Thursday, 26 August 2010

Early Morning along Ormsaigbeg

Not a cloud in the sky on this crystalline late summer morning, but the haar, a sea fog, lay heavy across the Sound of Mull. So it seemed incongruous, walking down the road to the shop in bright sunlight, to hear the deep, vibrating boom of fog horns as ships tried to avoid collision a few miles away beyond Tobermory lighthouse.

The haar forms when warmer air moves gently across an area of colder sea. It's a feature of the Sound at this time of year, one that passing yachts, in particular, dread, as they share these waters with ships the size of three football pitches which, even with the helm hard over, take a mile or so to start turning.

We walked past Craigard, a neat little working croft nestling in trees at the bottom of the heather-covered slopes of Druim na Gearr Leacainn (druim, ridge, gearr, short, leacainn, possibly leacann, slope). Close followers of the Diary will be pleased to hear that Tom Bryson's Ixworth hen that was attacked by a dog was happily foraging inside the 2,000 volt protected run with all the others, though she has to hop around on one leg.

Herons always look hunched and grumpy, and this one, sitting in the shallow waters of the small lochan beside the shop, was no exception despite the brightness of the morning. Recent high tides, pouring in through the narrow gap on its sea-side, have begun to scour away some of the weed that covers the lochan through the summer months.

Over the heron's head a battle royal was taking place between two buzzards, with the lighter one, screaming with frustrated anger, attacking the darker. It took a moment or two for the Diary to recognise a typical teenage-parent relationship. The noisy one is the youngster who has, for weeks, sat on a fence post crying out all day to be fed. Obviously he's now taking a more aggressive approach toward parents who are obviously not up to the mark.

Meanwhile, a crane fly sits peacefully on an old fencing stob, his wings irridescent in the low morning sun.


  1. So good to hear Tom's hen is doing well!
    I have often thought about her this last week or so.
    Fabulous picture of the Sound today Jon.
    We have had rain and wind all day in Suffolk!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Sara - the Sound has been a picture recently. And we have brilliant sunshine again today..