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COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2005 & 2008
Lochaber Small Business of the Year 2015
Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
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July 2017 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
NEW WORKBOAT FOR MALLAIG MARINE
The Annie E Eurocarrier 2209 was welcomed in to Mallaig Harbour on 10th June 2017 to join Mallaig Marine's existing vessel, Emma C. The vessels were met at the pontoon by family and friends of company owners Donald Ian and Catherine McDonell. The vessel was commissioned by Mr McDonell in December 2016 to join the already busy Emma C in providing aquaculture support services to Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd. The build was seamless and Neptune Shipyards, Holland not only met the completion date with ease but worked very closely with the company to deliver a vessel which is fit for purpose specific to installing fish-farm moorings.
Mallaig Marine Ltd upholds a year-round contract with Marine Harvest to service all of the 49 seawater sites around the North West Coast of Scotland. The company has employed five staff since it was first established in 2009; to facilitate both vessels being in operation 52 weeks a year, the company has now increased employee numbers to ten.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
It was lovely to be invited to Eigg last month in my official capacity as West Word editor and join in with the 20th anniversary celebrations - what a lot they have achieved in the last 20 years! I went out on the CalMac ferry with Ann Martin - editors new and old on a day trip to the island together. Fun to meet more members of the community and learn a bit more about the island's recent history.
So many things going on this month - let's hope the weather's good for the holidays.
I've done a bit of tweaking to the design of the paper this month - if you have any comments, please let me know!
My thanks to Jane and Miya for patiently sticking labels on envelopes, and to Morag and Ewen for working their magic with the printer once again.
If you'd like to get in touch, you can email me on email@example.com.
Superlight planes reach Laig Sands
Two small superlight planes landed on Laig Sands, Eigg, on the 5th July, fullfilling their aim of reaching the Isle of Eigg from France in a series of flights combined with camping - a journey which took a total of five days.
There is an interesting history of planes landing at Laig. Previous to this recent landing, the last was in the 1960's when one of the Cleadale MacDonalds was dropped off on the beach.
July's visitors to Laig
Photo: Graeme Russell
The Small Isles doctor between 1928-36, Dr Martha Devon, who faced a continual struggle to visit her patients - travelling around the islands on foot and enduring long journeys by open boat between the islands in all kinds of weather - campaigned for an Air Ambulance and in 1931 persuaded the editor of the Daily Record - then running stunt flights - to fly her to Eigg in a Blackburn Bluebird, landing on Laig beach. Thus she pioneered the first medical flight to the islands, and by 1935 the Air Ambulance Service in the Highlands and Islands had been established.
Dr Devon lands on Laig Sands, 1931
Photo: Isle of Eigg photographic archive, B. Barrie collection
School's out! And of course it's raining. But it wasn't such a bad month overall throughout June. Not too unbearably midgie which is always a bonus. And a wee bit of drizzly rain certainly hasn't dampened the spirits of the Friday Night Club at The Table. A tarp is as good a shelter as any! You can even now follow the antics at The Table on facebook…
Going back to school news though, that was the last day of Primary for Struan and Felix, who will both be heading to the high school after the holidays. Innes and Victor also graduated nursery and will join the main class along with Ruben after the summer. Man how times flies! Doesn't seem two years since the boys were just starting nursery! Also after the summer there will be a new intake into nursery to join Rossa so there will be 4 altogether, taking the whole school roll up to a very healthy 11.
Kristy, Jim, Kitty and Rossa recently attended the Royal Highland Show to claim the trophy for the Airor crofters, who won Scotlands Finest Woods overall community woodland category and also were winners of the Large Community Woodland group - a fantastic achievement and it's lovely to see the beautiful Tim Stead trophy back on Knoydart.
The season is in full swing now, with lots of visitors about. The ranger service is offering lots of lovely walks all about the place which is a great way to explore. With it being Badger Week this week (24th June -1st July) there was a special evening badger spotting walk (though I've yet to hear if they were successful… I'd be surprised if they weren't as we have loads of Badgers!)
It seems be the year for weddings over here too, as Knoydart has hosted more than one in the last couple of months. Maybe there's just something in the air…
Anna Wilson has also started a new art page on facebook now that Ossian is getting bigger and she can start getting back into her art. It's called KnoydART Drawings and her work is incredible. Well worth taking a look, you can buy prints and she is able to do commission drawings from photographs. We really do have a lot of very talented folk over here!
