Well it’s quiet here now and we are heading into Christmas of course and that means my attention turns to our children and grandchildren. They all love it here and with Joys cooking we all eat and drink very well and hopefully we will do lots of exploring of parts of Mull that I still don’t know enough about. Sonny, Charlie and Rufus love all this Treasure Island stuff that I still enjoy too in fact.
Today we were off to see Sue and Phil at Loch Buie who are very good friends and always so generous toward the children.
On the way out a sea eagle and a buzzard were above the hill behind d the house, a male hen harrier crossed over the road on our way to Salen, a female otter was out with her three cubs at Craignure and another sea eagle flew over us at Loch Uisg. Apart from that Mull was empty and peaceful and Loch Buie was typically Hebridean in Winter with small waves lapping its empty shoreline.
Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone and I am sorry if you did not get a card, which is usually because we dont have your address I am afraid.
We didn’t need my minibus for yesterdays trip. The group of Inuits that we all felt like, needed sledges and huskies.
However I have to say that despite the weather conditions and Mull appearing to be entirely in black and white we had a really good time. I felt it better to stay around the coast yesterday as the mountains were white and getting the worst of it and so we kicked off at Grasspoint with a chance of hen harrrier, white tailed sea eagles and otter. Well we got all of those, with a sea eagle firstly sitting across from Grasspoint in a tree. On the way down to follow this distant sighting up we all had very good views of a female hen harrier arguing with a couple of buzzards for some time. Ahead and soaring high above were the two resident sea eagles and when we walked down to Grasspoint itself I quickly spotted an otter heading for the shore in front of us with a large fish in its mouth. It turned into a super close view of an otter despite the very cold wind and all of us getting a bit wet.
Now off through the woods at Ardura and down to Loch Spelve where I caught sight of a dipper. Before turning down the Croggan road we stopped for a break as a hen harrier hunted across the grassland and then we were entertained by 4 adult golden eagles diving at each other over Loch Uisg and one obligingly sat on top of the hill across the loch.
At Croggan we had lunch and then decided to head for Loch Buie and saw the golden eagles again on the way. Loch Buie was its usual panoramic and empty self and everyone was impressed with the sight and we had a short walk before heading back to |Craignure and their ferry home.
There is wild and wild and then there is REALLY WILD !!!!! Well the last few days have been the latter with vast black clouds coming over us full of hail and very strong winds, to then pass and calm right down. Only to do it all over again.
It looks pretty lovely from my office now. The sea in many different shades of blue to grey has really calmed down and looking past our super Christmas tree the landscape beyond is gold and red and at this actual moment the sea is now blue and green. Of course we don’t get a narrow view of all of this from our perch, but a vast panorama of mountains sea and islands. I don’t wonder at all why ancient people living in places like this were so besotted with the everchanging natural wonders around them and why they gave such romantic names to headlands, lochs, forests, sea cliffs, mountains and wildlife. They would almost certainly belive that behind all of this magic is some Godly being dictating it all.
Unfortunately I had to cancel a wildlife trip today because of the dramatic weather this morning but I believe it is settling down tomorrow and I have five other hardy souls to meet off the Oban ferry. If my weather prediction is right I think we will have lots of wildlife activity, as they also celebrate a calmer day.
Fingers crossed then.
Wintry is pretty apt here now, with very heavy but short hail showers overnight. Benmore and its surrounding mountains look like they are topped with snow, but it’s just more and more hail piling on top of itself beacsue it can’t melt at such a height. Down here at sea level its pretty good but very cold and the short bursts of sunshine have been very welcome.
Joy and I have been over to Glasgow to see Lucy and the children and we had a good indoor bowling competition. However there were one or two altercations from the usual bad losers, but fortunately no blood was spilled. It’s always great fun being with the boys and I was massively impressed at seeing what a good artist Charlie was. After all he is only 7years of age but clearly he takes after Lucy and myself. A paint set has now been added to his Christmas gifts, but don’t tell him so.
Down the loch just now I had slavonian grebes, red necked grebe, great northern divers and ever changing beautiful scenes amid the landscape of the National Scenic Area, as the sun wandered in and out of the mountains across the loch. It’s a dark and mysterious looking evening now with clouds, sea, islands and landscape in various shades of blue and black and I from my office I see a single small dot of red in the middle of the sea, which is probably from a small fishing boat.
Seems that whenever I step out at the front of the house, or at the back, I am seeing eagles these days.
It also seems that each day now as I sit and ponder over my diary, I am awed and left still flumuxed as to how to describe the evening sun and its glorious look from the office as it sets on the horizon. The reality is that whilst I try, it’s impossible to adequately describe what I see really and so I am not going to even try today !
I miss being out on the wildlife trips to be honest, giving people such pleasure, excitement and even tears from some as they see their first otter or a golden eagle.
I am like an eagle in a cage at times during the off season and whilst there is always something for me to do on the land or around the building I feel a strange need to be out there in the wilds of Mull. Ideally right now on some empty sweep of white sand in the South of Mull and a red sun setting in the north west. I think that at such times you feel close to ‘something else’.
It’s Winter and that time of year now but it just doesn’t feel like it yet. Today was so varied and as always atmospheric with periods of glorious sun and then a ghostly mist and light drizzle blanking the entire area out. I just watched a lone sea eagle circling on the hill behind the house and when I came to the other side a flock of noisy geese lazed by us, flying low. Trips are at a trickle now because everyone thinks we are always deep in snow but the reality is that we hardly see any and you would pobably have a better chance of it in Hyde Park than in the Hebrides.
Yesterday was another glorious day for a trip to Oban but the day before was awful with a lot of rain. This time of year there is always plenty on the sea and a lots of great northern divers wintering, slavonian grebes and in the evening mountain hares, woodcocks galore, occasional bats and tawny owls.
Its 4.50 now and the scene from my office is changing yet again, now with an almost black foreground and deep blue sea behind it. The island of Inch Kenneth is equally black and out in the distance the horizon looks like another world being covered by grey and black puffy clouds, as if there is a range of high cliffs and mountains behind Iona and Southern Mull. Above is a blue and golden sky and smaller grey and black clouds rising above it all. No doubt we have not seen the best of it yet. It ‘s like a perpetual dance of the seven vails by Mother Nature each evening.