From Creel to Banquet Hall
One of the wonderful rituals during summer at the estate is hauling in the creels. We leave these cages out in the Sound of Taransay, in various locations, and when baited, we hope will lure in lobsters and crabs. It’s a truly fun event, when you go out in our redoubtable landing craft, the Verley Anne, drop the front door and start hauling them in.
Its heavy work, as the creels each weigh a few kgs, and can besnagged on rocks and seaweed. There is always an edge of excitement with each haulwhat will each creel yield? On this recent occasion, when we had some child labour on hand to ease the pain, and we pulled in 8 creels, and retrieved a bountiful haul of lobsters and crab.
Back at the Lodge, we have a few recipes, but the favourites are the most simple, and chilli crab/lobster linguine seems to get the most kudos. The creatures are quickly brought to boil in a large stock pot, and then cracked. The flesh from claws and tails is extracted, and meticulously worked to make sure no shells or grit remain. It is added to a simple sauce of garlic, chilli, tomatoes, white wine and parsley, and dropped onto a bed of pasta, accompanied by a selection of leaves from the poly-tunnel. It is an observation that the plates always seem to end up very clean when those eating have actively harvested the food.
Our Neolithic Swimming Pool
Loch an Duin is one of the great destinations of Taransay. Here, on the 3rd loch up from the coast is a place where one can feel ancient history resonate. The reason is the Duin – or keep – in the middle of the loch. This was built perhaps 2500 years ago by earlier inhabitants of the island.
The purpose is clear: this is where they would retreat when unwanted visitors landed. They could cross to the holdfast and lock out any attackers, who might be greeted by an arrow or spear if they got too close. The marauders may pillage elsewhere on the island, but at least those inside would be safe.
Given its longevity, ie, older than the pyramids – the Duin is in surprisingly good shape. Foundation stone work is all still alive and well, as are the remains of an entrance portal. The stone work interlocks as closely as the day it was laid. The stepping stones leading out to the Duin still have a knocking stone, which makes a resounding and unexpected ‘thunk’ when trodden on, a sort of ancient alarm system.
And during those summer days, when the heat justifies, hardier types use the Duin as a location to plunge into the loch. Would any ancient residents of Taransay have pondered that one day, their fortress would be used by we 21st century types, as a base for swimming from?
New Pricing for Broch and Rock
Note, a duin was a keep, and a broch was a dwelling, that could also serve as a holdfast. Of course, if you wish to stay in the first Broch built in Britain since the iron age, then we have one, right on the estate.
And based on customer feedback, about the fact that pricing for our two premium properties seems to be based more on the school year, and yet our customers are usually couples and hence, sans nippers, we have decided to implement a much simpler pricing strategy.
From 2016, where there were 7 bands, there will now be two. The daylight saving months will be priced at £2100 a week, and the rest will be at £1200 a week, with the exception of the Christmas period. We will also let on the basis of 3 and 5 day stays, as well as 7 days, so couples are not shoe-horned in to the weekly cycle. You asked, and we listened.