The avenue of mature beech trees near the Glenlyon Post Office have had their golden moment. Our children returned home from school proudly clutching paper crowns decorated with autumn leaves, then a couple of fiercely stormy days was all it took to wipe out the last of the colour from the hillside.
MelOflynnWebIn the lull that follows the autumn display I’ve seen salmon busy burying their eggs in gravelly stretches of the Lyon.
It’s taken me many years to learn where to look. I first noticed a strange V-shaped break in the surface of the water, going  against the flow of the black river. It revealed itself to be the fin of a salmon travelling upstream, keeping its position determinedly.
Another time I saw a sudden disturbance in the shallows. It was caused by a huge fish covered by only a few inches of water. The salmon was churning up the bottom, nudging the fine stones and took no notice of me or my dog watching from the bank.
More evidence of the salmon returning to spawn are the ghostly bodies I sometimes see caught in the circling side currents; perfect red-tinted fish that have reached the end of their mysterious lives.

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I celebrated successfully hatching chicks back in the summer, but now I view them as good food.
There are several practical reasons for the hard-nosed attitude to the young stock. When cold months set in, stoats start to find gaps in the chicken wire; they even boldly raid the flock by day. These deadly predators see my free-range chickens as easy prey. It’s like the Wild West out here when winter sets in and I’ve learnt to my cost that the best place for a young chicken is in the pot.
 The older chickens must go as well. With the price of grain up by 30 - 40 per cent, it makes no sense to keep cockerels and  a bunch of hens that won’t lay an egg between now and late January - I’ll have to buy my eggs, but it works out as better value for money.
The birds will be sorely missed. I’m consoled, though, by the thought of picking up new chickens on our annual family mission to Thainstone next May. Every year there is a remarkable auction of rare breed poultry held there.

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Glenlyon has a great heritage and this year more people than usual have been in touch to connect with their past.
Katherine Holdsworth (neè McInnes) and her husband stayed with us six years ago. Born at Gallin near Meggernie Castle in 1922, she shared her childhood memories with us. Now aged ninety, she recently made contact again when she saw a picture of Glenlyon posted up on Facebook.
Another  B&B guest told me about his close friend, who’d worked here during the 50’s, building the dam at Loch Lyon. He sang me a song his friend had composed while he laboured. It was a touching tale of a brief romance with a girl from Coshieville.
Two weeks ago we had a MacLellan to stay whose family had many generations of strong links with Milton. He brought with him a laptop full of census records and photographs of his great great grandfather, Rev. Donald MacLellan, minister to the glen. I was amazed when he let me see a bible  with an inscription inside the cover saying ‘Milton Eonan 1798.’

 

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