Two white Tailed Se Eagles set the tone here this morning, as they followed each other low across the grassland in front of the house and then along the basalt columns and cliffs on our side of Loch na Keal.
So it has been the most stupendous day for the time of year. With sun all day and warm out of the cool wind. The south of Mull would have been good today, on one of its beautiful white sand beaches, with a big pink granite boulder to sit against and read a book or write one maybe !! I have had one in my imagination for some time in fact but never seem to have the time to commit to it.
All our daffodils are now out and my newly planted gooseberries, blueberries and rhubarb seem happy living in the ruin of one of the old black houses.
I got up a few times in the night, not disturbed, but to look at the star filled sky that was above the house.
Visually I don’t see how anywhere can better these islands. Everywhere else just seems so very tame by comparison.
Its easy to forget here, but we have wonderful star filled skies, such as we have right now and often impossible to ignore.
We have an unusual looking star in the north with a little bit of red on it but I don’t know what it is.
All I can suggest is, step outside if you are in these island’s and spend some time looking to the heavens. It can be hypnotic.
Its 9.42 and so an early posting for me ! However I want to capture in words the look of the Ulva Ferry Area that we are at the heart of.
We have just had a huge rainbow shining on Ulva, The blazing sun seems to have taken the entire house over and another golden and sumptuous landscape of gold, yellow and green, sprinkled with a few small trees stretches out to the Hebridean Sea beyond.
It is a variety of shades of blue all the way t the Island of Iona and all of the mountains across Loch na Keal have a dappling of either snow or ice, which will soon melt today in the sun.
Ben More looks like a volcano erupting with plumes of white cloud oozing from its peak.
It simply looks wonderful whichever direction we look from here and with no wind at
all as yet !!
As I start this diary posting in my office Sheffield United have won and stay top of Division 1. Yipee !! Across the sea Iona looks like a brand new golden world. It’s hard to describe the weather as usual but sorting out some new raspberry and blueberry plants by our guest quarters this morning it was very warm in the sun and sheltered by the building.
We have 3 old ruins on our land and they are called black houses which were peoples homes in the past. Currently they are a small home for the berry bushes, whose berries will hopefully end up in Joy’s delicious puddings in the summer, or even Spring if we get one of those famous sunny, and long dry spells when even water can be scarce here..
I can see that we are in for another cracking sunset in an hours time and it has to be that time of year as the birds are going demented at the peanut feeders, hung out for them.
I have missed being out in the wilds of Mull but the Island is always very quiet as potential visitors think we are deep in snow in Scotland. When it’s the Highlands that get the snow. If we are lucky enough to get a fall of snow here it very soon melts, but on the top of Benmore right now it has snow, which can last until even late May, as I remember going up there and bringing some snow back in a flask to give our 3 children who were very young back then.
Now, I am reminded, that I also carried a huge vertebrae from the shore for about 3 miles under the children’s instructions but someone stole it from out outside our small hotel which was called Ulva House in Tobermory.
Spring is in the air though now I feel.
It’s been the most wonderful scene from the house this morning. The front of the house being almost all glass with each big pane looking like a different selection of wonderful paintings. Then add the South of Mull and Iona, Inch Kenneth, the wilderness area with its 1,000 foot sea cliffs, the sweep of Gribbun Cliffs across Loch na Keal with Ben More’s peak full of snow and rising into the snowy sky above and now sunny and snow dappled hills to the rear of the house.
From any direction the landscape is sprinkled with snow, which is rapidly now melting. We needed to shop in Oban today but felt it unwise but in the end the roads are ok and we should have gone, as the ferries ran just fine. We will have to make Oban tomorrow now and get an early ferry.
We have had none of the high winds that were forecasted for the UK and right now the Island and the Ocean that surrounds us are back to being ‘serene’ which is a word you would not usually associate with the Wild Hebridean Islands but we have had a lot of serenity in the last year in fact.
Today started misty but it cleared beautifully in the west as the day rolled out.
Wildlife would be out and about now I thought, as they would also take advantage of the clearing weather.
Going down toward Killiechronan, there was Mr Handsome, or his look alike !!! He wafted across the road above my vehicle and gave a swooping display as if to say where have you been David. Gosh the male hen harrier is handsome, but doesn’t he know it, the big show off ! It seems he might have tipped off some of his pals too, for as I got south of Craignure, there was another brilliantly white male wheeling around too.
In the same area and hot spot for White Tailed Sea Eagles I checked a favoured site. Only to find 4 sea eagles very close together in a tree and what a view it was in my telescope.
A really good day then with my ghostly friends, which I think showed today that many may have wintered here, instead of heading for the sun in other parts of Europe.
Bookings for trips and accommodation are looking pretty good, when it’s still only February. If last year is anything to go by, Europeans are going to come north again to our magical and inspiring Island.
