busy for now, but I'll keep climbing hills and hopping over burns until I'm ready.

If unlike me, you're fit and prepared for such a journey there is some fantastic information on this website.

Kintyre Way gives you all of the information you will need to prepare for your 87 mile hike across the Kintyre Peninsula.
A Beautiful walk!

For the super-fit, how about a trail run? 
Join the Kintyre Way Relay for the most scenic trail-run in Britain!

As well as organising the most scenic trail run in Britain that leaves me feeling faint just thinking about, there are also some great links of things to see and do while you are here on their website

Wonderful for those that have the training.
 Me? 
I'll just stick to waking up the dormant hill walking muscles of mine and admire their fantastic challenge from a distance.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Hello from Sunny Scotland!

West Loch Fyne
Ok, so it may not be sunny today, but it has been during the week.
Yes, you've guessed it, we moved again, there were a few hiccups but this move went far more smoothly than the last one.

As I write this, the rain has almost stopped, there is a little House Martin sitting on the telephone wire and I have two happy, soggy dogs at my feet.
My new neighbours are mainly ponies and sheep, with the occasional deer, rabbit and birds, many I've yet to recognise.
We are in a secluded spot surrounded by mountains, little burns and woodland all around.

Unfortunately, our car decided to give up just before we moved here, so I've had to get into town using public transport.
All three buses I have been on had the same driver, I wonder if he spends all day circling Kintyre? I must admit, I'm envious, all day surrounded by such beauty with ever changing landscapes.
He knows us now and picks us up and drops us off at the bottom of our driveway, he even greeted my son on his first day at school, you just don't get that kind of service in London!

I tried to walk back from Tarbert the other day, I know there is a cross country route running through the hills and forests, but with my sense of direction and no map to hand I decided against it and followed the main road until the footpath ran out!

I waited for the bus, sure enough it was the same driver again who pulled up, giggled at my predicament with a knowing smile and dropped me off safely back at mine. 
Thank you West Coast Motors!

I worried how my teenagers would cope with such a massive change in lifestyle, but they seem to adapt well to most things and have taken to the magical Scottish hills and scenery like ducks to water.
I don't think we will ever be moving again!
 
So, back to business, while we've been planning I removed worldwide shipping from the website, simply to avoid any issues with deliveries or returns while we moved.
As we are now living in such a remote area, some items will be sent direct to our customers from our suppliers, this is to keep costs down for you and for us.

We also have a huge new line of giftware to add and will be doing it slowly but steadily over the coming weeks, so please keep popping back to see the new lines, there are some fantastic Christmas gift ideas.
You'll find regular updates on our facebook page, so please "like" Delphinus Dreams Giftware to see all the latest products, offers and even competitions!

Sunsets and Seascapes will be evolving now Jaimie has far more time on his hands and more majestic scenes to capture than he could ever imagine before, you can keep up to date with that by following Jaimies new blog.

You can find Jaimies photographs for sale at www.55northphotography.co.uk.
I can't wait to see the work he produces over the coming months!



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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Encourage Wildlife Into Your Garden

Bat Box
No matter how large or small your garden, it's easy to turn it into a haven for wildlife.
The RSPB have a fantastic range of ready made homes for wildlife on their website, with the added bonus of knowing 100% of their profit helps protect our birds and other Wildlife.


The Bat Box is designed to encourage bats to nest in your garden, it's rough sawn to give them grip and untreated to encourage them to roost.


As Bats are a protected species, you must not be tempted to open the box and have a peek, only persons licensed to handle bats should open this box.

Hogitat Hedgehog Shelter
A fun and easy way to discover if bats are nearby is either patience, or the perfect gift for gadget loving wildlife fans, the Magenta Bat 4 bat detector, available on the RSPB Shopping Website. It converts bats' inaudible ultra-sonic sounds to frequencies in the range of human hearing and comes with a headphone socket and built in torch.


On the ground, protecting your garden from slugs and snails are Hedgehogs, Frogs and Toads, encourage them with plenty of safe shelters and places to hide during the day.


