Again the weather was fine and we could cross the Minch to Lochmaddy and the Outer Hebrides, easily. It was flat calm all the way, but too late for a push to St.Kilda. We headed up the north east coast of Skye, past the impressive Mealt falls and Kilt Rock before heading west across the Minch.
Today was our last chance for St.Kilda. If we were going to make it we would need to be at Lochmaddy tonight. The Kylebhan would need eight hours from there to reach the archipelago, an overnight stop and eight hours back. We had wanted time on the island as well, at the very least a day. The weather had cleared but the wind was still south easterly, we could get pinned in Village Bay or worse pushed onto the shore. It wasn’t going to happen.
Our third day and not much progress towards St.Kilda but all enjoying the Inner Hebrides and the uncertainty of where we would be mooring the next night. This evening we found ourselves in one of the remotest places in Scotland, Inverie on Knoydart, only accessible by foot or boat.
Woke up to a very wet day on Rum. Wind speeds were up too out of the shelter of Kinloch Bay. No chance to make a push to Lochmaddy where we would be in a position to make an attempt to reach St. Kilda. If we were going to be sea sick this was the day. Winds pushing towards 5/6 on the Beaufort scale, we were rolled and buffeted but out on deck it was exhilarating.
Just recently returned from five weeks up in the north of Scotland and experienced rain on only 5 days! Whilst we didn’t get anywhere near the contested 33 C recorded in Motherwell on the 28th June (thank goodness) we certainly struck lucky.Continue reading
My brother Phil had just come back from Mull and had told of a golden eagle eyrie very close to the single road that runs through Glen More. He’d also been lucky enough to see it take a live lamb off the hillside in front of the eyrie and return it to the then small eaglet sitting tight and out of sight in what had become known as the ‘smiling rock’, due to the shape of the crag under which the eyrie lay.
It’s been a good while since I last posted a blog but a recent trip to Mull, and devouring ‘The Eagles Way’ by a favourite nature writer of mine, Jim Crumley, has made me think about getting ‘something out there’(funnily enough another title of one of Crumley’s twenty five or so books!)
Sometimes everywhere you turn light seems to be doing something extraordinary and it can happen when you are in the perfect place. It happened this summer in Glen Etive, one of the very best glens in the highlands of Scotland.
Back to Islay and the geese. The aim was to place them in a wider context and I was fortunate that the weather was with me (seems like it’s not been very good since then). The mornings were superb and straight out of the van I was able to work with a perfect backdrop and the geese coming over the waters of Loch Indal. Trying to work them together is not such an easy task, focusing is all against you and the focusing spot had to be continually adjusted.
Islay’s about the perfect destination in winter if you love both geese and a good malt. For such a small island it has a wealth of fine distilleries and they are wonderfully located. Eight distilleries in such a compact area all responding to the natural characteristics of the island.
We woke to rain, nothing unusual about that, but the van wasn’t shaking and it just felt stiller. Looking out to Handa was just too much, we had planned to move back south today but being opposite the island and now with the possibility that today the boat just might run, we had to give it one last shot. We could move down south a little quicker it was a chance we had to take. It had even stopped raining!
We knew that Handa was a ‘no goer’ today but we still went down to Tarbet where the boat leaves from in more hope than anticipation. Met the boatman coming back in his van, “not a chance today, tomorrow not looking good either”
Leaving Ullapool we travelled up to Scourie and another impressive site, one I’d not stayed on before. You couldn’t really get much closer to the sea here and overlooking Handa, which was to be our last hope of visiting a single off shore island on this journey to Scotland.