Not being out enjoying Mull’s wildlife and earning a living at this time doesn’t suit my nature because I need to feel that I am doing something useful, as a man.
It wasn’t that useful that I had to drive all the way to Lochgilphead via our earliest possible ferry to get my Minibus MOT’ d. Entirely because The Vehicle inspectorate people forgot to tell me that they were coming to Mull a month ago when I should have had my Test on the island, instead of a huge round trip, way south of Oban, to get to the Vehicle testing station in Lochgilphead and on the very day that my current MOT would have expired.
I blame Brexit who seem to have messed up everything, including the person who should have contacted me and saved me a lot of money and very valuable time.
However today has been another serene and pleasant day here, with a little drizzle occasionally and devoid of humans.
The Island is still giving all of us the most stunning visual experiences, particularly early morning and evening, when it seems that millions of stars are filling the sky.
On the way back from Glasgow and seeing Sonny on his 13th birthday the sail over was another ‘way over the top’ natural wonder, with all of the Islands in the Firth of Lorne and the South of Mull adorned with rippling red clouds, which looked like they were all on fire. What more can the natural wardrobe of these magical Islands come up with for entertainment, I just don’t know !!
The drive in the new Mazda through the Highlands and its mirror calm lochs was equally spectacular and although I am missing my Wildlife Expeditions at this time of year, whenever I am out I still see lots of things of course and in the evenings it seems that Woodcocks are flying off every curb side and they aren’t normally that easy to see of course.
Sonny was desperate for a mobile phone and of course when you say to a child choose the one you like, it can be an expensive mistake !! Well it wasn’t a mistake but it was expensive and so were Charlie and Rufus’s Christmas presents.
Our own Christmas away treat from our youngest son Sam is a week in Barcelona, which will be a lot different from Mull, I know that !! But travel widens your horizons, and there are far too many humans that have such limited horizons, which isn’t that healthy I don’t think..
An enquiring, very caring and well travelled human being can make ones life so interesting. But they are hard to find !!
Well it’s about 4pm and there is another blazing golden sunset shaping up over Iona. In fact the entire reflection of the ball of sun is heading this way across the sea and is now so intense, that I can’t look.
This morning I had to nip down to Harry’s garage at Killiechronan to get some work done on the minibus. It was a winter wonderland, very quiet, with frost filling every glade and the snow capped peaks across Loch na keal making it look like the Arctic, but not as cold and very sunny here again. Fallow Dee ambled among the trees, but there was no sign of Santa !
The sun is now dropping below the distant horizon and it is as beautiful as any scene that mother nature could put together. The entire horizon looks like the scenes I saw every night as a child, living across the road from the huge steel work furnaces in Sheffield., With men pounding red hot steel with great hammers and sparks flying everywhere.
I never want to live in that hell off an environment again.
But I can live with the super tangerine sky that is filling my horizon again here.
Yet another glorious day here meant that Wildlife is again taking a back seat compared with our scenery and Mulls breath-taking colours and snow capped peaks that the island is delivering in abundance every day.
So beauty and more today, but deep sadness when attending the funeral of a friend from Dervaig who was lain to rest in the old cemetery at Kilpatrick which is on the road to Duart Castle.
Clear blue sky early morning cast its rays of sunshine through the stained glass windows of the delightful small church in Dervaig.
The Island felt so empty again considering how wonderful it would have been on the white sandy beaches of Southern Mull and exciting for anyone climbing Benmore today.
A day to remember then and for some a day to try and forget.
All year I am asked about the best time to come to Mull and I recall being asked that very question by a young couple out on a trip in winter.
At the time we were surrounded by snow capped peaks, we had clear blue sky and it was windless and warm at sea level and the two resident golden eagles were mating on the top of a nearby hill. I would say that it was as good as it gets visually and atmospherically.
I turned and looked at the young lady asking the question and said ”Well I think this is as good as it get’s, don’t you think”. She smiled and agreed.
Today is another perfect winter day here and as I sat up in bed a female hen harrier glided past the window and began quartering the landscape below the house. So a good omen I thought ! A trip to Grasspoint felt like a good idea and driving down Loch na Keal was utterly stupendous with all of the mountains and landscape across the sea reflecting on the sea like a gigantic mirror. There were great northern divers, slavonian grebes, lots of geese and lots of birds in the air as the sitting white tailed sea eagle launched off its perch and put all of the birds up, as it’s safer to be flying than sitting when the sea eagles are in flight. Across the sea and beyond were more snow covered peaks and Ben Taladh looked exotic covered with snow and a brilliantly sunny peak.