Think that's about it for now folks,
ISLE OF MUCK
A poor month - hardly a dry day and what a contrast to May.
But it was a great month for growing grass and our silage crop now a third harvested is giving every indication of being a record. Shearing which should have been complete by now has been held up by the rain but only a couple of afternoons are needed. Every other spare moment has been taken up with the refurbishment of Godag House with the aim of space for another family on the island but I should be able to tell you more in August West Word. Mark has been working hard on the plan for the old school which I have mentioned a few times over the years. This was where I started school at the age of five in 1947. The Council has offered the derelict building to the community for a nominal sum and the aim is to build workshop space for rent on the site. There has even been the idea mooted of a shop to sell essentials, as happens on Rum and Canna who have a smaller permanent population but more visitors.
Gallanach Lodge has been trying to redress the balance and Mary has been full at times. The holiday cottages have also been far better booked than last year and with the autumn shooting season in mind thousands of pheasants have arrived on Wave in the middle of the night of the 25th.
Lastly, I am proud to mention my brother Ewen. After 35 years running the Fire Service he is retiring and will be receiving a long service medal. What a record!
ISLE OF CANNA
June has seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors to Canna by ferry, RIBs, cruise ships and plenty of yachts. Most evenings the harbour appears packed with varying sizes of vessels.
To mark the end of the school term a mini sports day was arranged by the Primary School in the garden of Canna House. Given that we only have three pupils it became mandatory for the rest of us to participate. Fortunately the weather was glorious and everyone had a great afternoon. Even Murdo managed to win a wheelbarrow race with partner Gordon junior. After the summer the school roll will drop to just two as Julie Ann Guthrie moves on to Mallaig High School, and we all wish her well in the "big" school.
The Canna coastguard was called into action to assist with a helicopter medical evacuation after a member of the public fell and required to be taken to hospital in Broadford.
Criomagan (Crumbs) from Canna House
It's been a busy month for Canna House and the garden is already welcoming many visitors, some of whom enjoy a wee game of croquet, giant draughts or quoits as they go. The garden is looking lovely with the front lawn hydrangeas providing a stunning display under the flagpole.
It's interesting to compare these two pictures of Canna House garden. See here, one taken by Margaret Fay Shaw of Donald Macleod the gardener, in 1942, and compare with today's gardener Gordon Guthrie. Not much has changed!
June also saw Fiona delivering a lecture recital presentation in the Shearing Shed to NTS Patrons, telling of the 'Musical contrasts' in Margaret Fay Shaw's life. Fiona also delivered a lecture recital at the Andrew Raven commemorative Weekend at Ardtornish House in Morvern, based on a paper by Margaret entitled 'Portrait of an island' , depicting life on Canna in 1956. Fiona used comparative pictures of Canna today to illustrate how little life on an island actually changes over the space of nearly 60 years!
June also saw Canna House welcome a film crew from Irish TV channel, RtE, to make a documentary on the musical life of Canna House, with well-known traditional musician Donal Lunny as presenter. Fiona joined Donal in a musical duet and this will feature in the show later this summer. And if you think your cow has a cold, why not try this old Uist cure…"Give the cow a drink of hot milk, with plenty of pepper in it.." do you think it works for humans too…?
ISLE OF RUM
Summer is here, or so they say. I do, it's been reasonable weather and hasn't kept the visitors away but strangely the midges have vanished…. Drama last week when we had an unexpected visitor in the shape of a very young abandoned seal pup. The cute little thing drew a lot of attention but on the advice of SSPCA and the Sea life centre at Oban, left it well alone in the hope that its mama would return for it. No such luck, so after two days, we got it into a fishbox and off the vets and Sea life centre via the Sheerwater. Thanks to everyone that helped especially Sorcha and Luke who were on extended seal watch duty!
In other celebrity visitor news, we found both Tom Hollander and Richard Wilson here last month on separate occasions, both keeping a low profile. Joss recognised Tom Hollander from the Pirates of the Caribbean film - he was a baddy, she said.
The loch has been alive with eider chicks and goslings, herons and oystercatchers, many a pleasant morning has been passed recently watching a train of tiny chicks trail by after mother duck and though we are aware of the hoodies taking some of them, I actually saw one the other day (while on seal watch duty) which was pretty harrowing, so we got a heap of stones at the ready for any future attacks.
