Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A lonely sheiling on the north coast of Islay.

Above the beach at Port an t-Sruthain on the North coast of Islay, we found a natural amphitheatre surrounded by the cliff line of the raised beach. At the focal point are the remains of an old sheiling. The tinkling of a stream, cascading down the cliffs, explained the Gaelic name of the beach, “Port of the Stream”.

It would have been a hard life eking out a living here. In the distance, low lying Oronsay and Colonsay are backed by the higher mountains of Mull on the far side of the Firth of Lorn.

Today the only residents were oyster catchers. Their nests were simple scrapes in the ground but their eggs were almost invisible. We were delighted to see the owner of this nest circle round and land on the nest as soon as we moved on a little way.