What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menootnaboot; Fishes Abound

Today's post from my trip is about somewhere that has become extra special to me. After Fraserburgh (see Monday's post), I dotted along the Moray coast to the town of Banff. As I drove through the neighbouring town of Macduff, I saw a sign that had me very interested.

But first, Banff. I parked by a rugby field in a carpark near Duff House. I didn't visit there due to building works on the lower level and exterior, and the available tours were a bit restrictive. 

The carpark was level, had public toilets, lots of walks of various lengths and standards, a dog park, wonderful kiddies gyms for different ages... and I had this view at my back door...

Yes, the sun shone for the one full day I spent there - rained both nights. I did a couple of short walks and chatted with dogs and their peeps; got to meet Rosco, a recently adopted Bully-mixer with reactive issues. His new dad was very happy to chat and let us introduce ourselves when he saw I was okay with it. Rosco did come and sniff and even accepted an ear-chuck from me. Then, Dad offered that I give Rosco his treat for being so good, which he took very gently. This helped Dad in his rehabilitation efforts, and I got to love a dog who reminded me very much of Big Boy

I did a litter pick in the morning and a van video in the afternoon—so for those who were asking, you can see the latest layout on THIS VIDEO!

On the next day, I backtracked across the River Deveron to Macduff... and the aquarium! Given that it appeared to be quite small, I had planned to spend a couple of hours at most, then head westward. However, it didn't open until 11 a.m., so I sat for an hour at the charger while waiting. Just as it opened and I made my way over, an enormous bus arrived and disgorged hordes of junior school students and their teachers! Mayhem. The girls at the desk said that my ticket allowed me to come and go, so if it got too noisy, I could leave and go back. I sat and watched the first tank of fishies, which held Cod, Saithe (aka Coley), Pollock, Halibut, Thorn-tail Skate, Plaice, Turbot, Wrasse... you name it... the kiddies ran amok. The echo in there was quite high, so after half an hour of waiting for the walkway to unblock (and didn't), I decided to go have lunch and come back for the talk at one o'clock. Good decision. Abby was telling us about the estuary nature of the Moray and how varied the sea life is here. She fed the fish as she did so.

The talk lasted about 15 minutes, but I lingered, and Abby stayed with me as I asked all sorts of questions about the aquarium, the fish, and her own part in it. She is a delightful young lady. I moved along the exhibits then, taking my time but conscious that the day was getting from me. There were to be two more talks, at two and three, respectively, and I found that I really wanted to linger. I loved this place! It may be small, but it is perfectly formed and is dedicated to displaying only those fish and other environmental parts that pertain specifically to the Moray area. (Prepare - I went photo mad! Some will be kept for Me-Now-Views. Given tomorrow is filmclub day on this blog, I am making this my offering for Nature Friday.)

There were some excellent boards on the effects of plastics - I hope you are able to biggify and read these - but the first one shows you the overall display.

Now for some more fishy piccies!

Now to share something very extra special. As I was at the counter waiting for the two o'clock talk, I was chatting with the attendants, Abby and Janice, and said I was already behind time as I had to find a park-up for that night. 

"Why not just stay here?" asked Janice, to which Abby added her further encouragement. "The park is free, and we've had vans park overnight before. As long as you are self-contained...well, stay with us!" How could I refuse??!!! The decision was quick to stay until they closed and soak in as much info and chat as I could. Did I mention I am in love with this place?

The talk at two was also feeding of the starfish and lobster and sand eels - and Abby asked me to stay with her after that to help feed the Mackeral and the Wolf-fish. I lingered with the Dahlia Anemones and Moon Jellies, the Dogfish and sharks and touch pool, until the three o'clock talk - of which I was an audience of one, this time with Janice. It's her voice you will hear at the end of the video...yes, of course there's a video! We had a moment of sheer excitement. As she was talking, I caught the eye of something lurking - and I, in turn, caught its fancy. That thing swam toward me, and I nearly squeaked - "Is that a Conger Eel?"

