Yesterday and today were two more very calm days and would have been perfect for spotting otters and anything else on the sea as regular visitors know. In short, if its calm here its perfect.
It is a real pity that more people don’t do their homework on places like the Hebridean Islands, because winter or summer they can be as close to wild creatures, and their inspirational natural world, as it can get.
So yesterday the sea everywhere was silver. Today it has been gold and on Loch na Keal I had a big view of an adult white tailed sea eagle gliding along the hillside and 10 minutes further on, two golden eagles, as close as anyone is likely to get to a pair of wild flying eagles.
In flight at this time of year both species have a really relaxed way about them them, as if they are on their holidays and nothing needs to be rushed. Unlike the challenges they face come late Winter and Spring when there is competition for nest sites and food, all over the islands.
Interesting to some might be the knowledge that in December Eagles are often putting their first bits of nest material on their old nest, or even a new one, as they appear to keep their options open at times and build backup nests !!
Equally interesting to me has been the huge interest in Mull and its wildlife from people from France, Italy, Germany and other countries in Europe. Its clear that there is growing awareness everywhere now, in wanting to look at and learn about the other creatures that inhabit the planet with us.
My diary posts may ebb somewhat for the next two weeks. For like my eagle friends I need to do other things in preparation for another exciting time. I hope to see more of the French for a start. I love their language and expect to have to learn it, if they keep coming on my trips !!
The run to Loch Buie today to take and collect Christmas presents was terrific, with sea lochs and freshwater lochs as calm as a mill pond and so very quiet. Loch Buie is another of these hidden away places that people coming to Mull for one day never see and we have dozens of such magical places.
Back home now the sea and sky are the richest gold colour that you can imagine and the sea again is very calm, streaked in gold, pink and blue.
It is going to be another super duper sunset very soon. But right now from my office, there looks to be a totally new and different golden world way beyond Iona.
Overnight and into this morning it was a windy, wet and very grey time. But an hour ago Iona began peeping above it all and is now simply sumptuous from my office, with a grey and blue sea flecked with white horses [ small waves ] Inch Kenneth looks closer than usual and black as soot, now with a green and blue sea around it. The entire horizon behind it and Iona has a gold and white sky, topped with a massive grey cloud filling the sky above us sprinkled with gold and which is rising slowly and also heading this way !
Mother Nature and the Angels are at it again out there and think it’s all very funny. I have no problem imagining them rolling back the awful morning like some wondrous natural carpet and giggling their heads off.
I don’t know much about male angels but I know the females of our own species love a good laugh at our expense. So why shouldn’t heavenly Angels I suppose ??
Bursts of blazing sun are now flooding the house
Last night and overnight into late morning, It was very windy with lashing rain, but around lunchtime all was more or less calm again and tonight as usual we are getting a wonderful light show, so maybe winter isn’t coming yet, after all ??
Out towards Iona we have a deep blue sea with pink and orange clouds going to give us a lovely sunset again I think, but who knows because that’s nature !!
Golden eagles were above the rear of the house late afternoon with buzzards and lots of rock doves have come racing by and are always seemingly heading for the Isle of Ulva for some reason, that only they know about. A Sparrowhawk came gliding along the front of the house and scattered all the birds on the bird feeders.
There are plenty of Great Northern Divers on the lochs and it’s a pity that we take them so much for granted here when internationally most birdwatchers have never seen one !!
Its now 20 minutes later and the sky over Iona is in various shades of pink, orange, red , yellow, green and grey and the evening is very still.
Its 9.10 and off to Oban in 20 minutes. However I thought I had to capture this lovely morning in words if possible.
I awoke when it was still pretty dark to find the sun still setting in the far west of the islands. However I was wrong, because it was in fact a red moon setting in the west !! Now way left and beyond the mountains and across Loch na Keal there was the semblance of the sun rising !! amid black and white swirling clouds.
I didn’t get it at all I have to say, but it seems the moon was red because the rising sun was just casting its early rays on the distant setting moon as it disappeared over the horizon making the moon look like a sun on fire.
So here we go again with Mother nature I feel, just getting herself excited by playing tricks on us mere mortals.
It’s now 9.15 and off for that ferry in a light but cold wind and fabulous sunrise getting more fabulous by the minute above Ben More. So another colourful trip down to Craignure then.
As everyone knows my diary postings over many years are usually full of exciting sightings of the islands top creatures and what they are up to. But it’s that time of year again where potential visitors think Scotland is going to be deep in snow, or very cold and that our wildlife have all gone off to sunnier climes. Some have, but lots of creatures have also come down to the Hebridean Islands to winter because after their summer home in the far north they see us as somewhere like the Canary Islands !! Until next April and May.
