Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Monday, 26 July 2010

July 25th climbed Ben Nevis!

So all five peaks climbed now and today was the toughest; little visibility, windy with cold drizzly rain at the top. Made it though and feel good about that.

That was yesterday. Today is the 26th and it's drizzly after a calm dry start to the day camping beside the river in Glen Nevis.

I'd last told of the first day on Oronsay and the kindness and generosity of Val and Mike. Well the next day was very wet with heavy rain for most of it and curled up in my sleeping bag and in the caravan I disgracefully spent the day reading my book, Origins Revisted by Richard Leakey. Well it was a very heavy book and I needed to finish it.

Eventually felt guilty over not being outside birding so got up and walked to the same headland as the previous evening, photographing crabs, seaweeds and watching the birds on view. Waders : 1 dunlin, 1 black-tailed godwit, 2 greenshank, 1 sanderling and a few oystercatchers and curlew; 53 greylags on the sea but very few seabirds passing in a strong north wind with rain falling steadily. Still enjoyed myself sitting in a sheltered area.

What a fabulous evening. Invited by three brilliant young people, Kat, Rob and Elena, to dinner. Lasagne!!!! My favourite with tiffin [my favourite too!!] to follow.

Rob was a young man from Conway, North Wales with birding credentials. He'd spent a year travelling around the USA birding after university. Elena was a RSPB volunteer from the Cotswolds, who'd worked at Titchwell, Abernethy and The Lizard. Then there was Kat! Katherine Snell - here goes .......

An Antarctic explorer, a pilot, a photographer with work on exhibition, possible future astronaut, chainsaw user, nicknamed 'Albatross Girl' by boyfriend who lives in the Falklands, Ex boyfriend of James Bond [he was a stunt double for Daniel Craig] cellist and tripod holder for David Attenborough's next wildlife series coming out next year. Enough? Well I'm sure with kat that her CV will continue to grow apace.

Now kat and Rob are working on a project called F.A.M.E. - Future of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems and are presently radio tagging seabirds to find their feeding strategies and areas.

A truly wonderful evening with these three very different and very fabulous young people.

I look forward to hearing about Sid the Fulmar!

22nd July 2010

Early morning spent hoping to see the calling corncrake in a stinger patch 5 meters in front of me and again to no avail. Then a perusal of the ruined priory, with bones in a hole and many superb grave slabs depicting warriors and wildlife.

Cycled to the ferry for Oban, even cycled over the sands between the 2 islands and after watching large hermit crabs in the harvbour boarded the boat, met a lovely family [Sue, Anna and Peter from Cumbria] and watched the few birds to be seen.

Time up at the library........

 All the best everyone. Gary

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