We’re back on Tiree and enjoying spectacular views towards the Treshnish islands and Ben More. The weather in Cornwall was warm and sunny – blue skies every day and beautiful sea views. St Ives provided a perfect haven – a wonderful place to relax and enjoy simple pleasures. We missed the open views of home. We’re glad that we have the summer on Tiree to enjoy.
We’ll be swopping the views towards Mull and Iona for views towards Gwithian and Godrevy. We’re heading south to Cornwall for a couple of weeks exchanging the turquoise sea of the Passage of Tiree for the similarly coloured sea of St Ives Bay. Godrevy is a tiny island which has a 19th century stone lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1859 in response to the great loss of life on The Stones, a submerged reef extending about a mile to the northwest of the island across the eastern approach to St Ives Bay. Lots of similarities in the topography, and culture, of the two locations but a very different climate. Much warmer in Cornwall!
It’s a gorgeous evening on the beach just below the cottage and we’ve been joined by an old friend. The NLV Pole Star has arrived this evening to anchor overnight. The vessel is a lighthouse tender operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board, the body responsible for the operation of lighthouses and marine navigation aids around the coasts of Scotland and the Isle of Man. Based in Oban – the vessel incorporated the latest thinking in propulsion, navigation and buoy-handling technologies when she was launched in 2000. Sadly, we won’t be seeing this Pole Star for very much longer. She is nearing the end of her career and the Northern Lighthouse Board expects to replace her in September 2024.
This morning the sea is giving one of its most spectacular shows. The low sun is falling on the crystal clear water and creating a myriad of colours from turquoise blue and olive green to cerulean and ultramarine. Apparently, water absorbs, and filters out, all the colours in the warm part of the colour spectrum – reds, oranges and yellows – and leaves only the colours in the blue part of the spectrum for us to see. Isn’t this amazing and aren’t we fortunate.
The sun is directly over the equator, daylight hours and darkness are balanced, the sun is shining and at last it feels like Spring. The rocks on the beach have been washed by the tide and are glistening as the tide turns. We feel like we’ve been scoured by the receding winter as the season turns. ‘The sea is an inescapable presence. The salt and ozone tang of a sea breeze is never far distant. An ancient highway linking the islands to each other, and the wider world.’
We seem to be in a seasonal tug-of-war. Winter and spring seem to be striving to get the upper hand. This morning we sat outside for a coffee in the warmth of the sun, overlooking the beach, and enjoying the sound of the sea gently tapping on the sand. This afternoon there was a wintery downpour! We know the outcome of this minor tussle – but winter is not giving up without a fight!
Another stormy morning. We’ve been battered by Malik and Corrie and various innominate storms over the last four weeks. Lots of changes evident along the beach because of the pounding waves and the strong winds. The shape and structure of the sand changes on a daily basis and although we’re used to this, I’m always intrigued to see how the incoming and outgoing tides create such wonderful and beautiful transformations along the shore.
We’re enjoying the new dramatic vantage point from our living room. Although the sea is often described as unsettling, limitless and powerful, a force of nature we cannot hope to subdue, we’ve come to appreciate its changing moods and accept it as a neighbour – constant and awesome in its presence.
Blue Beyond Cottage is now our home. We moved from Sunbeam, a distance of only 8 meters, in November. The decision to downsize, perhaps taken rashly in view of a predicted rise in sea levels, and to live even closer to the shore, came about after having time to re-evaluate our lives during lockdown. We have discovered that moving, or more specifically downsizing, has given us a new perspective on life. Perhaps life perspectives have changed for everyone in 2021 and we are all wrestling with what is important in our world.
I’m hoping to share our experience of living on the coast more regularly with observations of the ever changing sea and shore.
The year has begun with the usual mix of calm spells and storms! We’ve really begun to appreciate the power of the sea – storms Arwen and Barra brought in huge, and spectacular breakers. We were shaken but not stirred!
The beach is bathed in a clear, white light this morning. It’s running over the rocks – causing deep shadows and colourful highlights. It’s gently brushing the beach with a bright warmth. On the water it’s glistening and sparkling to the south and east and creating sun glitter all the way to the horizon. The glitter is caused by the appearance of multitudes of small images of the sun formed as the wavelets move and orientate themselves correctly to reflect the sun’s light to our eyes. It’s beautiful this morning.
For a long time summer seemed like a very distant prospect. The past winter on the island was muscular and harsh – and seemed to go on, and on, and on. For weeks we battled through atrocious weather. Spring was slow to develop and came in with bone numbing temperatures. Lambs were born into a brumal world and had to survive prolonged spells of cold, wet weather.
Now, however, that is all behind us – and almost forgotten – and we’re luxuriating in a world of warmth and vivid colours. Sunrise is anticipated, mornings are times of excitement and expectation and days are long and restorative. Spirits are high. Summer is here.