I am hoping this also applies to our ospreys that are currently in Africa, but will those responsible here, have got that inviting platform in place to tempt them back??
It been unusually misty for Mull in the last couple of days. Ordinarily we get rain or sun, with mist usually a Highlands thing.
However it all makes for very moody images and experiences for Islanders or visitors, if you have an enquiring mind.
So off in the mist to see what’s around. Otters were my main hope and there on Scarisdale Rocks offshore on Loch na Keal, was a big male otter rolling around with a fish, on his own little islet. Otters, though rare, do deliver here and live up to their billing. like an eagle does I suppose but otters are all weather creatures and eagles aren’t, as wet feathers and wings are not a good idea, so sit tight until the weather changes if you are an eagle !!
plenty of great northern divers around, goosanders, mergansers, leaping seals that might convince a visitor that they are dolphins ! black tailed godwit, lots and lots of gulls.
Busy Busy is how it has been here in the last week. Picking Sonny, Charlie and Rufus up from the ferry and dropping them back again for the ferry and train to Glasgow. Their pet dog Chance was pretty well ok. In between I was working with Dave to install the new glass panel for the conservatory in very windy weather. And today I have been Repairing some of our track down to the house.
Joy has just returned from Glasgow and while she was away I almost starved to death, as there were no McVities half coated plain chocolate biscuits to be found anywhere in the house. Hard to believe I now, when they are so delicious, aren’t they? There is a chance that Sonny and Charlie ate them all while my back was turned I suppose !! Though Rufus did have chocolate around his mouth, so he could have been an accomplice !!
On the way to the ferry to collect Joy and her luggage I had another super sighting of one of the Loch na Keal White Tailed Sea Eagles sitting offshore. I know when they are around in flight because all the birds start flying and calling and its better to be flying than sitting, as they know they are easier game when sitting.
Today Mull has been its usual colourful and varied self and right now it is in its serene state, as if waiting for some action, which I don’t think is going to happen today after all.
Does anyone remember a singer called Jane McDonald ? In the past she did a lot of singing on cruise ships and this evening at 9pm she is on Channel 5 TV and cruising the Inner Hebrides on ‘her smallest ever cruise’ which I think refers to The Majestic Line Boats whose people I take out here on Mull on land based Wildlife Expeditions around 6 to 8 times a year.
I am assuming some of the scenery images will be stunning, as the whole region is of course.
Frankly I thought we were in for one of those long dry spells that we can have here out of season but the last few days have changed that and today after my doing lots of work, the misty damp weather gathering in the west looks pretty threatening. However it’s all part of Island life. Would being able to shelter in a city shop convince you that it is a better place to be, when all of nature is out here wild and dramatic ?
living in a city again is not an option once this magical place takes hold of your imagination.
We have had lovely times out with Sonny, Charlie and Rufus. Calgary was awesome and Loch Buie where our friends Phil and Sue live in a forest by the sea, is different again.
Today I have been painting and considering the erection of a new large pain of glass for our Sunroom, come conservatory, which Dave our joiner put in so professionally even with such strong wind trying to wrench it from his grasp.
It’s Wednesday and Joy has taken the children back to Glasgow by ferry and train from Oban. The children don’t seem to travel that well in a car and is probably because they are simply not use to it. Yet Sonnie is brilliant on cars, naming every one that passes and knowing how most of them are constructed, or cost !!
What’s this weather going to do, for I can now see a long strip of pink sky rising above Iona and the south. Actually because of the prevailing westerly winds the south of Mull usually gets the improving weather first, or last on easterlies. So we might get some evening sun in the end.
On the way back from Craignure where I dropped Joy and the boys off for the ferry to get the train connection, the two resident sea eagles on loch na Keal were doing their impersonation of two fishermen sitting on the tip of the big shingle beach, as if just chatting about life. It is always a dramatic scene in winter and like somewhere in very wild eastern Russia. I always pause to take it in as I pass the area, because it’s simply so evocative.
It is now 3pm and the pink sky over the south is growing bigger and longer and now lemon coloured. Maybe that sun is coming soon I say to myself.
Where do I begin ?? It’s been a most stunning day and yet another super sunset setting itself up right now. Gorgeous colours of landscape leading out to the sea and various shades of blue, on a still sea, with distant southern Mull and Iona beyond.
This then topped with a huge peachy coloured sky and numerous fiery red streaks where the sun will set this evening.
I don’t see how even heaven could look more glorious than Mull is right now.
We were off early to Calgary today and it was another super run with lot of waders running around on the beach. There was also an otter trying to decide where to come ashore.
The children’s pet dog Chase clearly thought it was heaven as she ran all over the big beach there and rolled all over too. It was obviously bliss to Chance.
I have just received some emails from a French friend Martine, who has just returned from Oman. She travels a lot !! And has sent fantastic pictures of the region. It might even compete with the Hebridean Islands ? Hard to believe I know ! But photographs can’t lie.