Our first full day at Balranald and the site is fairly full – mostly motorhomes but some tents as well.

When we arrived yesterday the area was full of birdwatchers – either the RSPB was doing a special guided tour or someone had spotted a rarity nearby!  Anne (owner of the campsite) and her mobile catering service was doing great business.  Today is quieter but the wind is still blowing and, although the sun is out, it is quite chilly.

We relaxed in the morning, both feeling rather tired.  We never usually go out in the morning and tend to get going in the afternoon.  The days are light until after 11pm now so it suits us fine.

We drove out along the circular road in the north of the island which gives wonderful views of the magnificent Vallay bay with its vast expanse of sand and extraordinary colours.  Apparently you can walk right out to the abandoned Vallay House which is completely cut off when the tide comes in.  Vallay House was the creation of Erskine Beveridge, the head of a successful linen company based in the town of Dunfermline in Fife in the nineteenth century. Beveridge was known as not only an industrialist but an antiquarian with a passion for photography. Armed with his tripod and box camera, he wandered Scotland recording the country’s landscapes and buildings.  A part of me quite fancies walking out to the house but you have to be very careful with the tides so maybe not!

Anyway, here are some photos to demonstrate the sheer beauty of this area.


We drove down the Committee Road (a road surrounded by mountainous moorland) where raptors are often seen but, apart from this Raven, saw nothing of interest.


Not having been successful with the campsite wifi so far, we went to the lovely café at Cladach Kirkibost and I managed to publish the blog there (even in the carpark after the café closed!).

Then it was back to the site where we both fell asleep – still tired for some reason.

Making the most of the still sunny evening we went for a walk on the beach which is only just over the dunes from where we are camped.  There were groups of waders in the shallow pools amongst the seaweed – obviously a delectable source of food there.  We saw Dunlins, Sanderlings and Ringed Plovers but also this Redshank in delicious green slime!



Plus a really cute bunny!


Looks like these birds (House Sparrows and Starlings) are having a party on the crab pots!


If you think the rabbit is cute, how about this – a baby Oystercatcher!


In true fairy tale tradition, though, we are going to finish on one of nature’s great moments.  We could hear various Corncrakes calling in the fields around us and knew that there was at least one that was very close.  They are notorious for keeping themselves to themselves and live in dense nettle beds so it is only their voice that gives their presence away.

Peter tried an experiment.  On his iPhone there is an ap called ‘Chirp’ where you can play bird song (Harry & Guy will remember this).  He chose the Corncrake and held it near the fence.


Suddenly, no less than three Corncrakes rose in the air!  I wasn’t expecting this so didn’t have my camera ready but still managed to get one of them as he scuttled off to another hiding place!


A rarity!