Friday, 31 October 2008

In search of Scotland's Haven

Apologies for the lack of posts - the weather's been lousy and I've been busy, but today we had some sunshine scheduled, so I awarded myself the afternoon off and went in search of a place called Scotland's Haven, which is supposed to be one of the beaches that grey seals go to pup at this time of year.

All the best expeditions start off with an omen of some sort and one turned up at the top of my drive:

Rainbow at Armadale

I stopped off in Reay. Every time I've driven through it in the past few weeks there have been pheasants in a field just outside the village. Were there today? Were there heck! I did find these two on a garden wall though:

Pheasants at Reay

James at the post office had told me he'd heard there were seals at Ham and since it was on the way I stopped off. Jackpot! Not pups, but plenty of seals. This fellow saw me standing on the cliff top and sounded the alarm:

Seals at Ham (13)

So I lay flat on my stomach and spent the next hour watching the seals:

Seals at Ham (1)

This one amused me. He'd been eyeing up this rock:

Seals at Ham (8)

...and since none of the senior seals seemed to want it, decided to haul up:

Seals at Ham (7)

...only to be foiled by the seaweed!:

Seals at Ham (6)

Lots more seal pics on Flickr if you click on any of the pictures.

I reluctantly heaved myself up out of the heather and headed on down the coast. I didn't actually know where Scotland's Haven was, just that it was between East Mey and Gills Bay somewhere. I turned off the main road at what I guessed was about the right place and 500 yards down the lane found a parking spot with a pedestrian gate next to it, so pulled up and went to investigate.

Half an hour's walk across a peat moor later, I was in the right place - but there were no seals! They must be somewhere else this year. The light was beginning to fade (it's a location to photograph in the mornings, after midday it's heavily in shadow), so I headed back for the car, stopping only to photograph a tanker heading to pick up the gold at the end of the rainbow:

Rainbow at East Mey

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow...

...there's a photographer who knows how to use their camera, unlike me! Guess which muppet forget to double check her ISO setting and took these on ISO 800...?

These very grainy rainbows were taken on the Black Isle, looking over the Cromarty Firth. As I went over the bridge, it developed into a full bow, but unfortunately there was nowhere to stop. You can get an idea of the size of it from the second picture though.

Rainbow at Cromarty Firth

Big rainbow at Cromarty Firth

Back to ISO 100 for this morning's sunrise though. 7.34am , my back doorstep in Armadale this morning.

Armadale sunrise

Morning clouds

Friday, 3 October 2008

A visitor on the beach

We're starting to get some Weather here now and the seas have picked up further:


I went down to the beach this morning and found this fellow considering his/her options:

Goose on the beach (1)

Rather sensibly, it decided that discretion was the better part of valour (it was hailing at this point!) and settled down in the shallows:

Goose on the beach (3)

There's a lot of foam washing in:

Foam on the beach

And the Allt Beag is running faster, deeper and wider than I've ever seen it:

Allt beag

(no, I didn't try crossing it! That's the *smaller* of the two!)

Typically the weather cheered up as I climbed back up to the house:

View from the top

And I discovered that we do have hedgehogs round here, though sadly this one appears to have succumbed to the weather:


EDIT: I've been informed by m'learned friends on that it's not a goose, it's actually a first year Whooper swan. Live and learn!