Well, what a difference a day makes!  Today is sunny and bright with skies that are getting bluer by the minute and a sea that glimmers with shades of sapphire, turquoise and magenta.

But… and there is a but.  It is still cold and the wind is fierce.  This means cagoules once more and even gloves.  We are not to be put off however.  We first climbed the bank behind us, encountering daisies, vast patches of primroses and the leaves of water irises in the wet patches of grass.


DSC_4415It was worth the climb, as the view of the sea on the northern stretch of coast looked wonderful.

DSC_4429Coming back down we got a good view of Bessie in her prime position facing the Sound of Barra with the islands of Fuday and Eriskay in the distance.


The cows enjoying the grass nearby look as though they might drop off the edge into the sea.

DSC_4498We crossed the road into the field opposite and walked down to the gate.  A shell path lead to the beach.  The tide was on its way out and we had to make our way carefully over the seaweed and a few rocks to get to a wonderful stretch of pure white sand.  In between the rocks were patches of rosy-pink thrift and there were strange flattish slabs of rock with interesting patterns worn into the surface.  Are those footprints of long dead prehistoric creatures?

DSC_4540All of a sudden there was a flurry of wings and a flock of Dunlins descended onto the seaweed beside a jutting rock.  We watched them for some time as they pecked around in the weed, no doubt snaffling some interesting tiny titbits.  Then with one accord they rose in the air and landed again a few yards away on the sand at the water’s edge.  In a beautiful chorus line they moved slowly along, using their delicate long beaks to find more treasures in the sand.  What elegant little creatures they are.

DSC09042A few yards along, we spotted a vibrant Oyster Catcher with its scarlet beak and matching eyes and legs.  The Dunlins decided to call it a day in that particular part of the beach and flew off with one accord, as sleek and beautiful in flight as they were on the ground.  Meanwhile the Oyster Catcher enjoyed the delights of the seaweed around the rocks.


DSC09056It’s always interesting to see footprints in the sand only recently covered in water as the tide was rapidly receding into the distance.

DSC_4857After warming up in Bessie (and spotting a Wheatear on the grass – photo too blurred for inclusion but good enough for identification) we drove out of the campsite and decided to investigate the little jetty about a mile south of the campsite.  There were a couple of boats and an old up-turned wooden rowing boat which looked as though it was abandoned.  We battled with the wind and walked out onto the jetty and spotted some more Dunlins and the comical little Ringed Plover who, seen from the front, resembles a bullseye on a dartboard.  They were busy in the colourful seaweed as usual.  Over on the beach I saw flash of black and white and there was a little Pied Wagtail, posing for the camera and making his way up the sand in jerky movements.


Some Herring Gulls were paddling in the surf and then suddenly there was a whirring of wings and the Dunlins, accompanied by at least one little Ringed Plover took to the air en masse.


We hadn’t had any lunch so made a quick decision to visit the fish processing plant at Barra-atlantic, close to Ardmhor where the ferry sails for Eriskay.  We had heard that good fresh fish can be bought from here and, sure enough, we located the store where a fisherman told us what was available.  We decided on Whiting, a fish we had never tried before, and we bought four filleted fish for £4.  An excellent buy.  A quick trip to the Co-Op in Castlebay was next, passing on the way these sheep who evidently thought they were mountain goats.  We got some salad leaves and corn on the cob, and it was back to the campsite to light the barbecue.

We erected the windbreak and got our our brand new portable barbecue and the easy to light bag of charcoal.  Despite the wind it soon got going and although we managed to singe the sweetcorn, the Whiting was a great success and delicious.


As the sun started to set, Peter took the camera and went back up the hill to see if he could get some good photos.  Unbeknown to me at the time, he decided to climb the somewhat higher Benn Sgurabhal while he was at it and took these great shots.



He found a monument at the top, forming part of the Ordnance Survey National GPS Network in 1999.


We’d had a brilliant day and successfully managed to shake off the disappointment of the day before when we thought the rain would never stop.