"Yes!" came the excited reply, "I haven't seen it for months." They are nocturnal, and the keepers rarely glimpse them. Abby said later it had been over a year since she had seen either of the two they had in the main tank. I felt really grateful for this darshan...

As my visit drew to a close, I browsed the gift shop but found nothing of interest - so I asked about sponsorship. I had noted the 'shoal' wall earlier...

Now my name will be on a fishy there; I sponsored the Conger and got the privilege of naming it "Argyll". The sponsorship is for one year and the funds will go to feeding and maintenance of the environment. In turn, I will get regular updates - and I received a free gift. Meet "Abbyjan" (yes, named for the two dears who made me so very welcome!)

I now have confirmation, and I look forward to revisiting the aquarium later this year with the hope of seeing Argyll again. Even if I don't, I know I have friends there!


  1. A wonderful visit. Long may Argyll thrive!

  2. Hello,
    What a fun visit to the aquarium. It sounds like you made some new friends. I love seeing all the sea creatures. The Conger Ell was a special sighting. Take care, enjoy your day!

  3. Thanks for this,YAM. I could happily spend a couple of days there and kudos to the foresighted people who made this educational facility what it is - with knowledgeable and friendly staff too. The fact that you were able to overnight there was an added bonus, and bravo for becoming a sustaining member.

  4. I would like to have that back door view at the beginning, in my back yard. I like the way they built the blue part of the aqauriarn.
    I enjoyed every moment you spent in the Aquarium and what a great idea to sponsor the eel. I am thinking the girls loved you because of your enthusiasm, they probably don't get a lot of that. It seems to me teachers need to try to teach the class that was there how to act in a public place. Yes, I know that doesn't happen anymore.
    great post, I enjoyed every moment

    1. Forgot to say, that sting ray with the sweet oh so cute face would be who i would sponsor.

  5. Clapping and cheering I would have been right their with you. So happy you were able to love on Big Boy look alike.
    Daffies outside the Grey and lovely walks. I look forward to going back with you.
    Hugs Cecilia

  6. Thanks for calling by my blog again - I have not been writing enough there recently, but hopefully things will get beetr soon... I keep saying that though. Sometimes, we need, I think, to give ourselves permission to ease off - certainly I do.
    It is so long since I have been to Scotland (except Edinburgh and that doesn't count - ha ha ) - but later this summer I am coming with my son our motorbikes. How wonderful it will be to see Glencoe and the highlands again. I see you have been out in your van - well done you; it reminds me what great adventures we can have without travelling too far.

  7. How long do conger eels live and how old is your one? That sounds like the sort of visit we would all like to make to a place we are interested in - one where someone makes you feel connected, personal, part of.

    1. Hari Om
      Around ten to twelve years (as far as can be established) and Argyll's estimated at between four and five. There's another one in the tank somewhere... Jan and I wondered if it was in that pipe but it could also be one of the Pollock which apparently like dark spots too, though not nocturnal. It really was a magical day and I am already trying to work out how and when I can return 😁 Yxx

  8. This aquarium reminds me of our local aquarium....quaint and informative(and ever so loud when the buses of students show up). I am so happy to hear you made two wonderful new friends!

  9. A great look about Grey and how efficient and comfortable you've made things. The aquarium is just fabulous!

  10. All those interesting fishy shapes!

  11. You seem to be doing so well on your travels. Your adventures continue. I love the names of all the places. XX

  12. What a fun post! We love your pictures of all the fishy things and enjoyed your van tour. We'll watch the aquarium video soon. It sounds like those two young ladies were so lovely and you didn't have to find somewhere else to park.

  13. Hello YAM,
    I enjoyed your series on the aquarium visit. I love seeing all the fish and underwater creatures. You are kind to do the litter cleanup! Great photos and post. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day and happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  14. What a fabulous post! I'm going back again to read more...I'm bad at just looking at the photos! Thanks for sharing!

  15. What a nice visit that turned out better than you had hoped. Very nice photos.


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