It's one month to go until the Argyllshire Gathering which is a modern celebration of Scottish Tradition featuring a selection of track and field athletics as well as many tratitional dances and piping.
The gathering originated as a means for all the states in the Argyll area to meet. The staff would compete against each other during the day and the evening would finish of with a ball for the estate owners.
The Games traditionally starts with the Stewards Match, led by the pipers comepeting that day, from the centre of Oban and takes place in Mossfield Park. They are a great way to celebrate Celtic Culture and always include a lot of fun activities to participate
The games consist of a variety of strength and endurance tests - some of which date back as far as the 16th Century.
- Caber Toss
Tossing the Caber is one of the most popular events at any Highland Games in which competitors must flip a large section of tree trunk "as close to the 12 o'clock position" as possible. It involved a great deal of strength and skill.
Identical to the olympic "shot put", using a smooth rounded stone instead of the typical steel ball.
Believed to have originated as a trial to be the King's Carrier, in modern times the winner must be the first to complete a three mile run up a hill over 600 ft in height.
Commencing in the morning, Traditional Scottish Dances such as the highland fling will be performed until mid afternoon with a chance for attendees to join in!
Maintaining a high level of traditional piping are one of the prime objectives of the Argyllshire Gathering, which partakes as one of the three main events for the annual piping trust.
The competition takes place at Mossfield park, alongside the games with competitors coming from all around the world to compete.
Last weeks weather took the West Coast by surprise, yet again proved the unreliability of the weather forecast as we all started off preparing for rain and thunder showers only to be met with the nicest week Scotland has seen in years.
For five days Scotland has been met with clear blue skies, bright sunshine and temperatures which was perfect for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Though it looks like we may not be so lucky this week, having already faced a few downpours.
Today: Rain showers to persist for the remainder of the afternoon, with thinks drying up in the evening and some sunshine to finish the day..
Monday: A dry day ahead with many sunny intervals throughout the day.
Tuesday: Another dry, but cloudy day. With brief light showers in the evening.
Wednesday: Light rain and sunny intervals throughout. Mild winds to accompany.
Thursday: Things look to be mainly unchanged. Though the rain may clear later in the evening.
Friday: Heavy rain to dominate, broken up with periodic burst of sunshine.
Saturday: The end of the week looks to be miserable with more heavy rain.
So with a standard summer week ahead, guests to the Island should have ample opportunity to enjoy the surroundings in a more dramatic setting. A short trip through to Oban may be a nice change for some fresh air and - should the nice weather persist - there are several boat tours from the piers ready to show you the wonders of the Scottish Islands.
It's been a chaotic whirlwind of ups and downs this week, as the weather failed to make up its mind with the forecast: sending us outside in light clothes with promises of sunshine only to surprise us with a downpour later.
Earlier in the week we had heard reports of potential thunderstorms coming our way, though things are looking to be a bit clearer than initially expected, giving us enough opportunity to get outside and explore.
Today: Cloudy and overcast, with occasional showers in the afternoon.
Monday: Things will remain dry, with sunny intervals throughout the afternoon
Tuesday: Another cloudy day ahead with brief patches of sunshine.
Wednesday: Looks to remain mainly unchanged, though expect some light showers in the evening.
Thursday: Today will start off dry, with frequent burst of sunshine, with rain showers dominating in the afternoon.
Friday: Intermittent sunshine and showers throughout the day.
Saturday: Predicted to be drizzly for the best part of the day.
With enough dry spells to allow for a lengthy trip outdoors -without having the worry of incapacitating heat - we recommend those coming to the area enjoy a nice bike ride along the Oban to Fort William cycle path. With Eriska being only two miles from the path, guests can enjoy the nice scenic route from Benderloch to Port Appin with relative ease and enjoy a bite to eat at the one of the few cafes and bars on route.
In May this year Eriska celebrated its 40 years of welcoming guests through their doors.
To mark the occasion, we launched a competition offering one lucky individual the opportunity to win exclusive use of the Island for 40 hours for up to 40 guests.
A big congratulations to our winner, who interestingly enough is distantly related to the family that lived on the Island at the turn of the century and who will be joining us later this year with a section of guests to re-live the experience of her ancestors as they did at the beginning of the 20th century.
We thank everyone who entered the competition and to show our appreciation we will be in touch with all the participants with an exclusive offer soon!
It's been a picturesque week with plenty of sunshine adorning the West Coast and bringing out the features that make this part of Scotland truly unique. Though most of the locals are adorning a slight redish-tint to their skin; having been caught out by the heat!
But unfortunately our streak of good luck ran a little low with the weather taking a turn for the worst yesterday and ending the week on a downpour.
Today: A cloudy start to the day, with things brightening up later in the afternoon.
Monday: Light sporadic showers of rain expected in the morning getting more consistent and heavier as the day progresses
Tuesday: Things look to remain dry throughout, with some sunny intervals in the afternoon
Wednesday: Following a dry morning, periodic light rain showers will make an appearance in the afternoon with brief patches of sunshine.
