In 2002 we put a new roof on the gallery. Over the last 15 years it’s served us well. It’s resisted some ferocious winter storms – and despite a couple of wobbles – when the lead flashing rolled back and some panels started vibrating during 100mph winds – it’s maintained a waterproof skin over the building. We’re now fitting a new fibreglass roof with Velux windows – making the cottage even lighter and warmer for our guests. We’ve been told this roof will last 50 years – it’s unlikely I’ll be here to check on that claim!
A record breaking 2,270 black-tailed godwits arrived on the island this spring, the highest number thought to have ever been counted in Scotland at one time. These large wading birds often stop off in the Hebrides in April and May to refuel during their long migration to Iceland, where they breed.
The island typically only sees a few hundred godwits, in their brick-red finery, dropping in to feed around the well-grazed loch edges and wet grasslands. The previous record was 1,320 birds back in 2013. Let’s hope the Corncrake numbers this year are just as strong. Photo by John Bowler.
“From the edge of my country, as far as you see, looking east.” Jackson Browne
In May we often get spectacular sunrises – even if later, the morning and afternoon, are rather grey and disappointing. The low, slanting light often picks out the topography of the eastern skyline with intense clarity. In the background Beinn na Dreise, Ulva, Beinn Fhada, Ben More and Ben Buie are clearly seen with the darker silhouettes of Lunga and the Dutchman’s Cap in the foreground. We’re fortunate to have this view as a backdrop to our lives every day.
The coastal flowers of Tiree in late spring are an astonishing sight. The sea slopes and rocks that fringe the dunes are alight with vivid yellows, pinks, oranges and reds as patches of flowers weave across the coastal edges. The rocks below the cottage are singing with bright and vivid colours.
We’ve heard corncrake calling for the last few weeks – since they arrived from their long migration from north and east Africa. One jumped up on the wall the other evening and spent some time looking around before jumping down and running for cover. Shy and elusive – not always!
We had another visit from NLV Pharos this evening. It anchored in its usual position, offshore from the cottage, after returning from some maintenance work on Skerryvore. It was a beautiful, calm evening with a gentle sea and clear, warm light. It’s arrival is always unexpected and unannounced, rather like an old friend just dropping in for a chat.
Another beautiful day on the beach below the cottage.
Just along the headland from the cottage is an old rusty davit. Originally used on a ship to raise and lower boats – this one now stands in the marram grass overlooking the beach. It was used for many years – with another davit from the same boat – to support a washing line. Recycling and repurposing have a long history here on the island.
Amazing weather today – everything from snow and hailstones to bright sunshine. The wind has been blowing hard from the north and temperatures have been hovering just above zero. The bonus is that we’ve seen amazing colours in the sea – green and turquoise mixed with cobalt and azure. The wind plucked at the water and we had white horses dancing across the surface of the sea most of the afternoon. A delight of colour and texture.
Another bright and sunny morning. The crossing by ferry will be spectacular today with views to Skye and Rum in the north and the Treshnish Isles in the south. The gentle journey on the boat gives everyone time to relax and look forward to their holiday on the island described as a ‘vivid frontier of land, sea and sky.’