Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wanted: Mink Men!

Mink on Bhacsaigh, Loch Roag.

For the attention of non vegan, unemployed sea kayakers! Scottish Natural Heritage seek persons with the following skills:
  • Boat handling skills.
  • Experience with firearms.
  • Ability to walk over moorland between 8-20 kilometres per day.
  • Good knowledge of the Western Isles.
  • Experience of using working dogs.
Successful applicants will take part in the eradication of the mink from the Western Isles. Natives of North America, these relatives of the weasel escaped from fur farms in the 1960's and 70's. They have spread throughout the islands as they are strong swimmers and are ruthless predators of ground nesting birds. A programme of eradication was started in 2001.

Mink trap on Berneray.

I can proudly hold up my head and say that I have played a small but vital part in this public service. During 2004 we were camped on Boreray. In exchange for some fresh water, I did a favour for the island's sole resident Jerry. I transported a dead mink to North Uist so that he could claim his bounty. It was a very stinky minky.

Boreray, sea kayaking paradise.

Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.