Friday, 27 March 2009

AnEmail from our special friend Lettie

Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is the best day of my life, ever

There were times when I wondered if I would make it to today; but I did! 
And because I did I'm going to celebrate!
Today, I'm going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I have had so far. The accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the hardships because they have served to make me stronger.

     I will go through this day with my head held high and a happy heart. 
I will marvel at God's seemingly simple gifts:

 the morning dew,

the clouds,

the trees,

the flowers,

the birds.

Today, none of these miraculous creations will escape my notice
     Today, I will share my excitement for life with other people. 
I'll make someone smile.
I'll go out of my way to perform an unexpected act of kindness for someone I don't even know. Today, I'll give a sincere compliment to someone who seems down.  I'll tell a child how special he is, and I'll tell someone I love just how deeply I care for them and how much they mean to me.

Today is the day I quit worrying about what I don't have and start being grateful for all the wonderful things God has already given me. I'll remember that to worry is just a waste of time because my faith in God and his Divine Plan ensures everything will be just fine.

And tonight, before I go to bed, I'll go outside and raise my eyes to the heavens. I will stand in awe at the beauty of the stars and the moon, and I will praise God for these magnificent treasures.

As the day ends and I lay my head down on my pillow,
I will thank the Almighty for the best day of my life. And I will sleep the sleep of a contented child, excited with expectation because I know tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life, ever!


Do you know of others who might be waiting to receive it from you?




Monday, 23 March 2009




Standing barefoot amongst the morning dew soaked heather ,looking to the east a huge sun is rising slowly casting ever increasing rays of golden light across the mountains slowly at first as if not wanting to alarm all the sleeping animals

Until eventually the whole sun is born and begins it's daily journey across the sky to the west..

And for an hour I stand and bathe in the pure light but to the North clouds gather as if forming a huge traffic jam in the sky.

At first they seem to be content in slowly moving to the east but as they grow they gather speed and within a few minutes they are racing faster and faster all shapes ,colours and sizes from small balls of almost cotton looking clouds to huge ominous black and every yard they travel getting blacker and blacker

Until the whole sky is filled and the glorious morning sun is hidden behind them the eternal weather battle is playing it's endless game ,standing watching it looks like the clouds will win today but just as a burst of rain falls from the dark leaden sky and soaks everything within miles ,the sun pushes apart the clouds and as quickly as the clouds arrived they have moved to the east and a bright almost to bright blue sky is left behind..

By the burn a small rabbit emerges from it's burrow and stands by the entrance and after shaking the rain from it's fur and looking all around heads of to gather it's morning grass ever wary of shadows cast from buzzard's and the like patrolling high above in search of their morning feed ....

The smell of the rain soaked grass and moss now heating up again, fills my nose with smells of newly mown lawns and looking to my right it is not hard to spot were the deer have settled for the night circles of grass where they have rested and munched their way through the night ...

Now as if all at once noise from all around as first one bird calls ,followed by another ,then another until the whole glen echo's and reverberates to an ever increasing song ,birds seem to appear from every little nook and cranny and stand and see who can call the loudest..




the dafthermit xx



One thing amongst so much that living in the mountains allows you is time.

I wondered over to a place were I can get the signal to load my posts and catch up with the email and even on that journey of 10 miles or so the change in the weather is incredible ,leaving our wee glen bathed in early but cold morning sunshine and turning west at the top of the dam the wind picked up but it was still a clear day,but then at the next glen it was as if I had plunged into deepest winter once again ,I love the dynamic nature of the weather and the fact that you have to be so careful travelling these wonderful roads .

As always I carry chains ,spare fuel, axes, shovels etc and in the past I have been laughed at by idiots for always doing this but up in the mountains I would rather take charge of my own life rather than risk calling out the emergency services ,it always brings a smile to me when we pass the gates at either end of the Pass which if the weather turns for the worse are shut ..

Anyway sitting after I had done my posts etc I looked at the mountains and as always they seemed to take me and gently whisper me a story of a time long long ago. A time before humans walked the earth..

