Monday, 1 September 2014

Two Views

Looking out of the front bedroom window this morning we were treated to the sight of the Wind Surf passing in a stately fashion south down the Sound where....

....another cruise ship, the Discovery, was approaching Tobermory.  We expected the Wind Surf to continue past Tobermory but she turned in to the bay while the Discovery anchored off.  The small town must have had a pretty busy day with the passengers from two cruise ships coming ashore.

By contrast, looking out of the window which faces onto the adjoining croft we had the entertainment of watching one of the three piglets - which are supposed to be within an electric-fenced enclosure - amusing himself by chasing the crofter's sheep around the field.

Mackerel Fishing

Mr Watson (left) and Mr MacLachlan were out on the water yesterday showing how mackerel should be caught - though, in the Diary's personal opinion, the latter should have been doing something about keeping his piglets in their pen.

Even the younger members of the party were catching fish.

There's been a good run of mackerel this year, though reports are that the ones that are still be caught are smaller than earlier in the season.

The party caught a total of 53 fish, mostly mackerel with a few cuddies.

Many thanks to Jac Rae for pictures and story.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Walking Weather

This was the view at the front of the house just before the earthquake struck this morning, holding all the promise of a fine day.  The weather forecast predicted a bright morning but increasing cloud by mid-afternoon so, shortly after nine....

....we set off for the hills to the east of Achnaha, hoping to see more of this year's wonderful bloom of heather.  But by this time, half past ten, the sky had begun to cloud over and, shortly afterwards.... we passed to the north of the abandoned township of Glendrian, the rain came, blowing in sheets and obscuring what would have been a wonderful view.

After some hesitation, we decided to press on, and, as we walked....

....the rain passed and the sky brightened.  This picture looks across what the OS map labels as Glen Drian, half a kilometre or so the the northeast of the township, with the small burn called the Allt Mhic Cailein running through it, and the summit of Meall an Fhir-eoin beyond.

Upstream, flickers of sun began to move across the landscape, and.... the time we passed Glendrian township again on our way home, a pool of bright sunshine was picking out its green fields.

Approaching the flat land to the northeast of Achnaha, the sun was setting fire to the heather.  This year's display must be one of the best for some time and looks as if it has a few weeks yet to run.

When we arrived home shortly before one, the clouds had cleared and we were back to the perfect day the weather forecast had promised us - and to the news that, in Kilchoan, it had hardly rained at all.


The loudest earthquake we've had here occurred at 8.14 this morning - it sounded like an explosion - and the ground shook.  The British Geological Survey site at Plockton - seismograph record above - showed the event clearly.

The earthquake was later reported to be a magnitude 2.4 event, at a depth of four kilometres below Glenuig, with people reporting tremors as far away as Inverness - see BGS report here.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

An Autumn Feel

With the daylight hours drawing in, a series of cloudy and wet days, and a distinct chill in the air, autumn is fast coming upon us.  There's a good crop of blackberries on the brambles along the road which, as with many things this year, seem to have come early.

The berries on the rowans are their usual brilliant shades, though there is a much smaller crop for the winter birds than last year.  Last year's huge crop attracted masses of Scandinavian fieldfares and redwings to the area.

At this time of year the small mammals are working to build up a good store of winter food.  Most of the cobnuts that were on the hazel trees a week or so ago have disappeared, probably to a mouse's store.  This mouse lives somewhere near our bird feeders, and is probably benefiting from the larger grains, such as wheat, which the small birds don't eat.

The robins have had a good year for producing young.  This is one of several juvenile robins who come into our garden.  Robins will happily share food with other species of bird but, if another robin comes anywhere near, they'll try to see it off.  The puffed-up head and chest feathers in this picture is a sure sign of a confrontation.

This young swallow looks like a nestling from one of the last broods this year.  With the swallows gathering ready for their long journey to Africa, he's likely to have a tough time of it.

Another bird that'll be away in the next month or so is this pied wagtail - who, as an insect eater, shouldn't be enjoying a feed of grain.  They don't go as far as the swallows, spending their winter in England or France.  As a result, they'll be a welcome sight in the spring as they're one of the first birds to return.