Weather, Waiting, Waving and Whalebones!

The weather dominates the week, with excess of 70 mph winds blasting the island it has been an exciting few days. Firstly we have been waiting for the ferry to bring fresh supplies to the island and our Amazon deliveries (new board games!), the ferry sailed on Monday and it was Saturday (3.15am sailing) before it left the harbour again. Needless to say Saturday night at the Co-op was a very social event, we could have held a ceilidh inside with the amount of people we met and blethered to.

Even though it has been windy the light some days has been wonderful and we headed out at every opportunity to capture it with Irene and Archie. This was their last week (five weeks staying at Gerry’s Crannag Cottage) so every minute counted! The weather app may have stated dark clouds, sunny periods with high chance of rain, we still were able to capture views like this at Eoligarry.

It just doesn’t seem real!

It just doesn’t seem real!

And of course with sunshine and rain you get rainbows, and as always this island doesn’t disappoint, you can spot them everywhere. Capturing them is often difficult with mobile phones but using the panorama option it can sometime work well.

Barra Double Rainbows

Barra Double Rainbows

It is lovely to still see the animals outside and roaming across the sand dunes and beaches. I rather liked this picture of them up on the hillside with the clouds reflecting on the water, a really magical scene on a bitterly cold November day.


Earlier this year we had a whale beached on this stretch of sand and from the Facebook posts it was confirmed by the Scottish Marine as a deep sea dwelling - Cuvier Beaked Whale. We knew roughly where it had landed and when walking back to car Jackson spotted what seemed to be one of the bones standing upright in the dunes. So this large bone is back home with us, cleaned with bleach and once it totally dries out will no doubt join the other bones I’ve collected over the past four months! The photograph however, tells a story, with the dark clouds heading towards us Jackson was determined to get us back to the car before we got soaked, so the taking of a mometo photograph wasn’t high on his list of priorities!!! #grumpyoldman


So in between caturing the wonderful Barra light, collecting stones and whale bones, rock formations are still a fasination and the white quartz in particular just sparkles in the light.


So even though the skies are looking very ominous some days, catch a glimmer of sunlight and you can still be amazed at the colours of the water and sands.


But this week it hasn’t just been about colours outside, our art class has also been caturing the colours of the sea with watercolours and then adding bright acrylic colours for the jellyfish! We also covered stomry skies but didn’t have time to take a pictures of those masterpieces (they’ll be finished next week so you might get a wee preview of them in the next Blog!). The class is a wonderful eclectic array of Barra and Vatersay folks and every single one of them just makes me smile with their stories. Cheryl our art teacher is lovely too, she came to Barra for her probationery teaching year, eight years later is still here and is marrying a Barra man next April!

Colourful artwork for our Thursday night class

Colourful artwork for our Thursday night class

Now wildlife spotting is easy here, especially for the Jack Russell who can be seen often with her head stuck down a rabbit’s burrow and this week I thought she was going to disappear competely down this one. This was a dog on a mission! No rabbit was harmed btw….

Thai on a rabbit mission!

Thai on a rabbit mission!

Yesterday we said goodbye to Irene and Archie as their five week visit to Barra came to an end yesterday, thankfully they had a gentle sail back home todaywith a normal ferry departure time of 8am. So our last day we did a bit of blue sky and storm chasing and we weren’t disappointed. Here’s a few clips to give you a flavour of the power of nature (there’s a gentler clip midway through to fit the music tempo and it was filmed today on Vatersay)

I’m a real believer that things happen for a reason, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, so after we left Vatersay’s waves we headed back to Barra to see the waves on the West coast when Irene cried out she had lost her phone. Now this is not an easy phone to lose as it is bright pink. So with Archie in the back having to hold back on the usual husband’s comments, Jackson happily turned the car back to see if we could find it and, lo and behold, it was thankfully just at our parking spot - safe and sound! On the way back to Barra, on the single track road out of Vatersay, we had travelled three times already, Jackson stopped the car and right at the road side was a beautiful grey seal pup just watching us pass by! What lovely markings this younster had and how we managed to miss it, is beyond me, once again we all should get along to Specsavers!


What a lovely find for irene and Archie’s last adventure this year on Barra! We hope to see them back again in the New Year for further nature walks and adventures. Irene has a book full of sketches and a memory card full of photographs to keep here painting Barra scapes over the coming months. #Barrartventures

Our final beach walk with them took us to the north of island past Eoligarry and I noticed a lovely shaped branch that had been blown up onto the rocks. Jackson was having none of it but Irene and Archie happily squeezed into the back of our car and we got the branch into position so that it held them both firmly in their car seats. Eileen 1 : Jackson 0.

Thanks guys, you’ll be glad to note it was all worth it!! The Christmas season has kicked off, as we now have it covered with fairy lights in the hall!


So with Irene & Archie on their way home, looking out to an exteremly dreech day, after a couple of hours of editing interviews I persuaded Jackson that it was time to head out and blow the cobwebs away. So a short walk along a Vatersay beach did the trick and although the skies are grey the colours of the sea just light up the seascape.


Now before we climbed over the dunes to this beach we stood for several minutes watching a Sea Eagle gently glide about 200 metres above us, always aware of the fact we have a small animal that might look like lunch to them! It just looked huge with its white tail catching the light and then it took off as it was being spooked by a blizzard. Magnificient moment, no photographs just memories stored away in our heads. However I did manage successfully, although just on my mobile phone, to capture a young seal playing in the wateredge as we were about to leave Vatersay. So cute!

Finally three last picture’s for this week’s Blog:

  1. Rock formations leading towards the sea at Eoligarry

  2. One of the many rusting items to be found on the beaches here on Barra

  3. Ferry at night time in Castlebay with a glimmer of light in the sky

Thanks agaign for reading and sharing my Blog, it is loads of fun to write and the hours fly in as I plan/try to remember everything that might be of interest to readers! It certainly helps keep the old brain cells active!