A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

The Shiants, part 2

We headed round the west side of the islands and up to anchor on the more sheltered side away from the north-easterly.

Love the rock formation to the south. Looks like a witch waiting patiently on the rocks.After lunch it was off ashore for an hour or so. Headed to the north where I had hoped to get up to the puffin burrows but decided against it as it was teeming down and I am not the best of climbers. Went south instead and came across one of the settlements where you just let your imagination run riot as you sit on one of the walls. The fire-place and the entrance are still well-defined and you just sit there and think what a harsh but maybe fulfilling life they had.

There were birds around all the time and after going past the ruins I must have been too close to a skuas’ nest as I had to duck from a couple of fly overs. I do like them, maybe because they keep the black backs in check, but they seem fiercely independent and don’t mess around.

Walking past the bothy on the way back to the boat we past the rat traps lying on the table. Seems the black rats are so bad the bird conservationists cannot stay there but have to camp in tents as they would have no peace from the rats at night. They are suspected of starting to damage the bird colonies so action may be taken against them even although they are a rare species themselves. Because feeding during the winter is very poor, up till now this has been a limiting factor in the rat breeding cycle but this seems to be out of balance now. It was back on board and off home.

Still surrounded by birds its the puffins antics that always catches the eye.

On the way back over the Staffin Bank we had another minke whale spotting and the only down side of the day three prawn trawler tearing up the bottom. Only three boats on the whole of the Minch all the time we were there…..speaks volumes and Kenny says often they see no trawlers. If the Minch was healthy  they would be there. Stories were told and the one I really liked was about the charismatic minister who was in Applecross and his love of ling’s liver. Kenny would phone him up to say he had some and did so this Sunday in the off-chance he would come for them. And the response was immediate saying it was many a mile a Lewis man would travel for a ling’s liver even on the sabbath.

After coming ashore it was straight back to the Inn for a late start to a shift. Seems it is only half an hour from Shieldaig pier to the Inn. One has to assume every one is already there and they were. As usual good shift, good food, good craic and good people. Judith brother Chris is up for his annual trip so she is trying to take a few hours off over the next few days. Going home after hours, heading towards Milton I had to stop and gaze seawards at the moon shining through the trees at 11.40pm.

It was a good day.

 

 

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