Our week in Autumnal Applecross saw some spectacularly poor weather- but it served our purpose which was to embrace Autumn. We had a good walk each day and each day we were soaked to the skin. Saw an otter on our first day down at Toscaig - the light was rubbish and it was again hunting along the far side of the inlet so too far away for any decent photographs but great to watch it hunt and eat. Such a joy to see our first pine marten at 6.30 AM on first morning. Dark, big, Sumatra rat grey at that time of the morning! However a feed of Peanut butter, homemade blackberry jam, fig rolls and chocy digestives- showed we had two martens- a cute, small, chocolate brown one and a big gnarly snaggle toothed snick eared one. We couldn't work out at first why the marten suddenly showed up and was so brashly confident- then on looking at the snaps we spotted the snick in the ear and the general largeness and roughness of the confident pine marten.
We ended up having the excellent good fortune to see the small pine marten every night at about 6.00- 8.30pm. Awesome, delightful creatures- we love them and are so thrilled to finally see them after so many years leaving peanut butter around.
We spent over an hour watching this brave little otter battle a conga eel almost twice its own size and girth. It was unfortunately just a little bit too far away for my lens to capture any decent images but these snaps at least show something of the efforts involved. There were at least five occasions where the otter heaved, pulled, pushed the eel half onto land only for the pair of them to splash right back into the water again when the eel's tail curled up and yanked them off the seaweed.
In the end the otter won out and began stripping the skin off the head of the eel and eating that. A Great Black Backed Gull hung around patiently for most of the time, hoping to share in the prize but offering no help to the capture!
Very exciting stuff and all viewed from the comfort of Toscaig Pier on Applecross as opposed to our usual viewing gallery of a quickly filling tidal rock pool amongst the seaweed of some Mull shore line.
We had a great time on Otter(oops- Outer) Hebrides beginning with 5 days at Applecross and ending with 5 days on Mull.
Just returned from our annual Easter trip to Applecross and Isle of Mull. We had incredible luck again with the weather, having driven up in blizzards and terrible conditions we arrived on Applecross' Shore Street for our week in the cottage and managed to enjoy our courtesy bottle of Pinot Grigio on the decking whilst watching the sun set over Rasaay. From then on in.. we had a sunny day every single day of the trip (a day shy of three weeks!)and not a single drop of rain.
We had a top time on Applecross with an otter sighting near one of the holts and an incredible up close and personal (and a tad scary) encounter with a golden eagle up on the hill (it had been feeding on the inners of a recently slain stag- but more of that in a later post.
On Mull, we set up camp at Fidden Farm and enjoyed glorious days walking on deserted beaches and exploring the Isle of Erraid (where I fell into the last remaining wet peat bog in Scotland following their very dry winter) We found the obligatory dead seal and a number of mystery skulls (including a seal skull- highly sought after apparently) We saw the White Tails, the mountain hares, some minky whales and of course otters..
In total we were delighted to watch 12 otters throughout the three weeks, including a short but sweet sighting just before embarking on the ferry home from Craignure.
Anyway- here are some pictures of an otter to keep you cheery (taken on Loch Na Keal, Isle of Mull)