We have had a fabulous few days this week, where we have been treated to wall to wall blue, sunny skies, and although it was cold we enjoyed taking advantage of the weather and getting out for some walking.   As I've mentioned before, one of the biggest advantages of being independent and running your own business is that on days like these you can just take yourself off for a walk and enjoy the outdoors, so long as all the orders are packed and posted and you've nothing pressing to catch up with.

One of Lexie's favourite spots in the hills, for reasons we don't understand, is the Old Soldier's.  It isn't far from us, and she's still got the stamina to climb over the heather on the way up to the ruin.  I've always thought the location of this house is stunning, and the ash trees that stood protecting the house are always lovely to look at no matter what the time of year.  At this time - mid winter - they are silvery grey.


One of the trees has taken on a very artistic shape - I wondered if it had been struck by lightning:


Then yesterday we headed out to a different part of Assynt - The Loch an t-Sabhail circuit, Little Assynt.  The path  is about 4.5km long, and while it goes up and down, it is very easy walking.  However it is some time since Lexie, our Westie, walked this distance.  But she did very well, and thoroughly enjoyed herself.


There were still pockets of frost on the ground, but although it is only mid January there was evidence of spring plants starting to poke through:


The highlight of this walk is always the spot here we stop to drink hot chocolate.  The view of Quinag at this point is one of my favourites, and easy to frame beautifully against the lochan:


This landscape may look "empty" and "wild", but at one point there was quite a community living here.   The point from which I took the following photograph, you only had to turn round 180 degrees and you can see 3 ruined houses which were once part of a thriving community that lived here.  You can see, on the left hand side of this picture, cultivation beds where crops may have included the likes of potatoes or oats.   There would certainly have been a cow or two roaming about, and it doesn't take a huge stretch of imagination to picture children playing happily around the houses or on the edges of the cultivation beds while the adults worked hard.


What a view to wake up to in the morning.

While we were out walking yesterday, my mind frequently went to all those marching around the world in support of women's rights after the inauguration of the new US president.  I would have to admit to struggling to even write the man's name.  I would have loved to have joined the Edinburgh march, but it wasn't possible.   I know I'm way behind, but I have finally started my own pink hat, as I'm sure there will be more occasions when the symbolic hat will be required.  I've chosen "A Cerise which Demands Attention" as my pink, and I am whizzing along with it.


The photographs from the marches around the world filled my Twitter feed yesterday, and it was, at times, overwhelming to see so many taking part.  And so proud of all my friends who were there, both physically and in spirit.