Sunday, 26 April 2009
Image Left: Pinnacle rock
Wednesday 22nd April
Sadly the recent run of calm weather has come to end making the boat a last resort for a morning’s escape. I head out early on foot for otter island, the street is empty, even the milking crew have yet to clang churns and buckets. Only Val has stirred for a baking shift in the community kitchen, the smell of fresh bread leaks from around the doors drifting down the street. I leave the cottages in sunlight and take the track up to the quarry before dropping again past the derelict blacksmiths forge.
The sunlight feels harsh and almost wintry in the stiff breeze. From the crest of a small ridge my silhouette is projected by the low sun onto a canvas of heather. I follow a chain of outcrops which until today I have completely overlooked, it carries me to a vantage point that offers a clear view of the otters’ regular haunts. I scan between breaking wave crests, kelp fronds exposed by the falling tide and sea birds. I pick out the shape of an otter’s snout trailing a small wake, it is joined by another and I scramble down over the rocks and heather. The wind is behind me and part of me acknowledges this disadvantage. The otters are still away off shore, I make use of their dives to move between the wave worn boulders playing a game of musical statues with my quarry. As they near their unease with my scent becomes apparent as they dive and fail to resurface. I wait ten or fifteen minutes but they are gone so I set off to retrieve my hastily abandoned camera bag and tripod. In the cleft of rock I find a clump of primroses hiding from the island’s sheep. Having moved a little way back from the shore I pick out the squeaks of an otter cub,the sound ringing between the faces of stone . I chance another close encounter but the wind is not with me today and once my scent reaches out from the shore they disappear.
I retrace my steps toward the blacksmiths and the quarry stopping to photograph a small stone pinnacle that lies half hidden in the network of rock, bogs and heather that cover most of the island.
Image Right: Primroses in the cleft of a rock