The Hogitat is a brilliant little shelter designed to blend in with your garden.
On the RSPB Website there is extensive information on how to encourage these wonderful little nocturnal creatures into your garden. 
The Frogitat
Frogs and Toads will love the little Frogitat, not only does it look great in a sheltered spot in your garden,  it gives them year-round protection from predators and with wet and dry floor areas it protects inhabitants from extreme temperatures. 

And, of course as you would expect, there are plenty of fun and practical ideas to encourage birds and insects into your garden, with little insect houses for ladybirds and other mini beasts . Bird homes and nest boxes and a fantastic range of bird food and feeders.


With a little time and patience your garden will soon be buzzing with a magnificent variety of wildlife!

 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Fritton Action Rescue Needs One Last Word...

Noctule Bat
Here is how you can help save YOUR LOCAL FOREST.
We have until the 29th June 2012 to voice our opinions to Norfolk Council.
If you don't have time to write, you can submit your objections online.
For those of you who would like to send your objections by letter, please feel free to copy any portion of this post and send your letter to:

Norfolk County Council
FREEPOST NC22093/8
Planning &Transport Department MWSSA, Norwich, NR1 2BR


The wording on the Fritton Action Rescue Newletter (May 2012 Vol.1 Issue 11) is as follows;
Dear Sirs,
I write to support the County Council in their pre submission version of the Minerals Site Specific Allocations DPD as compliant and sound.
I am pleased that Waveny Forest MIN38 is omitted from the list because....
Signature,
Name,
Address. 
 If you are struggling to find the words, please consider any one (or all) of the following reasons Fritton should be protected from developers, and left alone for the people and the wildlife to enjoy;


Wildlife
Fritton is home to numerous protected species and is home to untold wildlife including Bats such as the  Pipistrelle, Brown Long-eared bat, Daubentons Bat, The Noctule,  and quite possibly the rare Leislers Bat , you can find out more about each species by visiting The Norfolk Bat Group.

The picture above of the beautiful, and one of our largest bats the Noctule, originated here on the North  NOTTS Bat group information pages.


Snakes, both Adders and Grass Snakes live in and around Fritton as well as numerous Frogs, Toads and an infinite number of insects including the biggest beetle in the uk, the Stag Beetle, also a protected species!
A beautiful couple
As terrifying as they look, Hornets living in Fritton are an important part of our Ecology,  we have spent many hours watching the sun go down beside a known Hornets nest, neither us, nor our dogs, or children have ever been stung by these huge and scary looking beasties, they obviously just want to be left in peace to get on with doing their thing!


We have been lucky enough to encounter the stunning Chinese Water Deer while visiting Fritton. They are solitary, quite beautiful, and did you know 40% of fawns die within the first 4 weeks of their life?
Also living in Fritton are the very shy Fallow Deer, you need to be very quiet to be lucky enough to see them.
While wandering around Fritton you are quite likely to see a shifting of Bracken and a flash of white tail as the small and beautiful Muntjac Deer hurries out of your way!


Nearby, you may also be lucky enough to see an Otter or two swim by if you can be still and patient enough on the banks of the river Waveney at the edge of the stunning Fritton Forest.


Other shy residents include the Barn Owl that can often be seen swooping over the reeds hunting for prey, such as Mice, Voles and Shrews,  while earlier in the day you will see Marsh Harriers gliding over the reeds catching small Rodents, Amphibians and Reptiles to feed their family.
Marsh Harriers were almost extinct in the UK around the early 1970's and these magnificent birds of prey are almost out of danger and are on the RSPBs amber list.
Protect Fritton


There are far too many species to mention in a quick blog post urging for help, the fact of the matter is, the future of thousands, no, millions of lives is in your hands.
You do have the power to change things, and you can make a difference!


If you do not want to protect the wildlife, then do it for yourself!


We need woodland! It's a scientific fact! 
So much of the UK woodland has been destroyed we need to protect everything we have left, it seems ironic that this year, the year the UK is celebrating the Queens Jubilee and the Woodland Trust is appealing for people to come together and plant 6 Million Trees to create homes for wildlife and areas for people to relax, explore and enjoy.
Why should we invest all of this money for saplings while planning to destroy  perfectly natural and well established havens for wildlife, acres of woodland and open spaces ALREADY bursting with life? It's insane!