Thursday: White cloud to dominate, with temperatures reaching their high teens
Friday: Heavy rain showers and burst of sunshine predicted for most of the day
Saturday: Looks to remain unchanged, with the week ending on a bit of wet note.
For those coming to visit the West Coast this week, we advise proper planning to ensure you make the most of the dry weather. For those looking for activities to keep them out the rain, we would recommend a trip to Cruachan Power Station, located on the shores of Loch Awe. As well as a being an engineering marvel, the hollow mountain homes a cavern in its centre which claims to be large enough to fit the Tower of London!
Without further ado...
After what seemed like endless work, we here at the Isle of Eriska are proud to announce the completion of the Island's newest feature: two Hilltop Reserves
From Summer 2013, Eriska has been carefully executing plans to add two new self catering lodges onto the Island to offer guests a new type of escape on our luxurious Scottish Island
Witness our progress over the last year, with our Hilltop scrapbook; documenting the creation of the Hilltop Reserves from start to finish:
When it rains it pours.The West Coast weather, this week, has been a bit up and down, with heavy rain taking us by surprise on more than one occasion. However, the sun was more than generous nearing the end of the week, with temperatures peaking in the high teens , really emphasising the features that make Scotland unique.
With the forecast last week originally promising an abundance of rain, we were delighted when the sun came out fighting for the weekend and hope that next weeks less-than-promising forecast will follow suit.
Today: Lots of sunshine today, with brief showers in the early afternoon and cold south western winds
Monday: Rain showers and sunny intervals throughout the day
Tuesday: Heavy rain predicted in the morning and early afternoon, with things clearing up as the day continues. Sunshine is due to make an apperance in the evening
Wednesday: White cloud to dominate, with brief periods of sunshine in the morning, though thins are expected to remain dry.
Thursday: Another dry day, with more burst of sunshine throughout.
Friday: Looks to be another cloudy day with rain expected in the evening
Saturday: The week ends on a gloomy note with rain persisting throughout the day, broken by sporadic bursts of sunshine. Though things are due to clear up in the evening.
There seems to be enough promise of sunshine to plan some more outdoor activities to spite the rain! For those coming to the area we would recommend looking at the available activities hosted by our friends over at Stamash. Archery, Coastering and Kayaking are just an example of what they offer in the Argyll area, making for a great day out!
Photograph by Glen Montgomery, F&B Manager
It’s just shy of a month now until the beginning of the commonwealth games, which this year is being hosted in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. With preparation near completion, the populous is eager to welcome the 6500 athletes and officials from all 71 countries participating and relive some of the excitement from London 2012.
But those among us that don't share the same enthusiasm for large sporting events may find themselves unsure about what the commonwealth actually is and will certainly struggle to participate in the chatter and excitement when the games have begun and so we have composed a beginners guide to get you through this difficult time.
There are 17 sports in total during the games in which the athletes will be competing for gold. (categories like athletics and aquatics can be broken down further into multiple events, though it's easier to generalise them).
Via the process of elimination, the athletes are narrowed down to a selection of the fastest and most skilled few. You will be able to spot them immediately as the ones who cross "the line" first, throw stuff the furthest distance or win the most points.
The commonwealth games, originally called the British Empire Games, is an international event in which the "Commonwealth of Nations" (composed mostly of countries who were once in the British Empire) compete in multiple sports.
The games were first held in Canada in 1930. It originally featured 400 athletes from 11 countries and has run every four years since its creation (except for both 1942 and 1946 as a result of World War 2).
2014 will mark the 3rd time that Scotland have hosted the games, with Edinburgh having hosted it in 1970 and 1986.
There are literally thousands of athletes competing in the games - so it's not practical to know who all of them are and who to support.
The simplest way for deciding who to back would to naturally support any from your own country. However, should this not be possible, don't worry - simply selecting another that you wouldn't mind winning would do.
Try and learn the names of some of the most famous athletes (even from other teams). They are famous for a reason and are good fallbacks if you are really stuck. Here's the must-know list:
Expect to see the crowd go crazy when this British Athlete runs onto the track. With two Olympic Gold medals under his belt from London 2012, Farah is seen as a sure-thing for both the 5000m and 10000m this year.
Another popular Brit following the Olympics Games, Nicola Adams was the first woman to win a gold medal in Boxing at the Olympic Games and was selected to be an Ambassador for Glasgow 2014.
The fastest man in the world. Though it still remains a mystery if Usain Bolt will actually compete this year, he is the favourite for the 100m. However should he not make an apperance, supporting any of his Jamaican counterparts will generally be a good alternative.
One of the most important parts of pretending to know about sport is how you react while watching it. Though general screaming when your chosen team are winning with the occasional fist-pump may fool a few, you'll need to throw in some words to fool your most knowledgable friends. Here's a list of simple phrases to get you by:
"Come on!" - effective when your team is lagging behind, but not so much so that it's embarrassing. Though can also be used when you're athlete is winning and close to the end of the race/game.