In the past the very spot I am sitting on and writing would have been a mile or so under ice and everywhere you look you are able to see evidence of the long ago ice sheet as it retreated leaving enormous rocks abandoned as if they had fallen from a giants pocket as he hurriedly headed up the glen to his warm glowing fire..

Opening your mind to it all you can still hear the noise created by the enormous
ice sheet as it moves slowly over the landscape carving like some artist hard at work ,glens that would later fill with icy waterfalls ,creating what we see now as we head quickly along the road... and who knows in the future will be covered again by an even larger ice sheet timeless...

So with wonderful images of time gone by I head now down the twisting road to my wee blackbus and home to my wife Mel and all the daft animals that make up my family here in the mountains..

Off to bed with stories rushing around my head ,images that I try to capture to give a glimpse of these wonderful highlands nestled way up in Scotland ....

the dafthermit xx

the dafthermit xx

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Dafthermit gets some awards

 Some time ago my friend Michelle awarded me some amazing awards and i thought i had better get on and do them before she comes over to tell me off again for not collecting them ..

thanks once again Michelle :

The rules for this award are: Choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.

Show the winners' names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap".

Lastly, list at least ten honest things about yourself.

As you will know i am new to the world of blogging but the people that i have been lucky to meet through this whole experience has filled this old dafthermit with so much joy and happiness....

So here are a few blogs and people that i am so happy to have met :

Rima :an amazing gentle person and an incredible artist who along with her Tui i am proud to call friends.

Julieanne someone who's blog has brought me so much understanding...

 Small footprints: again a blog that has inspired me as we all try to walk gently on Mother earth.. 

Jane an artist from Angelsey who we were lucky to have stay with us for a wee while ..

Jim : Hermit jim a blog that is so much fun to visit 

Pole : a blog that i find so inspiring and such a gentle man

Cygnus : a blog i always come away thinking from 

so that is my selection of amazing blogs ,i hope you visit and enjoy them ,now as i sit hear eating a banana and some biscuits a friend has just dropped of i will look at the view above and come up with a list of ten honest things about the dafthermit:


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Morning Mist And Herons

Morning Mist and Heron


During the night a thick warm magical mist had descended into the glen,hiding everything under it's soft wet veil.

I stood at the door of the bus and called for the boys and we headed into the mist within a few yards they had disappeared from view

with just the odd noise telling me where they were ,Dylan the collie was going at his 300 mile an hour rate first here for a quick sniff off where the deer had been during the night, and with that scent still lingering in his nose ,he was already at the river for a drink quick ,quick where next oh I know and with a sudden burst of speed he was at his next appointment..

Custard the lab on the other hand is slow slow with the odd burst of speed (followed by a wee nap ),but with his long golden tail constantly skywards indicating his pure joy of life sniff sniff in his endless pursuit for tit bits..

The complete silence is so wonderful and the warm mist landing on me and forming little droplets of water which in turn roll down my face and into my beard is breath taking..

For a few minutes I lap the silence up then it is broken by a loud yelp quickly followed by a torrent of ever increasing YELPS

Dylan has landed back at the stream and is playing as he has always done with the water ,dipping his head into the burn and then letting out a loud bark as if in a vain attempt to stop the water from flowing away ,i have seen him do this for hours crazy lovely Dylan..............

Then from down the Glen I hear a loud whooosh whooosh and stare hard trying to see through the mist at what was coming our way then slowly a large long neck emerges and quickly I see that it is a Heron whay joy

With their usual ungainly flight he headed up to his morning breakfast of fresh fish from the lochside

Watching Heron's in flight has always taking me back in time they are such an ancient looking bird and as they fly as if they have only just passed their flying test earlier in the day you are always guaranteed a smile or two..

