It seems that we’re in for a lovely week – promises of warm, bright, clear sunny days as high pressure builds up to the west. This is always such an optimistic time of the year – clearing skies, warmer and longer days – the return of the corncrake and shoreline birds full of energy, collecting nesting material and singing with gusto.
With lengthening days, full of brightness and warmth, it seems that winter is only a diminishing memory. We’ve had another wonderful spring day on the island, and on the beach below the cottage, the palette of colours along the shore and beyond the rocks into the turquoise sea, are assuredly those of longer spring days.
We’ve had wonderful bright, sunny weather over the last few days. It’s noticeable that the light has changed. Gone is the thin, mean light of winter and in its place is the generous, golden light of spring bringing warmth to every surface that it strikes. As the days lengthen, and the shadows become shorter, the beautiful ‘straw’ light transforms the colours along the beach below the cottage. Ben More still has a few patches of winter snow on its highest shoulders, but here on the beach, spring has sprung and new life is stirring.
We’ve had a lovely week preparing the cottage for the first guests. The weather has been perfect – and we painted the exterior walls white and the woodwork peacock blue on Monday and Tuesday with the sun shining and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. We’ll be working on the inside this week – painting, oiling the floors and deep cleaning the entire cottage. Looking forward to another summer – meeting some old friends who have re-booked again this year and some new visitors who, we hope, have a restful and relaxing time in the cottage.
This week’s supermoon has created massive tidal ranges around the world. We’ve seen huge tidal variation this week on our beach – reefs and skerries appearing at low tide that we very rarely see. It’s been rather stormy with a spectacular swell running along the coast. The confluence of these two phenomena has created conditions that have scoured the beach and caused the sea to nibble away at the headland. Fortunately, there has been hardly any erosion to the dunes just below the cottage. Another bullet dodged!
It’s been a stormy start to 2018. Wind speeds of 50-70 mph have been regularly recorded, and we seem to have been living with yellow ‘be aware’ warnings for days. Heavy rainfall has soaked the already wet ground and it feels like the island is gradually sinking. In times past the island was sometimes referred to as the ‘land below the waves’ – it certainly feels like an appropriate name for these first few days of the new year. The ferry has had some battles with the elements – captured here by Alan Millar.
Very occasionally we get ground frosts on the island. When they arrive they have an enchanting effect on the seaweed and detritus found along the strandline on the beach below the cottage. These findings sparkle and glisten in the light and bring an unexpected embellishment to a beach walk on a frosty morning.
We’ve had some of the best views to the south – towards Jura, Islay and Colonsay – when we’ve had the occasional clear, bright morning. The experience of viewing distant islands – from an island – reminds me of being joined by the shared experience of island living and awakens an eternity of possibilities as you scan the horizon.
As someone once said to me when I was younger “we’ve had a lot of weather this week!” The edge of Storm Caroline brushed past earlier in the week causing huge waves and beautiful rainbows in the spume, and on Friday we woke to find a dusting of snow. These significant weather events always bring amazing qualities to the landscape and give us fresh insights into the beauty of this island.
We’ve loved having guests in the cottage during this last year. Although the weather has been mixed at times it’s been wonderful watching people visibly unfurl as they relax into the quiet, unrushed way of life here. The peaceful, beach-side location, has provided a place of reflection and re-creation. We’re looking forward to welcoming more guests next year – hoping for sunny and warm days and long, balmy evenings.