So here we are in the wilds of the world and in some peoples eyes seemingly just bobbing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Well its been a very good bob all year I would say and we still await some wintry weather.
Its been very nice to get emails and cards from previous guests and I want to thank Ann and Trevor for their long letter today. If you are reading this and I know you do follow my postings, please forgive us if we do not reply, because I am afraid that even after all these years we still do not have your full address in Shiregreen Sheffield !! The same applies to anyone inclined to contact us at this time. Despite hundreds of people coming on my tours or staying at our Dinner Bed and Breakfast accommodation, we just don’t save addresses, mainly because of the sheer volume of enquiries and bookings. But we want to thank everyone for their kind words on trip advisor etc.
All newcomers to these islands out there. Do understand that Mull is a massive island surrounded by 200 other islands and islets. In among the mountains it is simply spectacular and very impressive but on the white sand beaches of the south of mull and Iona it can feel tropical.
Don’t try to tour Scotland because all you will do is spend your holiday following camper vans and lorries, packing and unpacking, in trying to do more than you should. Instead put down roots and have the time to truly get the feel of the West of Scotland and its magical Islands.
Just adding a few more tips on visiting Mull as I said I would in my last posting.
Wherever you travel in the world accommodation can be expensive but sometimes not so. Mull and The Hebridean islands are no exception.
What is a good idea for a holiday here is to stay longer than a day, or even a couple of days because the island is huge and the most varied place in Britain.
There are wild places to stay and then places like Tobermory which is the prettiest village in the Hebrides and in season full of colour, yachts and very jolly visitors.
Try and stay central if you have a short stay planned and you could take a left of the ferry and stay 400m down the road at the newly built Bunk House, which is very nice and not at all expensive, and it is central !! Or take a right and 500m from the ferry is the Isle of Mull Hotel which is spacious, has a good swimming pool for a wet day. It is again central and the most likely place to have single rooms I would say. Otherwise do the homework and check the Holiday Mull website to see lots of other options. However this is a Hebridean Island, very big yes, but accommodation is still a little limited. So do pre book.
For more info on travelling here do contact me and I will try to help. But please keep it short, as I am not the islands tourist office !! Just another very caring Aquarian who wants people to have a good time here..
A question I am often asked by potential visitors is ”What’s the best way of getting to Mull ”
Well it doesn’t matter whether you are one person or two and even a family. The best ways are as follows.
Ideally you might have a car, which enables you to rest or split the journey on the way. It is also handy for getting around the Island. If not, then fly up to Glasgow from whatever airport in England or overseas. From Glasgow airport you get the courtesy bus into Glasgow centre where Queen Street Railway Station is a 5 minute walk from there and where you get a train to Oban, which is the ferry crossing point for Mull and one or two other islands. Get your ferry ticket or tickets for passengers and vehicle in The Caledonian MacBrayne office. Plan to be in Oban about 45 minutes or more before your ferry sailing which with a car you should have pre booked. As a foot passenger you don’t need to pre book but just turn up. Ferry costs are pretty inexpensive. If you are foot passengers it’s even cheaper of course.
The crossing is about 35 minutes Oban to Craignure on Mull and from there take a left off the ferry, or a right depending whichever part of the island your accommodation is. If you are a foot passenger there will be buses waiting for customers within 25m of the ferry to take you north or south.
I hope to add a little more information to this posting in a few days time.
Well after such glowing postings that I have made about the super weather this year here we are today with more or less driving wind and rain.
So we are hunkered down now until it blows itself out. When as usual we have short memories and will forgive mother nature for her petulance because she will almost certainly create lots of super waterfalls, the rain will clear, the sun will shine and all of nature will be on the go again.
On the way to Tobermory today to get a new striplight for the kitchen and new ink cartridges, which I didn’t get !! I did see an otter wandering around on a small islet 400m out of Salen and found it asleep there an hour later on the way back home.
Trouble is I am just not so focused and Intune with nature at this time of year because life’s normal problems seem to crop up and devour my time and attention.
But as was said so famously in the film Gone With the Wind ”Tomorrow’s another day”.
Wow ! What a scene it is here right now, with the entire sky a blazing red, blue and pink and this is all reflecting on an entirely pink Atlantic Ocean. Only Inch Kenneth and Iona are not pink, but their blackness in the foreground adds to the very alien visual effects tonight.
This is the the most jaw dropping scene that we have ever had.
Aurora Borealis now seems very ordinary by comparison.