Welcome to our joint-blogging series for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild Challenge – you can read more about the campaign and ourselves in our introduction page.
Megan (in western Scotland)
Another day, another adventure! We headed even further west today, all the way out to Ardnamurchan Point. We also stopped off a couple of times on the way there and back – seeing juvenile buzzards, an awesome moth, a herd of Red Deer, numerous birds including Twite, Whinchat, Stonechat and …. WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE!!!
Once at Ardnamurchan Point, in between seeing various birds (including Gannet and Manx Shearwater), I went on a small, yet, adventurous rock meander and even filmed it!
There were more Pine Marten antics this evening – I can’t get over how wonderful this animal is.
Matt (in western Scotland)
The Western Isles of Scotland are like no other place on Earth for me. A s you drive along, rounding bends, stunning new vistas will unfold as if from nowhere, like a predator leaping from camouflage to unveil itself. The beholder is left stunned, like a rabbit in the glow of this assailant’s eyes.
Lochs, mountains and forests appear as if from nowhere.
Viewed from up close, rather than the distant confines and comfort of a car, these habitats are teeming with life, even down to the moths that are stirred from underfoot as you walk, and the tiny mosses and lichens that bustle for space.
Everything is wet – even hillsides and plateaus can be damp and boggy, providing much entertainment and surprise – surely water drains downwards leaving these surfaces relatively dry?
Standing on a mountainside, the air can be so still that the sound of a running brook can travel clear several hundred metres across a valley. And there are no human sounds to be heard.
If there is a place that for me captures Wordsworth’s idea of the Sublime – awe and fear in the face of the beauty and power of nature – it is here. You can feel both insignificant and intricately connected by stepping into this space.
Today we drove to the most westerly point on this peninsula, and looked across the water to the isles of Mull and Rum.
Our two hour meander out there brought us twite (a new bird for me), chiffchaff, stonechat and whinchat.
At the point, pyramidal orchids and the UK mainland’s most westerly palmate newts (bizarrely in little pools on the cliffs) greeted us. We watched manx shearwaters and shags fly past.
As we wound inwards, we stopped to climb a mountain, submitting ourselves to the power and strength of this landscape that exhausts the body and nourishes the soul. The all-powerful God of Scottish nature rewarded us for our troubles, with a distant but enthralling view of a sea eagle.
This evening, at the cottage, for the third evening in a row we lay in wait for pine martens. Having figured out the best location and approach, our efforts were, after several hours of back-aching patience over the past three evenings, finally rewarded with not only the views but also the photos we had hoped for.
I’m increasingly convinced that connecting with nature in this way should not be something that we (or at least I) find time to squeeze in, to do as a ‘holiday’ but should be everyday life. As Wordsworth understood all too well, we are part of nature, and our entanglement with it is a thing of beauty. To be wild is to be human.