Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Monday, 19 July 2010


Now at Port Askaig on Islay after having a wonderful couple of days. was a little early here due to having had to change the itinerary due toa boat breakdown but couldn't have been made more welcome by the warden, Catherine and the 3 volunteers, Hugh, Heather and Richard at Loch of Guinart RSPB reserve. Many thanks to them all.

Catherine - the sunny personality warden

Heard a corncrake briefly on the first evening here [209] and saw 5 roe deer from the reserve's hide.

Yesterday went to The Oa, cycling down there after meeting Jeremy 'Jez' hastings in Debbie's Coffee House. [great cheesecake!] Jez runs a cycling wildlife business on the island and visitors don't even carry any luggage/rucksacks around. Jez carries them all on his 'work' bike. Brilliant bloke and well worth meeting.

The Oa has a huge tower atop dedicated to American sailors and soldiers that lost their lives on two shipwrecks nearby. Views over to Rathlin and the Antrim coast were as good as when I'd been there a few weeks back. A dead sheep was a draw for a number of ravens and other birds seen here were 4 chough, gannets and auks passing, whinchat and stonechat on the moorland and lots of linnets and meadow pipits.

Today, Monday the 19th of July has been the 200th day of the cycling tour. After sorting out the moth trap this morning; Catherine gave me a tour of the reserve and the rest of the afternoon was spent exploring on the bike. More chough, a male hen harrier and a female sprog were the highlights.

One interesting thing has been a bottom lip like a large sausage due to a cleg bite. I have always reacted adversely to cleg bites and this one was no exception. When I can I'll put the photo of this and the others taken over the last few days onto this blog.

Just want to say thank you to catherine, the warden of Loch Of Gruinart RSPB reserve and also to Hugh, Heather and Richard. Wonderful people.

Right now about to sleep on a lifeboat! Have met the owner, Steve from Manchester who has refurbished an old lifeboat and he has offered me a bunk aboard. Brilliant!

Tomorrow on the way to Oronsay. More corncrakes hopefully and it would be good to see one

All the best everyone


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