The heritage centre is open for visitors and whilst still a work in progress, Sylvia and Kim were delighted to be given some flints found in a local garden, adjacent to a previous known archaeological site. The flints have turned out to be Mesolithic as confirmed by Caroline Wickham Jones, who carried out the original dig in the 1980s. Sylvia and Kim are hoping the flints will be returned to Rum for display in the centre.
The Rum facebook page has been busy with old pictures of the village dating back to the turn of the 20th century, there have been several of the old post office with a succession of postmistresses, notably Jessie Wormell (neé Smith). There were also some of Kinloch Castle conservatory with an assortment of staff, all pictures that we haven't seen before. We intend to print them out for display; the post office ones especially display an excellent timeline throughout the 20th Century.
Up at Kilmory the deer researchers have been busy with the deer calving season, to date they have caught 84 calves, which is on target with only one more known deer to calve, most of the volunteers and Josephine Pemberton (prof) have now left so Ali and Sean will be settling down for a less busy few months of the just the usual censuses.
School is now finished for the summer for Ashton, Joss, Eve and Nell, who has now left Mallaig high school. Currently on the school London trip, Nell will be off to Glasgow Uni to study English Literature after a year out gallivanting in south east Asia.
Great to see Luke Hepworth back in the caravan for a third year for yet more geology mapping and Happy birthday in June to Ali and Sylvia!
ISLE OF EIGG
Some people have called it a cracking anniversary. And so it was! "Let's crack it" the slogan used in the Eigg's buy-out campaign certainly has had a lot to answer for: the number of yokes (haha) made or endured on the cracked egg theme for the past 20 years is truly remarkable. Anyway, needless to say, the whole month of June was devoted to organising, preparing and finally enjoying the 20th anniversary of our Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust.
From a newspaper archive collage spanning the two decades to an archive news footage night, talks with Maggie and with Alastair McIntosh, to Eigg visits and explorations, the whole week was really a community getting together to celebrate 20 years since "we could just be bought and sold like cutlery on a rich man's table", as Maggie famously once said! Could not have been possible to organise it all without the Eigg volunteers: our volunteer programme is undoubtedly one of the Trust's achievements!
On the 12th itself when we climbed Pier Hill to the hall after gathering at the standing stone with all our friends and well-wishers, it was truly heart-warming to see again all the people who had contributed to the success of our endeavour, especially in those early days where we were surrounded by doubters, and whose investment paid off. The two Maggies cut the cake, and led by Eigg Singing group, we all sang that "This Land is our Land," a special adaptation of the Woody Guthrie's classic.
We thought about absent friends, like Allan MacRae and Simon Frazer who were sorely missed: they would have thoroughly relished the occasion. Simon Frazer's widow Ann had come over from Lewis with their daughter, and it was brilliant that she was caught on film by the young Glasgow film team who were working on a documentary about Eigg's 20 years.
Kenny Taylor, one of our new SWT directors, who was himself part of the original campaign summed it all up perfectly: "The past twenty years demonstrate that a willingness to work with others, seize the day and have a vision of a better future for people and wildlife can be made a reality, however large those challenges may seem."
One of these challenges just before the 12th, was to improve the access road to the hall, a truly Hebridean challenge in its nature: how could we leave it to the very last minute to do it and still do it. Well, it was a challenge that was met and overcome with a lot of good spirit.
And good spirited we all were, especially our guests on the big ceilidh night as they braved wind and rain to party! Some came from far and wide, like Cynthia, the Malaysian land activist with the blue hair! Ya Matha and Daimh cranked up the temperature right up whilst Johnny in his pink catsuit and glittered up to his beard was a revelation for many and the mosh pit was briefly re-formed specially for Ben and Joe! In this Eigg that's cracked it, the dancing and the crack were truly mighty.
And so here's to the future generations of free Eiggachs! May they continue in their founding fathers and mothers' footsteps and stay up until Dolphin Boy decides he has finally given his all at 8am the next day and stops playing.
Eigg celebrates 20 years of independence
On 12th June the people of Eigg celebrated the 20th anniversary of the community buyout with a gathering of friends and well-wishers in the island's community hall. The programme for the day included speeches, songs, a presentation by the school, a wonderful buffet and a chance to view displays of photographs and newspaper archives of Eigg's recent history.
Amanda Bryan, Chair of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, welcomed residents and guests to the newly refurbished community hall for the celebration. She said: "Eigg truly embodies what land reform is all about - a synergy between people and place which has resulted in population growth and a balance between young and old that other communities can only dream of."
