Wild storms, with violent seas and crashing waves, followed by calm and tranquil days. A seasonal pattern is starting to re-establish itself. It’s easy to forget the ebb and flow of winter weather patterns – but these last few days have reminded us that we can always expect some ‘pet days’ no matter what the weather throws at us as we approach the shortest day.
It’s two weeks since the autumn equinox finally swept away the summer. We feel the pull into winter with the increasingly late arrival of the sun each morning, and the disappointing shift of sunset ever earlier in the day. Less noticeable is the ever more shallow arc of the sun across the sky, meaning its rays carry less solar and heat energy compared to summer. This autumn equinox is often accompanied by stormy weather – and this year is no exception. We’ve had a good few days of high winds, huge seas and lots of rain.
We have a glorious day here on the island. Standing on the beach below the cottage with the sun at my back – I can see the outline of the islands to the east standing clearly against the sky. Mull and Iona form a backdrop to this spectacular view. We’re so fortunate to live on this dramatic coast.
We seem to be moving into the autumn – the last few days have been cooler and the island landscape is cloaked in a blanket of muted colours. The light has taken on a pearly greyness and we’re living under a sky which is drained and less vibrant. Only last week we were enjoying colourful sunsets and warming ourselves on a beach fire!
We’ve had the most amazing sunsets this week. Evenings on the beach – lighting fires, toasting marshmallows and barbecuing with the family – have been a real pleasure. The sky has been a colourful, textured background to all our activities.
Throughout the summer there will be an opportunity for visitors to experience island hospitality. During the evening there will be natural history and heritage talks, music performances and lovely things to eat and drink. These entertaining and informative evenings are at Baugh Church at 7.30pm each Monday until 13 August.
Another spectacular day on the island. Along the coast a gentle breeze keeps the temperature at a bearable level. Wonderful views towards the east across the glistening bay. Sandy Denny wrote some evocative lyrics about the coast:
A handful of small coloured flowers were nestling in the grass
I tossed them to the blustery sky and watched them as they danced
Oh the fickle sea I’ve always loved and to this very day
I’ll see those flowers come floating down towards the glistening bay.
We’ve seen otters on the beach below the cottage on many occasions – sometimes at midday in bright sunshine. We were delighted to see a dog otter swim by on Saturday evening as we were welcoming our new guests. In coastal areas otters were often thought of as diurnal (active in the day) – but a recent study on Skye found that they are active day and night – with their behaviour divided between fishing, eating, grooming and sleeping.
We’ve been working over the last three days to replace the old lead and zinc ridge on the cottage. This job was left over when we re-roofed the cottage with fibreglass last summer. The new ridge is constructed in wood and coated in fibreglass. We took the opportunity to re-coat the whole roof with a new grey topcoat. This latest piece of work unifies all the sections of the cottage – and give a clean ridge-line to the whole building. Hopefully, we won’t need to do any more work on the roof for some time – and our guests will be cosy, dry and warm.
We’re enjoying some ‘real’ summer weather here on the island. Waking each morning to a spectacular light show of reds and oranges on the eastern horizon and then accompanied by bright sunshine and clear skies for the whole day. After a day of bleaching and burning the sun slips down to the west and we experience a son et lumière of dancing and decaying light – accompanied by the calling of the corncrake.