sea of the hebrides

It was a wonderfully sunny day at the very end of winter, heralding the start of an unusually early spring. Algy perched on a rock in the cool afternoon sunshine and gazed at the waves rolling in to the small bay beneath his cliff-side nest. Masses of cloud were building up over the islands to the north, and Algy knew that the fine weather wouldn’t last long, but he was determined to enjoy every minute of it while he could…

It was such a beautiful scene, on such a lovely day, that Algy persuaded his assistant to quickly make a GIF of it, in time for the wonderful @imiging imigif event on 1st March - the first day of the meteorological spring in the north :)

flickr

Hebridean Light by David Langan
Via Flickr:
It’s Elgol - not much else I can say! :P

The weather had been unpleasantly wintry in the latter part of April: temperatures had dropped to near freezing, bitter northerly gales had brought frequent showers of sleet and snow, and all the creatures of the west Highlands, Algy included, had taken cover and tried to keep warm as best they could.

But as the month drew to a close, the weather began to change, albeit very slowly, and on Wednesday the wind dropped and the world was filled with light. Although it was still very cold, Algy stretched himself out on the sand in front of the sparkling sea, and marvelled at the beautiful colours it could display when it had a mind to… He was surprised to find a substantial scattering of sea shells on this stretch of the beach, where they only rarely appeared, and wondered how so many could have got there so quickly.

flickr

Good Morning from Scotland 

Tigh na Mara at Dawn by The Unexplored
Via Flickr:
Holiday cottages beautifully located by the sea near Tarbert on the Isle of Harris, with seals and otters seen swimming a few yards from the front door. It was a frosty morning and the light was strong. 3 shot HDR processed in Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop. Again, our thanks to our friend Penny for a wonderful weekend there!

The West Highlands of Scotland had been experiencing a short spell of glorious spring weather, and Algy had made sure that he experienced it too :)

He flew out to the lighthouse, his favourite spot in the area, and perched on a dry clump of heather to study the view of the islands. The Isle of Eigg was the most prominent (just left of centre on the horizon) with the mountainous Isle of Rum to its left and the low-lying Isle of Muck hugging the sea in front of that. And in the distance, between Rum and Eigg, he could clearly see the peaks of the famous Cuillin on the Isle of Skye. It was indeed a very fine day!

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy some fine weather and beautiful views this weekend :)

flickr

Eaglais an Fhiosaich by Impact Imagz
Via Flickr:
The remains of an old chapel built to serve those villagers of Ness who spent their summers out on the moor tending sheep and cattle.

Cecil Day-Lewis reads
The Solitary Reaper
by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings? –
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending; –
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

It was low tide, more or less. Algy flew over to the jetty where the humans did things with boats, perched cautiously on the cold, slippery surface, and turned his back to the freezing wind. It was rather a slimy spot, so Algy didn’t think that he would care to stop there long, but he liked to watch the shimmering light on the shallow water and wet sand…