outer hebrides'

Since 2015, Ruairidh McGlynn has been photographing the bothies, small dwellings in the mountains of Scotland, available for wanders and travellers for no cost. “This particular bothy is built into the side of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic coast, hidden away on the outer Hebrides,” he writes.

theguardian.com
Climate change is threatening the seabirds of St Kilda
Puffins and kittiwakes on Unesco world heritage site are at risk from warming seas, National Trust for Scotland findings show
By Severin Carrell

‘Naturalists have discovered that the kittiwake, a small migratory gull with ink-black wing tips, is on the brink of disappearing from St Kilda. The remote cluster of Scottish islands in the eastern Atlantic is the UK’s only place with two Unesco world heritage site listings – for its culture and natural history – and one of only 24 sites with a dual listing worldwide.

The kittiwake did not breed in St Kilda this season, with just one chick born there this year after a 99% decrease in occupied nests since the 1990s. Its adult population has since halved. The number of fulmar chicks has plunged by 33% since 2005, while St Kilda’s puffin population is in persistent decline.’

flickr

Tobha Mor, Uist by Barclay & Fiona
Via Flickr:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7

Life’s a beach

Waking amongst an army of other campervans under the beating sun, it felt more like Portugal than the Western Isles. Not ones to shy away from prime outdoor weather, we threw everything out, hooked up the solar, gave the rugs a good slapping, and relished the chance to dry out our home on wheels after - what felt like - an eternity of rain.

Turning right back onto the one-track road and discovering its end a few miles further on, we dawdled along the grassy curb-side to ogle the stunning golden beaches running into turquoise waters, lapping up the small islands scattered along the coast. Keeping a number of locations in mind we drove back to Mangersta sands with an afternoon stroll in mind; after the shortest walk of our lives - roughly 500m - to the beach we decided this was where we’d stay tonight. And in the tent no-less.

Such a short walk prompted a rather ridiculously giddy air; without a monster trek it allowed us to bring luxuries such as the Goal Zero to charge our phones and copious amounts of water for far too many hot chocolates: hello Glamping! Camping beachside allowed Theo to hunt for some prime burnable wood, and we sat around a camp fire bite-free whilst the mosquitos kept at bay.

Up early the next morning (well, 7:30am counts as early?), I sipped my coffee outdoors as Theo still slumbered, poking the ashes of the now defunct fire. Itching for something to do I strolled along the still quiet beach, peeking into rock pools, paddling in the shallows, admiring the sand formations, and slowly noticing the colossal amount of trash littering the shore. Camouflaged amongst the rocks it took me a good hour or so to forage an entire crateful of plastic, netting, rope, and toothbrushes which only made the smallest dent in the litter but was therapeutic nonetheless. Debris is no joke in the oceans, so every little helps in matters like these, especially in remote locations.

Theo is capable of sleeping in no matter what, so it came as no surprise to discover him still snoring soundly once I returned. The only way to rouse him was to remove the outer layer of the tent, taking photos of him until he emerged.