"Ouch, that's going to hurt." - mostly used when someone falls over (laughing would be an acceptable alternative if the player is not seriously injured) though can also be used for contact sports like boxing.
"That's going to lose him/her some points" - most likely to come up during gymnastics when the athlete is a little unsteady, though can also be used for precision sports like shooting and indoor bowls.
"What was that?" - if your team are starting to lose to the point of no return, critisising their performance may save your pride. Take your chance at any evident fumbles or poor plays.
Hint: Always question the ruling of the referee if it goes against your favour. They are evidently trying to stop you from winning.
When in Doubt
Throughout the games, there will be full coverage on both TV and Radio with many commentators analysing the players and events that are worth talking about. Bring a notepad and write down a thing or two to use in conversation between events.
Escape the Craze
Of course, there is always the option of escaping the games entirely. Spending near 2 weeks attempting to take part in something you couldn't care less about is exhausting work. Save yourself the hassle and book a trip to the country where the closest person is three miles away; find a tranquil utopia where you can relax peacefully away from the craze of Glasgow and other bigger cities.
This week it's football that's on everybodys lips; with the world cup having kicked off a few days ago. With everyone indoors, glued to their tv sets, the weather seems to have been of little consequence - which maybe ideal considering the less-than-perfect overcast weather that creates the illusion that we're still in March.
Of course, in Brazil the England football team are faced with what we would consider near-tropic temperatures of about 31°C, which some have complained resulted in their defeat against Italy, and this coming week looks to be picking up in the UK so that we too can enjoy a bit of sunshine!
Today: Starting off cloudy, things will clear up gradually leaving plenty of sunshine.
Monday: Sunny intervals and light winds throughout the day
Tuesday: More sunny intervals, with clouds thinning in the evening leaving crisp clear skies.
Wednesday: Things look to be mostly unchanged, with more bursts of sunshine during the afternoon
Thursday: Temperatures drop slightly, with sunshine becoming a bit more sporadic
Friday: White clouds to dominate, with temperatures dropping slightly further.
Saturday: The week looks to end with more cloud and cool temperatures.
With things looking to remain dry, accompanied by a fair amount of sunshine, those coming to us this week will have plenty of opportinity to enjoy the tranquil surroundings that is unique to Scotland's West Coast.
This week we'd recommend taking advantage of the not-to-bad weather and enjoy a trip over to Staffa to visit Fingal's Cave, which is said to be one of the most uniquely breathtaking sights in the world!
The 14th June marks National Cucumber Day: a day for foodies all over to appreciate thisrefreshing fruit (yes cucumber, like tomato, is actually a fruit). Though we suspect the more skeptical among us would perhaps shake their heads in disbelief to the existence of such a day, cucumber – which comes from the same botanic family as melon – has a variety of day-to-day uses.
As well as a tasty additive to many salads, cucumbers are famously used for eyes in facials; with claims that its high water and vitamin content helps revive tired eyes! Its popularity in drinks and cocktails has also boomed in recent years, and though it may not be one of the first things you'd think to use in a cocktail, its clean flavour makes an excellent addition to summer beverages.
At Eriska cucumber has become a favourite choice for many of our guests, mainly with Hendrick's gin, and so to help everyone celebrate the day in style we have listed some of the most requested beverages featuring a dash of cucumber for you all to try (including our new non-alcoholic Eriska Fizz)
Hendricks and Tonic
For a delightfully refreshing tipple, serve Hendricks Gin over ice, top up with tonic and garnish with a slice of cucumber to fully appreciate the infusion of rose petal and cucumber in this most unusual gin.
50 ml Hendrick's Gin
125 ml Tonic Water
2 slices of cucumber
Refreshing Martini with a hint of cucumber!
50ml Hendricks Gin
5ml Dry Vermouth
To Prepare: Add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake over plenty of ice. Strain into a Martini Glass.
Garnish with a cucumber ball in place of the traditional olive.
Chill out on a warm day with a refreshing mix of cucumber, elderflower and lemon.
25ml elderflower cordial
25ml lemon juice
2” cucumber; Skin and seeds removed
To Prepare: Remove the skin from the outside of the piece of cucumber, and the flavourless, watery seeds from the center. Roughly chop the piece into a few smaller pieces (to help it break down). Add this to a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice and elderflower cordial, and mash the cucumber a little with a muddler or flat end of a bar spoon. Add plenty of ice to the shaker and SHAKE HARD to squeeze the flavour out of the cucumber. Strain the mix into a tall glass filled with ice and top up with soda water to finish. For a more visually appealing drink use a tea strainer to strain and ensure no little pieces of lemon or cucumber make it into the glass.
NB Also works fantastically with 50ml of gin for those seeking a little more bite...
Co-Written with Keith McGregor, Duty Manager
Photos by Glen Montgomery, F&B Manager