Christmas Holidays

Christmas Day Northern Lights - © Donald Macleod

Christmas Day Northern Lights – © Donald Macleod

Paddled down to Sgurr Dubh, where we were able to follow an otter and watch him feeding – noisily – after he hauled himself out of the water. Absolutely magical to be able to see this fantastic creature, and all by paddling for about 40 minutes..

First view of Northern Lights on Christmas Day thanks to next-door neighbours in the know. Great way to spend an hour or so in bright starlit sky – could see some of the Aurora by eye, but a decent camera with slow exposure is a must for this. Clear views of winter constellation – wish I could recognise more than Orion and the Plough, but I have since got hold of some identification sheets which I have left in cottage.

We all got out for Boxing Day kayak – crystal clear, still waters, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Loads of seabirds (gulls, ducks, herons, geese, oystercatchers and curlews), but no otters this time (although we did see one wandering along the road at the top of the garden on 23rd!) Glorious day despite lack of otters – glad of new Christmas presents of gloves, kayaking tops, Pogies, and waterproof trousers! Paddled backwards a long way to make the most of inquisitive, but shy seals who followed us a long way back along Ardnish, but always behind us. Arms were quite stiff afterwards!

We also took a couple of boat trips down Ob Bhreacais to check out our outboard – again flat calm and could see all the way to the bottom. Fewer seabirds due to noise of engine, but still lots to see.

As weather became less calm towards the end of our holiday we went off for a walk to the old Clearance Village of Suisnish. Carpark is about 10-15 minutes’ drive away, at Camas Malag, about 3 or 4 miles just beyond Kilchrist n the B8083. Damp day but fantastic views towards the Small Isles – what an existence they must have had.