Monday, 30 August 2010

The Speyside Way, Buckie to Fochabers

The Speyside way is 65 miles long and goes from Buckie, Scotland to Aviemore and the views and walk are fantastic, it is also along the distillery path, so plenty of whiskey tasting!
We stayed at Elgin before making our way to Buckie and travelling south to reach Fochabers in good time, a distance of just over 10 miles and the route follows the spey  river and it is well marked and the Scots are very warm, friendly people.

 With such glorious weather for scotland, The Speyside river looks tremendous.
 The R.A.F are always out and this is flightpath learning school!

 Elgin Abbey, I believe.
 Oil Rigs are towed back and forth to be mended and you can watch them come in and out of the shores.

Fochabers, the home of the Baxters soup and goodie shop!
Take a tour around the museum and see how Baxters was formed and then try and eat their 1" thick large plate sized pancake with plenty of toppings to try, you`d be mad not to!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Walkies and Cheesecake

The reason I called my website Walkies and Cheesecake is because of two things.......
My dog Willow and my insatiable appetite for Mars bar cheesecake that I picked up in Rutland almost a year ago.

I`ve had Willow for nearly nine years now.
They say a dog chooses you and not the other way round, I can safely say she did choose me.
She`s the reason I`m walking and doing alot of things better, I`m not saying humans aren`t good, but they lack the loyalty and love your companion gives you.
She`s the reason I got out of bed in the morning and the reason why I can walk further now than before and she always has a wag and "smiles!"
I got Willow out of kennels with paws up against the bars and  with a bowed head her eyes looking at me, I knew she was choosing me, but I didn`t get her straight away, it was the next day and two days later she was off the lead and walking by my side and we have been together ever since.

On our Journey, and it was whilst we stopped in Rutland, I learnt how to make cheesecake and then the story unfolded and thus Walkies and Cheesecake was formed! 
With regular walks with Willow and loads of cheesecake making it was a recipe to heaven!

Mars Bar Cheesecake Recipe

3/4 pkt large chocolate digestive biscuits
150g of butter (lurpaks best!)
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
20g butter, extra
300ml thickened cream (tescos best)
50g chocolate (milk - dairy milk or equivalent - not plain as it is bitter with plain) chopped finely
3 teaspoons of gelatine (or if your camping, 1 gelatine leaf available in pkts)
2x250g pkts cream cheese (mascapone works well, not too harsh)
1/2 cup of caster sugar (not ovaltine mug size!)
3 mars bars finely chopped

I was surprised how easy the recipe was to follow:

Crush up the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Melt butter and add to biscuits.
Line a cake tin (about 26 in) with greaseproof paper (or if your in a tent, you can add mixture to a dish and set aside) and add mixture, refridgerate for 30 minutes.
Next. with brown sugar, extra butter and 2 tbspoons cream put in saucepan and heat until it resembles a caramel texture and then turn off heat.
Then. With the chocolate and 2 more tbspoons of cream put in another saucepan and melt until smooth consistency and turn off heat.
Then. With gelatine put in bowl over hot water (me, I add a couple of drops of hot water to help it dissolve quicker!) until gelatine dissolves and set aside.
Then, Beat the cream cheese and caster sugar until smooth.
Beat remaining cream in separate bowl until stiff with forming peaks!
Then, Stir warm gelatine into cream cheese mixture add the mars bars and fold in the cream.
Finally. Pour half the mixture onto biscuit base, then add a little of the caramel mixture and chocolate mixture and give it a marble effect by running a fork (or knife) through it. 
Then. Add remaining mixture with caramel and chocolate and again run a fork or knife over it and eh voila! 
The perfect cheesecake, then put in fridge for an hour or two, or if your in a tent - devour at once! delicious!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Rutland Water

Rutland Water is a man made lake that was formed about 50 years ago.
There are several walking routes that go around the lake and it is very popular with cyclists.
The activities are immense with balloon rides, golf, visiting the nature reserve and Ospreys, everything for people to enjoy and some great meals to be had at the Horse and Jockey or the Old Pheasant, or pop into Oakham on market day, it is a bustling little town.

 Birds of all kinds resting for the evening on the "lonely tree"

This photograph was taken through a telescope and shows two young Osprey perched on or near their nest.

AAAh! one of the many encounters with the neighbours!
 Once upon a time there were three little piggies.......!
 Poppies are everywhere sometimes they resemble a sea of red in the wheat fields, but are poigniant reminders on November 11th.
strange clouds gather everywhere.
This cloud was unusual as it was raining in the cloud but it never fell to the ground.....
 A lovely sight to be seen
 An unusual visitor attraction....
A new mum, Gloucester Old Spot and young piglets.....
 A new calf...
 One of the many shows that are shown here every year and you get to see some unusual stunts going on
The young feathered variety still waddling around.

So you see Rutland is a hive of activity and well worth a visit.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

A New Beginning

Our journey has taken us to some remarkable place and one of them was a farm in Rutland where I learnt and fell for cheesecake!
I now live and work here and one of my projects was to complete a drystone wall feature for them and then the hard part, get to know the locals and find more work, which with their help and guidance I have been able to do and Willow now has eight playmates!
The wall feature itself is in the shape of a question mark and took several weeks to complete.
I enjoyed the challenge and having Willow for company who seemed to try and lift some of the stones as I was working brought alot of laughter, something which had been missing for a while.

The wall is also has a seating area and has since been used several times, although August has been a complete washout!
Roll on September for the better weather!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Many a good photograph is taken whilst people are out and about and it doesn`t matter what it is, you`ll always have a keepsake.

I had been very fortunate with the weather, majority of the time with glorious sunshine, but it can land you with boring photographs.

During our trip, I have tried to cover the unusual, wildlife, landscape, buildings/architecture etc, but anyone can turn a mundane photograph into a work of art - a masterpiece.

Photography can tell a story for you if you can`t find the words and sometimes a picture needs no words at all.

Have a look through this little gallery and see how simple it is and when taking photographs, be bold, just look and snap, there is no trick photography here or digital enhancements as i`m not a professional photographer, but I do love the photographs I take and they are reminders for me - should I forget a trip.

Some pictures are of the shores, the sky at night or bridges, newly built.

Go ahead and enjoy your photography!

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Mighty Meal

In Burniston, just outside of Scarborough is a little pub called the Three Jolly Sailors and they have a challenge that if anyone can eat the mighty mixed grill, you get a prize.....
Well, I had to try - didn`t I?
With faithful companion under the table salivating at the prospect of a stray sausage or pork chop landing on the floor in her direction, I looked at the load upon the plate and thought Oh My God!
No one had done it yet, but I love challenges!

I think my face says it all here!
But after nearly 2hrs of chumping, drinking, gurgling and fermenting well, I did it! And the prize?
A key ring!
Well, I was happy, Willow too, but for 2 weeks I couldn`t eat a full meal, never again!
Self Indulgence is not good for you!