With a few powerful beats of their wings followed by a little gliding as if to say to the world LOOK LOOK I can,i can fly .then quickly they start flapping in what seems a random effort as if all the earlier morning instructions had been forgotten looking around to check no one has seen their embarassing error they struggle to remember the laws of flight and just in time before they plummet to the ground they remember what to do, and somehow they make their way safely to the breakfast table

they will stand for hours and with no movement at all completely transfixed onto a single spot of the loch until some unlucky fish wonders within striking range, then this ungainly bird unleashes a burst of unbelievable speed and breakfast is served...

With the sun rising in the east and melting the morning mist away for another day sending an awesome display of morning colour sweeping across the mountains I guess it is time for us all to have breakfast and look forward too the many wonders the highlands have to offer for the rest of the day............

the dafthermit xx

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Spring and new Life

                                                  Spring & New life


Opening the curtains this morning the sun flooded in through the window and filled our wee home with instant warmth.

Everywhere you look now new life is bursting out from the earth, to the bright blue skies and beyond

The calls of as yet unidentified birds call their joy at the rising sun and the coming season

Watching two buzzards high in the blue sky coming gently together to touch talons ,then in complete unison soar and show of their flying skills for all to see ,turning onto their backs and falling to earth as if sitting on unseen chairs and at the last second turn over and gain height to carry on with their joy at flight, every now again they would let out the call only birds of prey can produce.

It has always sent a shudder through me and standing here in the mountains it feels so right and fills me with hope that no matter what we do as humans ,life will find a way to carry on as it has always done .

So with a farewell to winter (but I am sure she will send the odd reminder) one of my favourite seasons ,we ready ourselves for hazy lazy days of the seasons coming.



Standing at the foot of Ben Wyvis far up on the south facing cliff a buzzard sits perched.

And with a sudden release of power from strong legs he is airbourne at first he plunges earth bound but soon the enormous wings have found the thermals and at first he slowly circles and begins to climb higher and higher ,faster and faster as the tips of his wings search and find the best thermal until he almost disappears from view then with no effort he swoops from one side of the glen to the other covering a vast distance in no time.

Then he begins his upward journey once again and along the way time for play folding his wings he tumbles earthward then slowly lets his wings fill with the warm spring air and he glides towards a hill

Then from the north he is joined by another feathery friend then another and I watch in complete awe as the next few minutes I am treated to an aerial display of utter perfection.

Two of them head as if on an unavoidable collision course then at the very last second bring their huge talons forward and lock them together then begins a tumble of strength and daring plunge to the rising heathery hill far below

Locked together tumbling and spinning ,tumbling and spinning ,as if two drunks rolling in the dirt after a boozy night then as quickly as they had come together they release and head of in search of a thermal to rise again..........

with calls between them all carrying across great distances what joy to live and travel in my home country of Scotland....

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Four Rainbows & laptops

Four Rainbows & Laptops


What a week...

Monday we headed to the Muir to make the final payment on the horsebox ,had a really good chat with the lads there and have arranged to go over to get a towbar fitted ,no charge as soon as i mention money i just get ach nay bother.

So we are getting some wee gifts for all the lads at the Muir

On the way back i stopped at Gordons shop in Contin to drop of my laptop ,what an amazing friendly bloke and so helpful i left the laptop arranging to pick it up o friday .

Pulling out from the garage we headed back up to the bus , passing through Garve we saw an amazing Rainbow so incredibly colourful it stretched from one side of the village right over to the far side creating an image like one of those old shakey snowy things you used to get

Before we got home we were lucky enough to see another 3 rainbows glistening in the sky....

For the next few days we busied ourselves Mel making some wonderful wee bonnets and me wiring batteries for the laptop also i popped out to try to sort the emails etc on the phone .

Wednesday i pulled into our parkup after having been out wondering and i parked next to the bus and switched the engine and lights off and jumped out of the cab ,

after shutting the door i suddenly realised how dark it was .you couldn't as they say see a finger in front of your nose

and as i stood there trying to let my eyes adjust to the darkness i could here strange clashing noises off to my right ..