Grasspoint was inevitably deserted at this time of year and you felt you could touch the silence there. There were also 3 separate hen harriers scattered around the point and Lochdon generally. Of Grasspoint there were hundreds of birds interacting with each other.
SO !!! Winter is best for the sheer visual spectacle of The Hebridean Islands if you get the weather and want pure solitude. But late April, May and June are best for the full package of nature, wildlife and tremendous mountain and coastal; scenery along with pretty reliable weather.
Across the sea from my office right now the artist in me knows full well that describing the golden scene across the sea and its setting sun above a black and bumpy landscape, is pretty well impossible to capture in words today.
In the last few days Mull seems to have covered every sort of weather that it could possibly come up with and is now looking exhausted by its efforts.
The sea is so calm and deep blue. It’s a super view of the black and bumpy South of Mull and Iona from here and all of it is topped by a line of golden sky and white sun pushing its way now through grey and white clouds.
The week began with yet another starry sky and sightings of the unusual moon that everyone has been talking about, which shone like the sun early morning in the far west, while the sun was still dragging its heels to rise above Benmore.
We have also been lashed by driving wind and rain which is a slap in the face from Mother nature when she has been so kind to everyone this year, with super duper weather and the resulting excellent breeding success of many creatures here.
Mull inspires me of course as everyone knows. Like Leonardo da Vinci inspired me to go to art school in Sheffield and leave my office boy job, which was the making of me I guess. John Denver was also a major inspiration, with his romantic and very meaningful songs about the natural environment he also lived among in his own country.
I am often asked what I like about his songs and romantic lyrics. So if you want to be touched and inspired the same way, get a copy of his 3 disc pack entitled Take me Home. Never a Doubt, For You, Country Girl in Paris,Thanks to you and The Gift you Are, Calypso, which is about Jaque Cousteau and his boat plying the oceans of the world that are so uncared for. Sunshine on my shoulders, Islands and Postcard from Paris. They are songs that make you weep if you have an ounce of sensitivity in you.
Well the sun is going down now here. What will tomorrow bring I wonder?
What can you do to fathom which guise Mull is going to take on each day. Like an eagle I am pretty good at it by now, but I pity many of our off season visitors, that are inclined to leg it from the island if its windy and wet, but leg it too Mull from the mainland if its sunny and windless ?
Best plan from my experience is to sit it out because whatever it is currently doing will change soon.
Thursday was one of those days which was pretty calm and a pleasure to behold. I had my friend Tim Dawson up from Southern Mull, which by the way has European sunshine records ! Tim has been a massive help to me for some time, particularly when I have been confronted with too much IT stuff ! Friday was good for Tim and Linda to head back south but as soon as their backs were turned, overnight mother nature wheeled out her weaponry, with the wind howling and the rain lashing down all night. But this morning here we are with Mull like some tame country park in the south of England. So today we saw sea eagles, otter, slavonian grebes and great northern divers which winter here.
What is it going to do tomorrow ? Or maybe we just got so spoilt with the wonderful year we have all had that we now expect too much of this wild and spectacularly varied island.
If it could speak I imagine it would say ” well David that’s entertainment”
Today Mull looks and feels like winter, after the serene and summery scenes we have all enjoyed this year.
White horses are filling the sea out from my office now and its pretty windy. Benmore still has a dapple of snow but all in all it still looks pretty terrific and so a tiny glimpse of winter we can forgive Mother Nature for.
I had another successful trip yesterday with a keen group and we saw a sitting sea eagle and for a moment a couple flying, quite a few hen harriers, red deer, seals, goosanders, stonechats, a pair of golden eagles in Glenmore and latterly a female otter with two cubs on Loch Beg.
Plenty of wild scenery in between of course but its good to get our more famous species for my paying guests, which means that more people leave the Island telling others that Mull is the top wildlife destination that it is.
Yesterday was a bit naughty and we had some pretty wild, wet and windy weather. However today is another serene and dazzlingly golden sea reaching out to the shores of Inch Kenneth a mile offshore.
Off to our left all of our mountain peaks have a sprinkling of snow, adding to another one of the Islands exotic scenes.
I have just had a couple of grey wagtails on our track which have not been easy to see in the last couple of years.
I have a Wildlife Expedition tomorrow and if is similar weather, it should be very good with more glorious colours and visual effects.
A small light aircraft has just flown over, which has clearly chosen the most perfect of days to fly to Tiree and maybe beyond.
Actually the word ‘exotic’ hasn’t really done justice to how Mull has looked this year.
Another stupendous start to the day here and I have spaces on my trips for Thursday. So anybody keen out there please give us a buzz on 01688 500121.Or email firstname.lastname@example.org