Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TOMBRECK - Winter in the Highlands

Extra-special thanks to Sue and Tober for all their highland hospitality during my stay at Tombreck, the rundown hill farm they are bringing back to life. They make a great partnership; Sue is an eco-architect and has done the designs for the building work, including a straw bale house, while Tober has lots of different farming experience from fish farming to crofting. They both have a deep respect for the land and all things living on it and are rejuventing the farm using their hearts as well as their heads. More about their work at: Tombreck.
It was a bit chilly though...minus 7 degrees registering on the car thermometer there...

...but how good to have a bit of real winter for a change. Fellow WWOOFer Richard shared his caravan with me and we got it nice and cosy thanks to the wood-burning stove.

The arrow in the picture above shows where the cosy caravan nestles beneath mighty Ben Lawers.

Sue and Tober lost their ducks earlier this year, no doubt to foxes. I helped the duck project along by building this palatial duck shed - fox proof and no doubt earthquake proof too.

What next? My plan now is to move up to Scotland and start getting involved for the long term with projects like Tombreck and others in the area. The wild parts of Scotland and Wales must be amongst the best parts of the world to start building the resilient communities that will give us and our children the best possible future in the face of the problems that are stacking up for us: climate change, peak oil, loss of food and material resources, water shortages...not to mention the collapse of the financial castles of sand. The communities that survive into the future will have to live on the resources that they live amongst and manage them for the future, the core of these being water and trees. There's plenty of water up there! Loch Tay is about 15 miles long and up to 500ft deep. There's beautiful trees galore and Sue and Tober planted another 3000 this year to keep them company with plenty more on the way.

I'm really drawn to moving back to Scotland and to the Loch Tay area: it's beautiful, it's near my daughters, Amanda and Laura and there are great projects and people working there already. It will mean a bit of travelling up and down to be with Debi and the boys but it will be the best place to build the things we dream about. One day we'll have our eco home in the highlands and carry on developing our healing work as part of a resilient community.

Here's a few more photos from around Loch Tay...

...looking west to Ben More from Tombreck...

...looking north east down the loch...

...and looking west up the loch towards ben More again.

And a few more wintry shots from around Perthshire thrown in for good measure:

While I was in Scotland I had a walk up Ben Vrackie with my chum Brian, its the 46th time he's been up the speckled hill this year...

..and he's been up all the corbetts once and the munroes twice - is their a Hill Addicts Annonymous he can join?
Stunning views from the top of Vrackie:
And finally, a familiar view from the road north to Aberfeldy, Schiehallion, "The Fairy Mountain".

More soon and Happy Christmas and New Year to all blogees!