We had three days and four nights on Mull starting out - so it really was a recce - but I so enjoyed going somewhere completely new and it set me up for the main event. We came off Mull feeling like we had already had a holiday then going to our most favourite of places was a heady pleasure.
Actually it all got very interesting from this point forward...... the Fri night Cal Mac warned that the ferry to the isles would be delayed from 08.15hrs to 13.00hrs on the Saturday. Unworried we sallied round to the pier - all of 800 yards from the camp site to find the early Mull boat we were booked on had been cancelled (and gone to Coll and Tiree instead) We were to drive up the road to Lochaline - cross on that ferry then drive to Corran - cross again - then drive the rest into Oban.... I was still unperturbed - hell this is island travel! We turned up after midday and the main terminal looked like a bomb had hit - cars, caravans, vans, lorries all over and no-one going anywhere ......... We were told to come back at 17.00hrs ........ then I realised I had left my glasses in the showers on Mull! Oh hell - that knocked the holiday who cares mood off me. Ian went out on the now operating Mull boat (back from Coll and Tiree) as a foot passenger while I tried to organise the site to bring my glasses (which bless they had found) to the landing stage. They didn't get my answer phone messages until the boat was sailing away (hell they could have thrown my glasses at the boat and had Ian catch them the pier is so close to the site!) So he came back emptyhanded and I remained cross-eyed blind as bat when my contact lenses had to come out! Bless the folk on the site they parcelled my glasses up and posted them on to us out in the isles by the Tues. The ferry (Lord of the Isles) finally loaded us and set off for Lochboisedale at 19.00hrs..... the broken Clansman remained chained to the dockside with ominous banging and clanging coming from its bowels as the repairs continued...... We all got off the boat at 00.30hrs Sunday and chased in a long snake up the islands in the dark - newcomers and first timers must have wondered what the hell they had come out to?! We found our accommodation and the keys to it in the shed and were in and in bed for 3am .............
The weather turned gorgeous and remained so - unbroken almost (15 mins of a shower somewhere in the second week) until we were leaving a fortnight later. A pity the wind remained obstinately very strong and from a northerly or easterly direction the whole time which kept a lot of birds down and quiet. The second weekend I landed in the local hospital fearing hugely that I may have been going to fly for the first time ever - in the mediplane to Glasgow - in the dark - over a deep DEEP SEA .......... Argh! All was resolved tho and I was back in the cottage in a couple of hours......
The tale of Ians new lens would take too long to tell but very funny in hindsight - we got a bankers cheque but the clearing bank got suspicious about it (why goodness knows - thats why you go to the trouble and expense of obtaining a bankers draft/cheque so that it doesn't need to clear and the bank are already aware that you are going to spend a largish amount ..........) but all the arrangements went absolutely tits up and it took 10 days of anxious waiting and expesive mobile phonecalls before he finally got his hands on his new lens and stopped being a miserable little sod!
And Mull? Yes we were impressed - Ian so much so he is already planning a revisit for a little longer next year (tho we have already booked the isles and taking the friends who went out with us last year) but beforehand we will again aim to spend a few days on Mull. Ian got 30ft off and otter at Craignure - just on the edge of the campsite but it was evening and the light was against him so he feels he wants better pics yet. Red Deer came fearlessly onto site and ate anything and everything! The chap and his wife who work on the site had feeders up at the back of their sheiling and we had been placed on the pitch next door (actually the parking spot for his car we found out - but when busy it gets utalised and will fit a small camper easily!) He also ran a moth trap - I thought I;'d died and gone to heaven! The two catches contained only a few moths but the second night produced a 'biggie' red data book belter The Saxon. At last I have searched all my CF cards and found the pics I took of this cracking moth - many thanks to Andy and Hazel for having a moth trap and adding this dimension to our hols!
We saw several Golden Eagle both on Mull and out in the isles - in fact just before coming home I'd decided a bath would be nice and just sunk into copious bubbles and relaxing heat at 11.25pm when I heard his nibs open the outside door stealthily ......... he came rushing back in whispering hoarsely 'there's a golden eagle outside the cottage'! Oh b****r! Out I went with a towel wrapped round (Brrr that freezing wind on a wet body!) and at first (no contact lenses in!) I thought it was an otter - then a polecat - then we got the scope and tripod and could clearly see the original shout of golden eagle was correct - it was bent over eating and partially mantling its meal! The light had almost faded by this time going up midnight but it spent nearly 20 mins ripping into and wolfing something down ......... I dread to think what ..........
Almost finished editing images from the holiday ..... a few 'stragglers' might show up as the weeks go on but I needed to finish - not just to update the website - but in readiness for my next isles visit - in July! A dear friend has been in angst wanting to visit the Hebrides and now that I am retired from work seems the right time to get out and about - before I get too old - so a second visit has been arranged - helped on by the large reduction in ferry fees .........
Latest additions are from the suddenly decided and pushed in visit for a week at the end of July (?all that way for a week - madness - enjoyable madness!) which if the September proposed visit comes off will make three times in 2009 ..... sounds like retirement to me!
Pauline say's ......'And here we are middle of September back from our last visit of 2009 ........ where did all that go I think wistfully, until I start browsing thro images on here.............'
We thought this last visit was to be a raptor watching hol - esp with the knowledge of just what had fledged chicks in mid summer, but it wasn't to be - 6 days into the hol before we saw the first short eared owl - smartly followed by a second bird and then no more for the rest of the trip. Amazing. The 24 hour gale over 8 and 9th probably didn't help - it certainly reduced the human visitors - quite a few mad a mad dash for the last boat out! We could afford to stick it out in the safety of the cottage! The holiday and photography was salvaged over the last two days spent sat on a chair on the beach at Stinkey Bay for over 14 hours ........ you will see it paid off if you flick over to the new Western Isles Waders gallery ........... roll on 2010 - and yes its already booked!! Need you ask?!
Enchanted by the slide show, appetite suitably wetted can't wait for June 2010
Fantastic images, the product of skill, perseverance, and patience! I cringe at my own photographic efforts. (Incidentally, I found your site after reading your entry in the Visitors' Book at 1 Grimsay Island - I hope you enjoy your next trip)
...... neither can I!! Next June I'm afraid - but if it comes around as these have done then its not far off!
Hi Pauline and Ian. I came back for another inspirational visit. I can't wait for your next holiday.
Thanks Tony and Toby: going out for the third and last time this year shortly ...... wonder what we will be lucky enough to see this visit?
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