The Highland Council Leader Councillor Margaret Davidson paid tribute to the Eigg community for inspiring so many others to embark on community buy outs through their flagship enterprise, delivering such significant improvement in the quality of life on the remote island.
John Hughes and Kenny Taylor of the Scottish Wildlife Trust praised islanders for achieving a "green island" concept for sustainable living alongside nature. Over the past 20 years, the island's woodlands and other habitats had been protected and improved for community benefit.
Maggie Fyffe, Secretary of the Heritage Trust, recalled the success of the fund-raising efforts of 1997 when 10,000 individual donations had been made to the buy-out fund, including one of £1 million from an anonymous donor who to this day had maintained a keen interest in developments.
Bob and Louise Giles from the St Andrew's Society, Detroit presented Maggie Fyffe with a cheque for 1000 dollars - their latest donation to the community.
Champion Highland Pony Oransay of Whitefield with owner Caroline MacPhail (left), Judge Mr Stephen MacKay,
and Poppy, Reserve Horse Champion two years in a row with Rachel Rhoden
THE ROAD TO THE ISLES AGRICULTURAL SHOW 2017
The day of the Road to the Isles Agricultural Show 2017 began very wet and windy, not the weather it had enjoyed over the years (with small exceptions). However, the sun shone late morning and the Show enjoyed a reasonably good day.
This year's Show was another success which is attributed to the judges, our sponsors, the team leaders, the huge brigade of volunteer helpers, the entrants, and of course the public who attended. All contributing to the RttIAS's continued progress - thank you to all. One highlight was Mallaig Pool's first ever 'Wife Carrying Competition' which gave the crowds a great laugh!
Winners of Fancy Dress competition in the Horse and Pony Class - Holly and Digby Dodman on Lottie and Davro.
Overall Livestock Champion, and Best Bred Animal in Lochaber.
Cardan of Eilean Mhor, owned by Karen MacGregor. Photo RMM
Hamish, Best Visiting Dog, with owner Claire MacFarlane (left).
Pico, Best Local Dog and overall Dog Champion, with owner Maika Gibb
Heather and Fraser MacDougall (L) and Maria Lawson and her brother Neil Cameron (R) giving the wife/sister carrying competition their all.
Photo Claire Hobday
ON AND OFF THE RAILS
Competition for a Jacobite DVD
Regular readers of my column may recall a review I wrote in 2016 on the DVD - also available in Blu-ray - of 'Black Five on the Jacobite'. There has as yet been no DVD produced to rival it. It is currently being stocked at Mallaig Heritage Heritage Centre, is 70 minutes in length and I have two copies to give away in a draw this month. We join ex-LMS 'Black Five' no. 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier - with the Jacobite headboard on its smoke box - as she steams her way across viaducts and through tunnels amidst the glorious setting of the scenery, from the yard at Fort William, into Fort William station and on to Mallaig.
Filmed at over 50 trackside locations along the 42-mile route the DVD is presented without the intrusion of commentary. You are left to enjoy the sights and sounds of the locomotive in all her glory. Hear the whistle of the locomotive as she curves the arc of the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Follow the trail of pluming steam as she clouds the sky with smoke and I dare you not to smile!
The sister engine 'Black Five' No. 44871 substitutes for some distance shots but this does not spoil it in any way. "Steam and nature in perfect harmony" quotes Terry Vernon of Dragon-in-the-Firebox productions, who filmed it.
COMPETITION: to try to win one of the two copies of the DVD mentioned, answer the following question, on a postcard to Sonia Cameron, Fasgadh, 5 Marine Place, Mallaig, Inverness-shire PH41 4RD by Thursday, July 27th 2017.
Question. How many trackside locations were used for filming 'Black Five on the Jacobite'. Was it a) under 20 b) over 50 or c) over 75? Good luck - now find a postcard!!
Jacobite news update
West Coast Railways are now operating two trains a day, seven days a week until the 3rd September 2017. After that until 15th September the Monday to Friday afternoon service will continue as well as the morning service continuing twice a day seven days a week until 1st October. After that the Monday to Friday morning service will run until 27th October. No Jacobite service (at the moment!) in November, but resuming Monday to Friday 4th December to 22nd December, then resuming Wednesday 27th December to Friday, 29th December 2017.