Life that we are intent on destroying in the name of progress, and for investment in the future??
No, sorry I just cannot understand the logic!
By all means encourage more trees to be planted, but why not also protect the ones we have?
As well as an uncountable amount of protected species we also need to protect the popular woodland creatures, the Fox, the Badger and the Rabbits.


OK it's getting late, I am tired and I've not even barely touched on the rare and beautiful wildlife that lives on and around the Waveney Forest, there are probably millions more I could list (and if you think I'm exaggerating, feel free to send me a list, I'm listening).
The Norfolk Broads... it just wouldn't work with no trees!


So, some developer might want a quarry, a quarry we do not need, the residents around Waveney, do not want, the Wildlife will not survive, some species may possibly vanish!
Woodland that not only supplies us with fresh air, a place to relax and enjoy the stunning and huge mixture of rare and protected wildlife on our doorstep, but is also vital for the future, the endangered species, the environment and is also a massive part of the unusual and stunning beauty that IS the Norfolk Broads!
If you have anything to add, please do! I will be.
We have just one month left to make a difference.
Please let your voice be heard.





Thursday, 5 April 2012

Just Walking the Dog... (thanks Susi)

It's been a busy time here at Delphinus Dreams, but when the working day is over it's nice to unwind with a long leisurely walk with the dog...
Well, it should be, but little Grylls is a very spirited little soul! 
He's not so little any more either. 
Since the blog about him in August he has grown quite a bit and looks nothing like he did then.
Training him  has been fun, he is growing into a beautiful dog with a great character and a real love of, well everything really.
He faces every challenge with pure enthusiasm and joy and with his fearless attitude he certainly lives up to his name. 
 
Walking him on a lead has never been a simple task, as he was originally found as a stray I often wonder if he had escaped in the past because no matter what I have tried,he would try to wriggle out of it.
Little Grylls
We've had lots of fun this last year, it started with a collar, but he would pull and struggle, so we tried a harness. As he grew and got stronger he would pull so much it was rubbing under his legs.
He would also jump up and bite to try and get me to let go of the lead.
I have holes in my jeans and jackets from past battles with this stubborn little pup who is determined to make a break for freedom!
We got through the biting phase thankfully!
We tried a Slip Lead for a while, but he would almost strangle himself trying to lead the way ahead.
Later on we tried  The Canny Collar for Dogs, I liked it because it had a secure buckle and the web strap over his nose to gently deter him from pulling looked like a great solution.
And it was!
For about a week!
He soon managed the art of sudden and random lunging to try and trick us into letting him go, this caused rubbing under his eyes and obvious soreness, so the Canny Collar has been placed in the cupboard with many other tried, tested and beaten by Grylls methods!
The Gentle Leader
Next I tried a  Gentle Leader This was great and worked very well, but putting it on correctly with his long fur getting in the way was difficult. 
Some time ago I considered trying a Susi Combi Lead from Pets Express, but way back then Grylls was too clever in his escape methods and I feared we might lose him.
However as time has gone on and Grylls has settled I know he wont run away now, nor am I so worried about him struggling to escape.
I bought one last week and can honestly say I am delighted with it.
The Susi Combi Lead and Head Collar all in one comes with simple instructions and is so easy to use, the material is soft on your hands too and must be so much more comfortable for the dog.


Gwen from Pets Express asked me for my honest opinion so I decided to really put it through the test.
On the Beach
 
