Cycling to Gallanach – Muck May’08

Mid May took us to Muck visiting.

Follow the road from the pier, as you approach the prow of the hill – slowly ambling past darkly ploughed fields – the rest of the Small Isles open before you, smudged hills clasped to the sea.

With kids, charcoal, beers, salad and catch of the day we set to finding fire wood and building a BBQ in the sand.

The beach was surprisingly free of fishing plastics and sea bleached wood. Perhaps I am too used to the fishfarm detritus. As we widened the search the low fast upright stride of a ringed plover caught our attention. We left them in peace.

We dug a pit, ringed it with stones. Using grass, seaweed, dried manure and the odd twig, we lit the fire. Fresh Mackerel, small but fine. When I was growing up it was always with oatmeal. Hauling them into the boat, off the darrows, gut them on the shore, and then round the houses. Things change.

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Looking for Feathers – October 07

On a damp misty day we bumped up the glen on a quad bike. The river was in spate and difficult to get across, so we took a high tack and scrambled up and over onto the ridge. Just as we dropped over the prow I caught site of a stone that did not quite belong. It was placed on top of what I assumed as a glacial erratic. I lifted it and underneath was a supermarket bag. Army manoeuvres – where were they being sent. We skirted along the base of a rock face, occassionally climbing onto a higher ledge so we did not lose height. ‘Here we are’. A roost site. A wind twisted oak stuck out of a small patch of vegetation that luminesced in the damp mist. I picked up a large pellet, and one arm round the trunk for comfort, I prized it open with my fingers. Above, my companion was scrambeling up the grass pulling downy feathers from bare twigs. Me with my fingers in the moss, and through the lichens on the trunk, searching for flight feathers. DNA samples for the Highland Raptor project. A fine specimen hung worryingly out of reach. I held onto my companions leg as he stretched out – just. It dropped to me and I placed it in a freezer bag. Wet, happy, we headed home.

Found things

Today I found a till reciept. Its the school holidays. I put the kids in the bike trailer and headed of along the road and into the woods. We crossed the river drifting upstream to a favourite place for throwing stones. The white caught my eye, the paper sat limp and delicate in my hand. It was a till receipt from a Newagents in L********* (about 500 miles away). A weekly paper bill. It had the cashiers name, the phone number of the newsagent, the account number, and the persons name . I wondered, is this how identity theft starts