Sunday, 31 May 2009

On the croft and along the cliffs..

On Saturday afternoon I had a wander around Iain and Carleo's croft and along the cliff top looking at the wild flowers and enjoying the sunhine.

In the grasses Tormentil sparkles away. It often reminds me of the Lakeland ells where I first saw it.

And Cuckoo Flower (also known as Ladies’ Smock).

In the wetter parts, hundreds of Marsh Marigolds are in flower,

And the Yellow Flag (or Yellow Iris) are just beginning to flower.

As always I couldn’t resist photographing Bayble Island from various angles.

The ledges of Bayble Island provide a nesting site for hundreds of seabirds.

On the drier ground the pretty little Milkwort can be found.

And in the shorter wet grasses the Lousewort is common.

The beautiful little Butterwort flower hides a nasty secret - the leaves trap and ingest insects.

In the pools on the peaty streams Pond Skaters were skimming along.

The wettest parts of the area have beds of Sphagnum mosses.

I was surprised to find a cow pat on the cliff top - I’ve never seen a cow there. These toadstools were growing in it.

Many of the fence posts are covered in lichens.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Odds and Ends

Pat and I took Briagha for a brief walk in the Castle grounds on Friday. She (Briagha not Pat) thought it was a day for paddling. She couldn't understand why we wouldn't join her. Instead we joined GB in The Woodlands for a coffee (and, in my case, the irresistible Florentine).

On the way back from town we pass this old mill.

Even though I have taken this view many times over the last 15 years I still cannot resist getting the camera out when the sun is shining.

We went out for a meal in the evening, stopping briefly on the Briagh where I got some shots of Oystercatchers.

We also passed the pottery which GB used to own. Sad to say, it has now closed down.

It is approaching the longest day and up here in The Hebrides the nights are getting very short. At 11.30 at night it was still light enough to see for miles and four hours later the sun was rising again.


Friday, 29 May 2009


If I were to choose one plant to be the Flower of the Outer Hebrides it would be the Thrift (Armeria maritima).

Thrift, also called sea-pink, is a very common, conspicuous and beautiful member of the coastal floras. The plant can be found in the wild in coastal areas across the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe, but also occurs in parts of South America.

It can grow in dry, sandy, saline conditions such as those at beaches as well as on salt marshes.

It is also found on the machair of the Hebrides where it can form dense carpets like this one.

Cultivated varieties can also be found.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Down to the beach

After lunch on Wednesday I had a walk down the croft to the shore, looking out at Bayble Island all the while.

There were plenty of Marsh Marigolds alongside and in the bed of the stream which runs down the croft. But if I were to choose a flower that typifies the Island it would have to be the Thrift and I shall blog separately about that.

The views on the shore were not easy to photograph because the sun kept coming and going but it was surprisingly warm down on the beach.

This is a Green Shore Crab.

Over the years I have photographed so many Beadlet Sea Anemones but I still cannot resist taking more photos.

One of the gullies running down to the shore was full of Primroses.

And the mosses in the wetter gullies glistened in the weak sunshine.

The pebbles and boulders on the beach are mostly gneiss and granite.

Despite being down there for over two hours I only met one human - David. He was being taken for a walk by Briagha. The obedience lessons seem to have paid off. David was doing everything Briagha expected of him.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Hebridean Weather

This morning:

One minute we had a beautiful blue sky with fleecy clouds overhead and in this view looking along I & C's croft with Eagleton on the left to part of Lower Bayble.

A few minutes later the sky looked really threatening up beyond Lower Bayble and a downpour preceded our trip into Stornoway.

Five minutes after the brief shower it was like this again. I never cease to be surprised at how quickly the weather changes on the Island. If the weather is bad that's a Good Thing. But if the weather appears perfect it can be a bit disconcerting.

For those who have not followed my Hebridean Blog over the last couple of years this is a photo of part of the front of GB's, showing the front door, on the left, then the kitchen window and the study, on the right. The plant in the foreground is Snow-in-Summer or Summer Snow (Cerastium tomentosum).

The road into Stornoway takes us across the Braigh - a narrow spit which joins the peninsula of Point to the main part of the Isle of Lewis.

We had a coffee in An Lanntair but only because the Library coffee shop was full. GB doesn't like the coffee there; there is no longer any service - previously one of its saving graces, and I don't like the cups and mugs. Small round handles may be arty but they are impossible to hold if you have any sort of difficulties with your grip. Perhaps not surprisingly, An Lanntair was empty.