A clear, dry day - cold as the wind got up. Through deep heather beside Loch Obasaraigh to a tiny golden beach. Up the long east ridge of Eabhal, the climb rough, often boggy, lots of heather and some rock. a long ridge of rock where orchids grew in mosses to a windy top where we had lunch in the shelter of rock. Splendid outlook over Loch Euphort. A red deer spotted on our descent. Down through a maze of lochans , and along a ridge which proved easier and back along the shore.
Thursday 2 July 2015, Burabhal and Eaval, North Uist
Mist was pervasive and came down over the hills and stayed. Last evening the sky was mirrored on the sea in the softest pinks and mauves and greens. Now sun hid behind a cloud. Before breakfast, I read a house-book of images by Gus Wylie, black and white. The Hebrideans. Interiors pared down, simple and bare. A girl with hair in bunches blown by the wind. Mist: don’t wait for it to clear, it’s the essence of Hebrides.
On the Benbecula causeway we found ruff. A family of stonechat on fence posts by the Hebridean Smokehouse. They are juveniles, coming into male plumage. The wind ruffles their feathers and reveals dark down beneath rufous plumage on the breast. In the Outer Hebrides stonechat are more confiding . This family was out in the open but it was easy to come close without disturbing them. Sunlight glowed on the sea and the clouds were wonderful.
Climbed Burabhal at 400 feet. A walk-in over peat hags and burns and on slithery mud and rock made it seem rather more. Its table-top outline indicates the steep pull to the summit. From the top of Burabhal we sat looking at the seascape below. Seascape or landscape? We watched a yacht coming in off the sea and threading a way into Loch Euphort. Next time, let’s sail the Outer Hebrides and explore that way. By land or sea it’s a navigational challenge.
Not the clearest of days, but good enough to enjoy the views. As we climbed Burabhal there were glimpses of rosy coloured sphagnum moss deep in heather. The summit was soft with super-saturated sphagnum with feathery fronds.
On several days I found stonecrop, budding and soon to flower. Bog asphodel would soon flower- seasonal markers, telling of summer.
As we came off Burabhal we passed burnt heather and new green shoots. I noticed a moth, stopped to photograph it, then found more. The Magpie it's called and this must have been a newly emerged brood. Crawling about amongst stems of heather, the moths twisted and turned in the vegetation. Then I went a purler in slithery mud.
Our crofter knew we planned an evening walk and obligingly called in his dogs. They’re not pets but working dogs he explained. And he wasn’t sure how the young one would react. Grateful for his care.