It is another reason i enjoy the mountains i love complete darkness and watching the night sky takes on a whole new dimention better than any plasma screen

Back to the noise i heard it took a while to understand what it was with my imagination running wild ,it sounded like a few people fencing and with images of highland ghosts displaying ancient sword skills the reality hit me and it was no less wonderful two Stags were playfully joisting locking there enormous antlers and pushing each another first this way then that..

With 8 or 9 other deer watching the seemed oblivious to me and i stood as so many times in awe at this wonderful exciting planet called Earth and her many gifts to us ...

The noises of far of birds arriving from their winter grounds and sending their many varied calls out on the wind to future partners, evades every glen and is such music to send the soul soaring through the glens to be next to them ...

Friday we headed to the muir we got a call that some mail had arrived so we popped there to get it and once again Roy thankyou my friend for all your kindness that you have shown us ..

When we got to Contin itching to see my wee laptop again i was totally bowled over at what Gordon had done for us ,he had the laptop running like a dream and later i would find out he had slipped a disc into the computer with so much stuff on it and a quick access to him if i have any probs ..

Total cost for all the work he had done : 57 pounds and to top it all off he has linked my laptop to the shops broadband free of charge and as long as he says, i don't sit there for days it is well cool

So once again i find myself stunned by the kindness of someone and many many thanks to you Gordon .....£

and if you ever find yourself in the highlands and have a computer problem then I would highly recommend you call in at the shop in Contin....

So sitting here in the horsebox on this glorious sunny Sunday morning i think we are so lucky to be here in the highlands ........

Itchy feet are here again and we have been told of a parkup further up were we will get the signal for the laptop etc and yesterday we checked it out and are now planning to take a wonder there a week on monday if not sooner .....


Saturday, 14 March 2009

Back On-line just incase anyone thought i got lost in the moors

This is the two Lads from the previous post Ray & Jeff

At last my wee laptop is running good again,all i have to do is get back to all your wonderful comments 

thought i would post some pics i have taken while i catch up with everything 


Monday, 9 March 2009

Corrieshalloch Gorge & snow bunting

Corrieshalloch Gorge & snow bunting..

Visiblity 30 yrds ,we have just pulled into the old quarry and what a journey to Ullapool today.
We were up early and after giving the dogs Dylan and Custard a really good walk and with Dylan watching from the wondow we headed of

heading to the top of the hill At the dam we knew we were in for an eventful journey the wind was so fierce that as i tried to change up gears we came to a virtual standstill and the rain was driving into us from the North in huge visible bands but the thought of a wee mars or maybe two bar drove us on..

We somehow got to our layby half way and decided to have a wee rest before ploghing on, we had seen a few cars that had come off the road either early that morning or sometime during the night there was no one in any of them so we headed off past Corrieshalloch Gogre were the Falls of Measach thunder doon from the moors on the summit .
The day before we had gone to the old wooden bridge across the gorge to get some photos but the old vertigo got the better of the two of us ...

Turning left along the shore road to Ullapool if anything the weather got worse then all of a sudden SILENCE the wind had stopped and the rain had drifted to soak someone else over the glen
and we pulled into town in bright sunshine The huge Stornaway ferry and some trawlers at anchor in the harbour we headed to the carpark only half the journey completed....

The next day i headed to Contin to gather some wood and to visit a computer shop there
Gordon the shop owner was a very kind bloke and i can go there to upload to my flickr and blog as well as have a wee cup of tea we had a really good chat when i realised the time and saying goodbye i headed up the road the signs were flashing a warning of severe weather on the way including some heavy snow so i hurried along the road grabbing the odd bit of wood as i went along...

Within them few miles the snow had started and there was almost a total white out but i saw the bus with the wood smoke drifting from it doon the glen and thankfully pulled up to the back of the bus and pulled on the handbrake....

