A new home for our blogs

Standard

We now have a new website courtesy of the wonderful Andi and it will also become the home of our blog posts. All of our old blogs have already been moved across to the new website.
As of this Friday all future blog posts will appear at www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk/blog/ so this page will no longer be used.

Advertisements

So, what does happen at the Reindeer Centre in January?

Standard

We are now once again open to the public, hooray! Each year the Reindeer Centre shuts its doors for about 5 weeks from the end of the Christmas holidays to February half term.

closed.jpg

8th of January and we are CLOSED! Re-opening on the 10th of February!

This begs the question what do the reindeer and herders do for these weeks of the year! Well, some herders choose to head off on exotic travels to Australia, others choose to take time off to be with their families. Others remain hard at work clearing up after a busy Christmas season and preparing for a busy year ahead… albeit with some fantastic flexi-time, for example finishing work a wee bit early to make the most of some good weather by running up our local hill (thanks Fiona!).

IMG_9902

View from the top of Meall a’ Bhuachaille in the late afternoon!

As for the reindeer it’s the time of year when the whole herd heads for the hills, free-ranging for the first few months of the year. Some we still see on an almost daily basis, others weekly, and others not for several months! This winter has been great for the herd; cold, snowy and the usual huge abundance of lichen to keep them going.

Each day, if the weather allows, we usually go up and check on some of the herd…

 

sookietiree.jpg

Reindeer House dogs Tiree and Sookie are ready to head up the hill and search for the cows and calves.

 

 

binoculars.jpg

Reindeer Herder Chris spies for the reindeer from the ski car park, with the rain and patches of snow it’s sometimes pretty difficult…

sookietiree2.jpg

Have you found them yet?!

chrissookietiree.jpg

And we’re off to check on the herd and give them a wee bit of extra food!

blog 7.jpg

Found them! We like to make sure the calves get a wee bit of extra feed. It’s a tough job!

 

blog 3.jpg

How many reindeer calves can stick their head in one bag?

 

blog 5.jpg
We also ‘need’ to check the calves are nice and friendly ready for when we re-open!
blog 1.jpg

Counting the cows and calves to see who is about

 

When we’re not out on the hill we have a big list (mostly left by the herders who went to Australia!) to try to complete, such as repairing boardwalk, repainting the floor of the Exhibition, checking first aid kits, oiling the Christmas harnesses, re-packing Christmas kit boxes etc etc…

chirswellies

Chris has been scrubbing and re-labelling our wellies, ready for our first visitors to make them mucky!

morna.jpg

Morna sorting out the Christmas kit boxes ready for November!

 Meanwhile there are always the adoption packs to make up, reindeer food to mix, Wild Farm Cottage bookings to take, plus emails and phone calls to deal with. On top of all this Captain Christmas herself, Fiona, has been incredibly busy organising Christmas 2018!

daily diary.jpg

Ruth completing the daily diary after a busy day in January

olly.JPG

Olly writing letters for our adopters

 Now we’ve got the place ship-shape and all the herders and reindeer have had some time off, we are refreshed and delighted to be open again and hope to see you soon on a Hill Trip or in the Paddocks!

 

IMG_9882(3).JPG

Reindeer Herder Dave is raring to go!

blog 8.JPG

A busy Hill Trip on opening weekend

blog 9.JPG

Addax and Bumble enjoyed the extra food given on the Hill Trip!

 Ruth

Big boots to fill

Standard

We are all sad to see a beloved member of the Cairngorm Reindeer family moving on to their next step in life. With Morna leaving we have the opportunity to welcome a new member, Chris. He has some big boots to fill, but so far he seems capable!

pic 2

Morna was always our most fabulous Herder.

When asked what are your favourite memories of being here? Morna replied with “not sure, ask me in a year. That is when you can look back and focus on the really nice memories” Morna recalled one occasion early on in her time here of a hill trip she assisted Imogen on (another previous reindeer herder); “it was a hill trip on the free range and this particular time, just as we were walking out we saw the Reindeer up on plantation hill, just about to go out of sight”. This is a hill between Cairn Lochan na Beinne and Sron a’cha-no that rises behind Lochan na Beinne (Kidney lochen) at 721m. Morna had to race ahead of the tour, up the hill trying to tempt the Reindeer back down to our visitors. Unfortunately, she could not manage to persuade the reindeer to follow as they were off doing their own thing. Though she came back Reindeer-less the group were “amazed at the speed she run up the hill in the snow” and “took much delight in watching” which made Morna very happy with this hill trip.

pic 3.jpg

Morna picking some nettles to make a scrumptious nettle soup for tea with Topi watching.

What Morna likes most about looking back at her time here, is that she had a “good memory of every place. Whether being in the shop, office, kitchen, paddocks, or up on the hill such as jumping in Black loch. Those memories are shared with friend, visitors, and reindeer”.

pic 4.JPG

Morna and her favourite reindeer, Hopper, gazing over the beautiful snowy landscape.

Our new recruit to the Centre is Chris, though I say new when in fact he has been an adopter of Kola, Grunter, and now Bumble, for 20 years. He has also been a friend of the reindeer family since 2008 when Chris volunteered here for some work experience.

pic 5.jpg

Chris with the cows and calves.

Chris came to the rescue at Christmas when it was all hands on deck for us, keeping base under control whilst others were away touring the country. Even after the hectic time at Christmas he wasn’t scared off! Chris has now taken on the duties which Morna once carried out. He is also the current proud owner of the pink badge (which I’m not sure has been mentioned yet in the Reindeer blogging world, but there is talk of it becoming a blog). The pink badge is passed on from one herder to another if they thing you have gone beyond expectations in doing something.

pic 6.jpg

Not sure how to explain this one? Chris with a pick axe.

Like Morna, Chris gets just as enraged with the computer as she did and as I am currently writing this he is make some strange musical noises to himself, I think he will do very well here.

Chris hoped one day he would work here and now he is, and so is very excited to be as he has loved the reindeer for a long time. We all think he is a real joy to have around and is a hard worker and he “loves it here” and has already won over the hearts of the dogs though really the dogs have won his!

pic 7.jpg

Morna preparing Chris for his new duties.

So we come to the end of the blog but the beginning of Chris’ time here and we welcome him with open arms. Sadly we say a big GOODBYE to Morna and wish her good health and happiness wherever she goes next. I hope wherever she does go, they realise how lucky they are to have her.

Thank you for reading,

Oliver W.

pic 1

Ruth, Morna and Chris on top of Cairn Gorm back in November when he arrived with his travellers beard.

pic 1