Sunday, 5 July 2015

Summer Developments at the Community Garden

From Dale Meegan:
After a slow start to the growing season things are now flourishing. ‘Veg Bags’ are once again available to suit different requirements, and the shop (opposite the Sonachan Hotel) is well stocked. So if you want a range of fresh, local, organically grown vegetables call in at our Garden Stall or contact us about a ‘Veg Bag’.

Volunteers help to keep the garden running, and this summer we are getting together on one Monday a month between 11am and 2pm, to work together on a range of tasks, (and to socialise!). The next Volunteer Day is Monday July 6th. Everyone is welcome. Volunteers are welcome on other Mondays but this day allows us to focus as a group on some planned activities.

We also still have some plots available to rent for anyone wishing to have their own corner to grow fruit and vegetables.

You may have noticed that there will be three dates in July and August when the Community Garden under Anna’s leadership will be putting on Garden Sessions for the whole family. These include games, growing, harvesting and cooking on an open fire. The cost is £5 for children (and adults) – children must be accompanied by an adult. Under 5s are free and families get a special price of £12.50.

Finally, you may know that Anna and Hanno who have so ably run the garden for the past few years are moving to take on a croft on Skye later this year so we will be looking for new growers to run the garden. If anyone is interested in finding out more please contact Kirstie Shirra at

For information about veg bags, plots and volunteering please contact Anna and Hanno at or Dale on tel: 01972 510322.

Red-throated Diver

We've seen pairs of divers before on remote lochans, but this is the first time we've been able to get close enough, without disturbing them, to identify them as red-throated divers.

The red-throated diver, Gavia stellata, isn't faring too well, and now has an amber conservation classification. Unlike in the rest of Britain, they are resident in western Scotland all year round, but only some 1,300 pairs breed here.  To see them is therefore quite a privilege.

There's more about the red throated diver on a Radio 4 'Tweet of the Day' on the BBC iPlayer Radio here.

Talks & Walks

Kilchoan Learning Centre has set out to break now ground this year by offering a series of talks and walks around West Ardnamurchan which are available, at very modest cost, to everyone who is interested.  The first event is this Tuesday, 7th July, and offers a chance to see some of the wealth of fossils that can be found along our coastline - like this 130 million year old shark's tooth. There are still places available on the fossil walk.

Full details are on this poster - click on it to enlarge - which shows the July events. There are more to come in August.  To book a place call in or ring Dale Meegan at Kilchoan Learning Centre on 01397 874 260, 01972 510 322, or email

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Achnaha Sunrise

This was the view northeastwards from Achnaha at 4.30 this morning, a picture from Stewart Pote which probably shows the best of the sun all day, though.... was still trying to be cheerful shortly after eight.  But by the time....

....the Magellan began discharging her passengers for a day out in Tobermory, the sun had given up, as rain clouds rolled in from the southeast and the weather turned distinctly dismal.

Many thanks to Stewart for his picture.

More About Migrants

Readers with an interest in butterflies might want to learn a little more about the painted lady we found yesterday.  There's a very good article, here, about their epic migration from North Africa as far as the Arctic Circle.  Amongst other things, it points out that their round-trip migration, of some 9,000 miles, is almost double the length of the far more 'famous' monarch butterfly in North America.

There are other insect migrants around at the moment.  This is the silver Y, a moth which, while it can  survive our winters, has its population 'topped up' by immigrants from the continent and, again, North Africa.  These, like the painted lady, can, in some years, arrive in huge numbers.

We've seen silver Ys before, but spotted this one after noticing how well the marsh fragrant orchids were doing his year, and then wondering about the purpose of their scent.  Well, now we know.

Not that the silver Y fed exclusively on fragrant orchids.  If anything, it seemed to prefer these rather faded ragged robins.