While i had a coffeee that Mel had made for me as i had pulled in .
She went on to tell me the wee adventures she had had while i had been of on my wonders.
Mel had walked up the side of the hill to get some water from the wee burn with the boys running around enjoying themselves as only dogs can ,
she had leaned over to fill the barrel when she lost her footing and slipped down the bank and straight into the pool for an unexpected early bath..

With visions of her emerging from the bog shouting and crying with the cold snow on her hat and some weed trailing from her jacket as she stood on the bank lifting her wellies to let out the water
howling like a mad banshee
So if anyone happened along the road ,
to see an unearthly beast emerging from the bog howling some unknown language (then don't worry it was just my the wife)

Today we headed of to gather some more wood and done well gathering enough for the next week or so
We had only just finished cutting and stowing it all and Mel had gone to bed for an hour or two when a council wagon pulled into our parkup I thought at first here we go

You cant stay here etc etc
But no ,two guys got out smiling and explained that they had some wood and would i be intrested They had at least a ton and it had been all sawn to a perfect length while they finished i sneaked of to get some money and my camera
But when i offered them a tenner they both in unison told me no way or words to that effect
I asked if i could take their picture and with us swapping names and smiles they were off saying they will be back to drop of some more wood tomorrow A massive thanks to Ray & Jeff such gentle happy people.........

Welcome to the Highlands a place of amazing people rock on the Transerve boys....

So with the tempreture dropping but the inside of the bus boiling we get ready for bed and dream
of what tomorrow brings
I also watched a small flock of snow bunting about 8 of them dart from one landing place and as quickly as they landed they were up in the air again chirpping to each another a wonderful little song as they headed to the next little mound and for an amazing 1/2 an hour i watched mezmeorized
as these beautiful little acrobats visited our wee glen....

so were ever you are may you enjoy this stunning life

the Dafthermit xx

Popping to the horsebox to shut the genny down i noticed the bungee cord had frozen solid,
the sky tonight is so clear you can feel the ice crystals floating in the air and looking at the loch it is hard to tell were the water and sky meet creating a feeling as though we are even higher in the sky than we already are.
The reflection of the moon shimmering in the dark waters as it makes it way slowly and magesticly across this icy night sky...

sweetdreams my friends xxxx

During the night i was awoken by footfalls in the cruchy ice around the bus
unsure as to what was walking around i looked tentively out of the window to see three deer slowly passing the bus and head of to the river
Maybe the wood smoke had brought them to us but whatever it is such a warm feeling to be accepted by them as no threat
It reminded me of when i lived on the isle of Angelsey of the coast of north wales
I lived in a cottage miles from anywhere and i had two goats that i had rescued and the trouble they got up to never ceased to amaze me..

Often i would come back from Holyhead after doing some shopping only to walk into the house and be greeted with the kitchen in a total uphevel the fridege door open and food sprawlled all over the floor with a trail of grub leading to the living room and when i peeked around the corner there would be the goats sprawlled out full bellied on the sofa watching the telly never did work out how they turned the telly on ...

So with the thought of waking up to three deer sitting cross legged on the sofa i will wonder of to the land of nod ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Friday and today has been blue skies with some early sunshine warming us as we woke around 7.00 am ,and after a cup or two of coffee i started with my morning work first being to get the batteries of the truck and clean and grease the terminals

Then i started on the front painting a sign above the cab which thanks to Rima for the paint and brushes was really good fun i enjoy painting and what a better place to do some artwork

Round about 3.00pm Ray and jeff pulled in bringing us some more wood and introducing there other crew member John
Ray said that he had seen my sites on the net and really enjoyed my photography and my stories of our travels
I really enjoy the fact that i can make someone smile by my pics and stories

Later i took some pics of the hats that mel has finished and the felt panel that she has now attached to the bag she will do a poem and i will post it all onto her blog the next time we are able to get onto the net..

We had and early dinner and headed to bed exhausted and with all the animals snuggily asleep time to dream.... and a light shower of rain playing on the roof music to sleep tooo ....
the dafthermit

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Travellers Times


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A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film

A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film
Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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