Every day on the morning Jacobite return journey to Fort William a raffle is held and drawn for daily (3) prizes. The tickets are available to purchase whilst the train is in Mallaig Station at the souvenir shop from 1.45 - 2.10pm each day. You can visit the shop without travelling on the train, and should you be a winner that day, you would be telephoned to inform you of your win - and you could collect your prize any day at the on-board shop after that! The reason I particularly mention it is that one of the three named charities to benefit at the end of the season is to be Mallaig Swimming Pool!! So it's a win-win situation. The other two charities to benefit in 2017 will be Headway Highland and the Simba Foundation. What a nice idea!
ScotRail news update
At Mallaig Railway Station platform we are to have installed a real-time, digital information arrival and departure board. At the moment we have a hole in the platform with a cardboard cover and a cone on top where it is to be wired from to its site. There is also a coiled-up amount of cable nesting between my hanging baskets. The two things could be connected! Or it may be that we are getting a Wi-Fi area on the platform! I'll let you know as soon as I do. The real-time information boards are expected to be installed at every station on our branch line including, I am told, Beasdale.
Currently all trains (four in each direction per day, three in each direction on Sunday) are 100% operating - sometimes substituted by drivers from the Fort William depot.
Friends of the West Highland Lines update
The summer issue of the wonderful 'Friends' magazine is now out and available in Mallaig at the Mallaig Heritage Centre. I can also post one out to you if you contact me on (01687) 462189. The magazine is "the only magazine spotlighting the West Highland lines and ScotRail network past and present, plus On The Waterfront". Excellently edited by Doug Carmichael from Oban and priced at £3.50 it is a steal! 52 internal glossy A4 pages with full-colour photographs (except pre-colour shots) it is a work of art! The Autumn/Winter issue will be published in November.
74 Mile Model Rail Journey
As we go to press filming should just be finishing for a programme to be titled The Biggest Little Railway in the World. Love Productions, best known for the hugely successful Great British Bake Off, are attempting to lay a plastic, fully recyclable track, in almost 10 feet long lengths, for 74 miles from Fort William to Inverness, and run a model train on it!! Honestly, you couldn't make it up!! The attempt will be shown eventually on C4 as a series with the well-known presenter Dick Strawbridge. The sponsors for the programme have flooded in, from major rail companies, Network Rail, Department for Business and Innovation and Skills, ORR etc etc. Five groups of 10 - 12 people (navvies) were living in campsites along the routes, and the groups included engineers, railway buffs and 'adventurists'. They (the programme makers) were hoping to arrive at Inverness Castle on Saturday, July 1st with the railway journey completed. Did they make it? I do not know but I certainly will be watching out for the series!
See you on the train,
After a somewhat sluggish early season the Marina is now going like the proverbial fair with "Marina Full" signs already being posted up on several occasions. It will therefore be interesting to see, come the end of this 2017 season, how it compares with the following statistical table - an entry in the Members Report for year ending 31st March 2017:
As indicated in last year's report the Mallaig Marina Centre was officially opened on Saturday 16th April 2016 by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and located within the Centre are state of the art laundry, shower and toilet facilities as well as disabled and baby changing amenities all for use by patrons of the Marina. Usage of the marina by visiting yachts was on a par with the previous year as the following statistical table would suggest:
Overnight Occupancy Short Stay 2016
In addition to the above a further 91 vessels made use of the marina moorings.
I list below some other items contained in the Members Report.
Fish Pier Fendering Repairs
As reported last year an engineering inspection had identified problems with the fender system of the Fish Pier (originally constructed in 1971/72) and that urgent repair work was required to the lower walings, a number of the energy absorbing rubber elements at the head of the system, facing plates, replacement of five ladders, some lower ladder sections to be removed and replaced and the fitment of anodes. Under the watchful eye of Harbour Engineers Wallace Stone, Contractor Gareloch Support Services completed all work by March 2017 at a total cost of £412,000.
Waste oil collection figures for the year ending 31st March 2017 were as follows (last year's figures in brackets):
Waste Oil: 22,200 litres (12,640 litres) Oily Water/Sludge: 64,600 litres (39,350 litres)
Wi-fi coverage at the port was increased in December 2016 when a signal was relayed from the Marina to the Outer Harbour. This provides wi-fi coverage throughout the harbour allowing seafarers connectivity to the internet, etc.
The Authority is still actively considering the construction of a road linking Westbay Industrial Estate to the existing Council owned Mallaig Industrial Estate. Talks, seeking Council input to the project, are currently ongoing.
As seen on the cover of this month's West Word, Annie E, the new 22 metre 1200hp workboat built for Morar's Donald Ian McDonell, berthed at Mallaig on 10th June after its maiden voyage from Aalst, Holland where it was built by Neptune Marine at a cost of approx £3m.
