Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Of corncrakes and cremated potatoes on the machair of Tiree.

The dunes behind the beach where we had landed were covered by the sweetest smelling machair. There are no rabbits on Tiree and this part of the island is only grazed intermittently by cattle. As a result this grassland contains a profusion of  wild flowers.

What a place to pitch a tent!

We had been paddling, breakfasting and luncheoning for 11 hours and were ready for our evening meal.

 We gathered some bone dry, well seasoned wood from the high water mark and soon had the fire going.

It burned long into the night with very little smoke and the Tiree breeze meant there were no midges. Unfortunately the fire burned so hot that our baked potatoes were cremated. David's cries of disappointment were drowned out by the steady rasping calls of the corncrake. This bird is almost extinct from the "corn fields" of Scotland due to modern agricultural practice. Due to traditional farming methods still being practiced and encouraged by financial support to farmers, the machair land of Tiree is now home to nearly a third of the UK population of this once common farmland bird.


  1. Hi Douglas, what an absolutely superb campsite! The stuff memories are made of :o)

    Kind regards

  2. Great to hear from you Ian. Let me know when you get back so we can plan another trip together.