First I took him for a small walk over the back.
He wasn't too happy with the lead at first but I was!
The change was instant, there was no riding up to his eyes, no scuffing and amazingly no pulling or lunging!
Grylls was walking at my side with an occasional tug on the lead that just gently turned his head in my direction. We saw a cat and Grylls did try to do his manic lunging thing, but I quickly gained control, with no force or effort and we happily carried on our walk.
Next we went to the beach, Grylls's favourite place!
After some joyful free running we met other dog walkers, Grylls's favourite thing!
I put his new Susi Combi Lead on him because not many dogs, or owners appreciate the whole happy Grylls experience. (for those that have already, I'm sorry)
Just wonderful! Grylls wanted to run, but the lead gently stops him, another huge bonus is there is no fiddling around trying to get sand out of sprung clips, the Susi lead has no metal parts and is just one long and soft lead.
It's easy to slip on and off, yet it holds your dog securely, even if he did try to wriggle out of it he wouldn't be able to.
If I'd have realised this it would have been the first and only training, no pull lead that I'd have bought.
Even yesterday, Grylls tried to fly after a Seagull but the Susi lead gives him a gentle reminder that I'm on the end of the lead and I have his (almost) full attention again.
Unlike other products I've tried, once we get home he has no flattened fur, no signs or rubbing or chaffing at all and the best thing of all is I have had moments of walking along with my dog at my side with a slack lead and a wagging tail.
It is without a doubt the best training lead or head collar I have ever tried, so a massive thank you to the beautiful Susi who inspired the design and to Gwen for supplying it.

I'm off now to enjoy a walk with my dog! :o) Have a wonderful long weekend!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Stunning Norfolk Nature Photography now available

The Beautiful Broads
We have finally found a print service we are happy with and are delighted to be able to start adding Jaimie's photographs to the new website.
All images are for sale in many different formats from standard prints, large prints, poster prints in various sizes as well as canvas, aluminium and any other medium we can think of.

There are many more stunning photographs to be added, we have almost 2 years work to crop, watermark and upload so please keep popping back.
So peaceful...
All of the images we have uploaded have been greatly reduced in size and watermarked, the actual images are much larger, higher quality than the versions you see as samples.
If you cannot see the image you are looking for on line, please ask us, we are adding them as quickly as we can in between other work and projects in the pipeline.

If you have tried to access Sunsets and Seascapes over the last few day you may have noticed server issues, this is because we are revamping the website, it will be bigger and better than ever, updates to follow soon!
The magical Norfolk Broads
In time we will have a forum for photographers, nature lovers and anyone else that wants to join, we will also be hosting a gallery for photographers to showcase their favourite photographs.

As many of you know, on our travels we have been totally fascinated with the magnificent Seal Colony nearby, over the last two years we have been careful not to say exactly where they were, however tourist industries and journalists locally have covered them in various articles and promotions.
This has led to thousands of people traipsing up there and thoughtlessly disturbing the Seals during their vulnerable breeding season.
If you are on facebook, please see our Protect Norfolk Seals Page and join us in helping educate people about these amazing and beautiful creatures on our doorstep.
Protect Norfolk Seals on Facebook

We appreciate all help and support, and hopefully more people will chat to, and support the Seal wardens that train, and give up their free time to help protect the Seals.

Meanwhile, a few customers have been concerned that we don't have an eBay shop any more, please don't worry, Delphinus Dreams is still going strong, thanks to customers shopping on our Delphinus Dreams website instead.
This has enabled us to reduce some of our prices, passing the savings we are making on to you.
take a look, we have thousands of items now in stock, more than we ever listed on eBay and the stock is growing all the time.

Have a very happy new year, and please join us on facebook to keep up to date with the latest news and photographs from Delphinus Dreams and Sunsets and Seascapes.




Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas, a very Happy New Year and thank you :o)

Be Happy!
We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Thank you  to all of our customers, it's been a pleasure trading with you and we appreciate your custom, support and  patience as we switched web servers this year.

We're doing it again in the New Year, Sunsets and Seascapes will be getting a makeover, but Delphinus Dreams will be staying where it is with new stock being added all the time.
Our eBay listings will be slowly reduced, but don't worry, we are not going anywhere!
We want to concentrate on our photography, and our  website sales.

I would also like to thank the staff at  TAOS Gifts, Three Little Bears, and Rachel's Bears for their support this year, it has been a real pleasure working with you and I look forward to the New Year knowing I have no idea what I'll be writing about next, but knowing it will be fun!

A big thanks to all my friends and family too for all  your love and support during another roller coaster year! :o) 


I shall leave you with some photographs I was playing with earlier, I hope you enjoy them.

Take time to relax
Spend time with loved ones
Eat well

Have fun

Don't argue


Enjoy life

Celebrate your differences and enjoy those little moments
However, whatever you celebrate, be happy