Well, today is the day – when we tackle the 3 mile RSPB Nature Trail here at Balranald. We started it two years ago when we were staying here but had to abort it when it tipped down with rain and we couldn’t come to an agreement as to which path to take!
This time, at least, the auguries are good. The sun is shining, still rather blowy admittedly, and there is no rain forecast. Apparently, for a change, we are on the right side of the UK at the right time.
We follow the sandy path just below the flower-strewn machair dunes right in front of the campsite.
Occasionally we can walk on the machair itself and the view is magical – see header shot.
We pass an old rusted tractor and Peter remarks how good the tyres still are!
Since our last visit proper waymarkers have appeared set on stone cairns and these prove to be absolutely essential when we reach the rougher parts! But for now, the walk looks easy and positively civilised as we follow the path and come to a beautiful bay (Traigh Iar) which looks out south-west to the Monach Isles.
5 miles away, last inhabited in 1948 and now designated as a national nature reserve, the Monach Isles hold the second largest colony of grey seals in the world!
In checking out the Monach Isles I have discovered some interesting, if a bit gruelling, history regarding the islands. Worth a look:
Anyway, they have a lighthouse, built by the redoubtable Stevenson family – in this instance David and Thomas, in 1864.
We sat on the machair for a while watching the gulls – this Herring Gull particularly noisy!
It was fascinating watching this Black-headed Gull jumping up and down catching sand flies.
Nearby was a loch inhabited by Arctic Terns. Just look at the flower covered grass!
Everywhere there are flowers – it’s truly wonderful. Which ones can you name? We have come up with Sea Campion, Common Scurvy Grass (looks prettier than it sounds!), Thrift (or Sea Pink), Daisies, Common Storksbill and Birds Foot Trefoil, just to name a few but Dorothy may come up with more…
I nearly turned back when we reached about 50 foot deep of boulders which had to be crossed! Those who know me well will realise that I was filled with horror at the thought! But, with Peter’s help and that of my wonderful new fancy stick I just about managed it without falling over.
From here on the route was decidedly more rugged and I was reminded several times of the horror that was Handa Island two years ago but it certainly wasn’t that bad. Even Peter was tiring by this time and it was the birds, flowers and beautiful colours of nature that kept us going.
Eventually we reached the sandy bay and managed to climb down with ease and finished the last three-quarters of a mile walking on the firm sand and taking a break on the odd rock!
My feet were killing me by that time but at least it was flat and we had the added pleasure of seeing first a female Eider swimming near the shore, followed up by her mate who was obviously looking for her. She obediently turned around and they swam back out to sea side by side.
Peter spotted what turned out to be a Little Tern so he was pleased. I was just pleased to get back and put my feet up!
It looks like you had perfect weather for the walk. The photographs are so crisp and sharp with the magnificent light. The water looks very enticing, but I’m sure is very cold. Glorious photographs in abundance today and many of the birds seem to have posed perfectly for you. The shots of the birds on the wing are becoming a bit of a speciality and with the bright blue sky look amazing. It’s too difficult to choose a favourite for today the photographs are all so good.
Great shots of all the birds and brilliant colours throughout! Looks like a great day.
What lovely colour of the waters, very jealous! Im still stuck in the kitchen up to eyes in paint and tiles lol
I’m impressed that you made it over those rocks mum! Looks like a great day for your walk, and it’s lovely to see all those flowers out.