Struan Lodge Beauly
holiday accommodation inverness
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Scotlandís newest ski resort
Scotlandís newest ski resort holiday accommodation inverness is also home to the countryís only cable-car system on Aonach MÚr near Fort William. The Nevis Range at the 4006 foot Aonach MÚr offers 19 different ski-runs, ranging from easy to difficult, while the sport of holiday accommodation inverness snowboarding has become popular with many skiers visiting the area.
The cable-car system at Aonach MÚr is more than just a sports playground, however. It is also of considerable environmental importance and planners have recognised the necessity of maintaining the mountainís wildlife and vegetation as well as developing its leisure facilities.
The Snowgoose Bowl on the upper part of the mountain provides a breeding ground for dotterel and is therefore protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Buzzards and eagles can also be seen there. Although conditions in this area are harsh, slow growing plants can survive and so the vegetation includes many attractive mosses and liverworts. The developers aim to make the mountain accessible to all, without destroying its unique environment.
Cape Breton Island, part of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, has on occasion been referred to as the other Gaidhealtachd. The East Coast of the North American continent might seem an unlikely place for such a community Ė how did Cape Breton earn this description?
Cape Bretonís Gaeldom was first created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Scottish emigrants who established Gaelic speaking communities in their new country. Five or six generations later, you can still meet Cape Bretoners like Calum Smith who lives in Sydney, Cape Bretonís major city, whose Gaelic is still just as fluent as was his Lewis ancestorsí!
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Cape Breton is the way its Gaelic culture has developed independently over the last two hundred years, even although the number of Gaelic speakers has declined since the first emigrants settled there. Cape Bretonís distinctive music and literature draw on Cape Bretonersí own experiences, with little reference to the Scottish Highlands, even though both share the same Gaelic roots and language.
There are till similarities, however. Like Scotland, Cape Breton Island is a strikingly beautiful place with magnificent scenery. Like Scotland, too, its young people are developing an awareness of their own heritage and a renewed interest in the Gaelic language. It is now confidently predicted that there will be more people speaking Gaelic in Cape Breton in thirty yearsí time than there are today. The dynamic young Rankin Family, whose Cape Breton style of Gaelic music is becoming increasingly popular in Scotland as well as in Canada, is a good example of this new trend.
It is not surprising, then, that many people in Scotlandís Gaeldom are looking with interest at these lively developments in Cape Breton.
Gaelic tradition is rich in stories and legends, many of them handed down by word of mouth through the generations, and many concerning the gift of second sight. Some of the most famous of these stories centre on a shadowy figure, called the Brahan Seer, known in Gaelic as Goinneach Odhar (Sallow Kenneth).
Tradition tells us that he lived in the seventeenth century. He travelled throughout the highlands and made a large number of prophecies, many of which have been fulfilled, for example the Highland Clearances and the emigrations which resulted. The building of the Caledonian Canal was another prophecy that came true.
Coinneach Odharís prophecies are still remembered and talked about in the Highands today. A significant event, such as an accident or the washing away of a bridge, can revive memories of his prophecies, although as with all prophets there is sometimes doubt as to whether or not his prophecies have been fulfilled.