The Annie E, which has a draught of 2.8 metres and an average speed of 7.4 knots, will complement Donald Ian's existing workboat the Emma C. The Mallaig Harbour Authority wish Donald Ian every success with his new venture.
Speed Limit On All Piers
To all Harbour Users
You will be aware that we have introduced new markings on the piers including the red lines, car parking spaces, yellow no parking lines and a passenger walkway (incorporating a dropped kerb at the rear of the Fish Market Restaurant) down Lovat Pier to the Western Isles Ticket Office. The Authority has also placed in-situ traffic calming measures on Lovat Pier which seem to be working well.
The next step is the erection of signage stating the speed limit as 10mph throughout the harbour area.
We realise the pier/harbour is a working area with workers ever present. It also attracts visitors so these measures have been put in place to help ensure everyone's safety.
Please note and more importantly, please observe, the speed limit of 10mph on all piers.
01687 462154 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mallaig Lifeboat Log - by Jim Morton
21st June 2017 Mechanical Failure aboard yacht Cally
Launched at 21:16hrs to assist the yacht Cally was tasked by Stornoway Coastguard. Cally had suffered mechanical failure and requested assistance into Mallaig marina. Lifeboat met the Cally at harbour entrance at 21:33hrs and secured alongside and took her to the marina. Lifeboat was ready for service at 22:00hrs.
25th June 2017 Youngsters Trapped on Rocks
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to recover three youngsters trapped by the tide on a rock off West Bay carpark at 18:29hrs. Although it was only a short distance to the shore it was too deep for the youngsters to wade and also an hour of flood still to go off tide. Once the Lifeboat was clear of the pontoon the Y-Boat was launched with two crewmembers on board. With the Y -Boat on scene within minutes the three young lads were recovered to shore none the worse for their time on the rock, to waiting local Coastguards. Lifeboat returned to the harbour, recovered Y-Boat and berthed back at pontoon at 18:00hrs.
West Word recently received another update about the ongoing restoration work to the former Small Isles ferry MV Shearwater from reader Steven Steven:
"The serious and laudable efforts to preserve the amazing TSMV Etive Shearwater continue. Her deck house has been removed completely and her hull, still half green - half blue is on a mooring between Avoch and Fortrose today (3rd July). The plan now is to move her to Inverness Marina in a week or so. Their boat lift will be used to put the hull on a low loader and drive it south to Portsmouth. Without the superstructure she weighs around 30 tonnes so will just make weight limits for road haulage and air-draught.
"I am pleased to see that the new owners give credit to the work the Shearwater did after her military service. Her time with Donald The Dooker Kennedy at Taynuilt and Murdo MacIver Grant at Arisaig showed what a versatile, strong and useful vessel the HDML is."
Read more about Martin Weston's restoration works on Facebook
WORLD WIDE WEST WORD
Our MSP Kate Forbes reads hers with Calmac staff member Iain Mackenzie after a day spent celebrating the anniversary of the buyout with the islands of Eigg
BIRDWATCH June 2017 by Stephen MacDonald
In contrast to May, it was much wetter, with some fairly cool temperatures throughout much of June. Bird sightings were fairly typical for the time of year, with many juvenile birds reported.
Great Spotted Woodpeckers with young were reported in several Morar and Arisaig gardens from the first week. Three pairs of House Martins on a building by Loch Ailort had well grown chicks by the last week.
Large numbers of juvenile Siskins reported from garden feeders, along with family groups of Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits.
Several broods of Eider Ducks were seen in Loch Ailort. Greylag broods were reported from Loch Morar and Loch nan Ceall. A pair of Canada Geese with two well grown young were seen at the latter site during the last week.
During the second week an adult Pomarine Skua was seen off Lunga Mhor and two Arctic Skuas were seen between Arisaig and Eigg. Sightings of Storm Petrels increased as the month progressed.
Grasshopper Warblers were still heard "reeling" around Morar and Common Whitethroats were seen at Camusdarroch. Black Caps were seen in and around several Morar gardens. Cuckoos were still calling at Rhu, Arisaig and Loch Ailort until mid-month.
A pair of Spotted Flycatchers were discovered nesting in a garden near Woodside, Morar on the 16th. The Corncrake was still calling in the Portnadoran - Sunnyside area until the month end.
A Moorhen was seen on Loch Nan Eala on several occasions and a male Tufted Duck was seen there on the 27th.
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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