Otter photographed below Mingary Castle last week.
Sunday, 30 June 2013
Of course, while Stuart cracked on with laying out the posts, his dad got the electric fencing wire in a terrible tangle.
Saturday, 29 June 2013
We've walked the slopes above the boundary fence of the Ormsaigbeg common grazings a hundred times, yet it was only the other day that a variation the the blanket of bracken drew attention to a stony area which we hadn't noticed before - it's arrowed in the picture. In the photo, the Ormsaigbeg croft lands lie to the left of the fence, and the site's approximate location is marked on the map here.
The stones were once the walls of a house some 10 metres by 4.5, divided into two almost equal-sized rooms. It sat in a slight platform cut into the slope, close by a little burn that provided its inhabitants with their water supply. Around it there was a network of drystone walls, though their remains are so obscured it is difficult to see what they enclosed. But there's enough visible to show, quite clearly, that this was a dwelling house.
clachan whose inhabitants lived in a grouping of small houses some half-mile to the northeast - see the 'History of Ormsaigbeg', here.
This Google satellite image shows how intensively the land was worked two hundred and more years ago - the areas of striping are lazy beds, and old walls criss-cross the area. The approximate position of the house is marked by the circle; the road to the right is the Ormsaigbeg road.
Ormsaigbeg's crofts were created in the mid 19th century, mostly to accommodate local people evicted from places like Bourblaige. Look closely at the map and notice how the course of the wall which was built to separate crofts from common grazing is interrupted near the house - the double-ended arrow on the map shows where the wall might have gone.
So the land surrounding this building had something sufficiently special about it that, when the clachan lands of Ormsaigbeg were rearranged into individual crofts, it was excluded. Fascinating - but any further investigation of the building will have to wait until winter.
Many thanks to Donald Houston for permission to copy the Bald map.
An interactive map of the area is here.
Friday, 28 June 2013
Dull as the day might be, there's always something of interest to watch. This morning it was this wagtail. It looks like the young of the pied wagtail - please someone correct this if it's wrong.
- an Open Day on Sunday 28th July
- a talk on the team's work on Monday 29th July at 8.00pm in the Kilchoan Community Centre.
There will be other activities for children and adults. Full details will be published nearer the time.
The team's website is here.
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Teenage birds are just like human ones - except that humans don't have quite the equivalent of sparrowhawks winging around. This teenage chaffinch simply sat on the wall, in full view of everyone, and waited for dinner to be brought by his two, frantic parents. They had probably told him over and over again that this was about the most stupid thing he could possibly do but.... well, he's a teenager.
This teenage goldfinch took a slightly different approach to ensuring that a square meal was delivered, alternately sitting, looking cute and helpless, and waiting for parents to reappear, and....
He sat on a branch of the buddleia for about a quarter of an hour to recover, while his anxious parents kept vigil at his bedside. He recovered quite suddenly, and flew off with his mum and dad in hot pursuit.
Many thanks to Gael Cameron for the picture of the nestlings.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
'A Kilchoan Diary' recorded its millionth pageview, helped by a sudden surge of interest from German readers, who made 21,426 pageviews in the last week. There have been 2,065 posts since the first on 15th October 2009. Many thanks for everyone's support.
Princess Anne, as the Patron of the Northern Lighthouse Board, is travelling around Scotland on a three-day tour which includes visiting lighthouses. While the Daily Telegraph, here, states that she is trying to fulfill an ambition to visit all of Scotland's 206 lighthouses, she has visited Ardnamurchan before.
Many thanks to Ritchie Dinnes for the photos.
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
This is the Bente on her way to Lublin which, I'm sure we all know, is a port in Poland. She's a 4456dwt cargo ship built in China in 2010 for owners Marlink Schiffahrtkontor of Hamburg, Germany, but she's registered in Malta. She has more written along her side than any ship we've seen before. At some point, someone is going to realise the potential of turning the slab-like side of a large cargo ship into an international advertising hoarding.
Arklow Shipping's boats, always looks as neat and clean as any well-managed ship should be. She's low in the water, which is good to see, as it means she has a full cargo aboard.
here - but was floated off that evening and taken to Oban for inspection.
For those of you interested in disasters at sea, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Press Office blog here is always worth a visit. The other day, under the title "FIVE FOREIGN FLAGGED SHIPS UNDER DETENTION IN UK DURING MAY 2013" it had this to report -
"Vessel Name: - YEOMAN BANK (Bulk Carrier)
Flag: - Liberia
Company: - V Ships UK Ltd
Classification Society: - Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
Recognised Organisation: - Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
Recognised Organisation for ISM: - Lloyds Register (LR)
Summary: - four deficiencies including two grounds for detention
"The vessel was detained in Portbury as the emergency generator was not starting or running correctly.
Other deficiencies identified were during enclosed space entry, no SCBA at entry as required by procedure - additional training to be made; three fire mans outfits (suits) had been worn out; Insufficient cutting boards (coloured) in the galley." The spelling and punctuation is the MCA's.
Most of this isn't too much of a worry, but the failed generator is. Those of us who watch this huge vessel which frequently works its way through the narrow seaway of the Sound of Mull are grateful for the efforts of the MCA, but would like to remind Her Majesty's Government that they recently removed the on-duty emergency towing tug from our area.
The picture shows the Mallaig lifeboat 17-26, the Henry Alston Hewat, which has operated out of Mallaig since 2001, passing up the Sound on the 17th June.
here - but....
here. Readers who follow the 'Ships in the Sound' blogs will know that the Diary has prejudices about ships' names, preferring to stick with the old tradition of giving them girls' names. Big Eagle is a terrible name for a ship since, although this one is obviously very fast, it certainly doesn't fly and, compared to the Yeoman Bank, is very, very small, so Little Sparrow might be more appropriate. Perhaps the situation is saved by the fact that the captain is a lady, Ms Christiana Virgilio.
here. Although she's crewed by volunteers she came past us on the 20th in fine style, tacking into a brisk southeaster to make her way south down the Sound.
The Diary continues to live in hope of seeing one of the Royal Navy's new Type-45 destroyers some of which, like the Daring, above, have taken the name of destroyers built by Vosper Thornycroft which saw service in the war. Photo courtesy Defence Images on Flickr, here.
Monday, 24 June 2013
From Rachael Haylett:
|Glen Nevis and Loch Linnhe from the zig-zag track.|
Last week, while I was in Fort William, my old geography teacher Neil Adams decided to sort this issue out. A last minute decision on Monday afternoon led to Neil, Harry the Physics teacher (who had also never been up the Ben) and I setting off at quarter to six on a sunny evening to conquer the Ben.
|Glen Nevis and the Mamores.|
|Harry and I's summit photo.|
|Cloud clearing over the North Face, looking down towards the CIC Hut.|
The cloud also allowed for something very special. I had never before heard of a "Brocken Spectre", so I saw my first one on the top of Ben Nevis! They occur when you have sunlight behind you, and mist in front of you, and what I saw was my shadow encircled by a rainbow. A little information on Brocken Spectres can be found here.
|My Brocken Spectre.|
|Heading back down to Fort William.|
Many thanks to Rachael for story & pictures.