Friday, 15 May 2009
Image Left: Log Run
Monday 11th May
I followed the tractor across the bay, foregoing a lift on the trailer to enjoy the afternoon sun. The tides are still running under the influence of the recent full moon, pulling and pushing the water to both extremes at the highs and lows. The huge pan of sand the tide had exposed acted as a giant reflector removing the little shelter afforded by my hat. In the shallows a pair of herons hunted for flat fish and sand eels, the ripples from the sound barely making it up to their knees. Overhead a squadron of mergansers raced in tight formation while plovers and oystercatchers browsed the wet sand.
I paddled over a stream that meanders through the bay and serves as a dividing line between the island’s sands and those of Mull. Phil took the tractor around a longer route to the woodpile while I made a direct line through the rocks of the foreshore. In the Sound of Iona a cruise liner was occupying the main channel on a course to anchor mid way between the island of the abbey and Fionnphort the nearest point on Mull. I watched a kayaker who was following a parallel course only a little closer and laughed at the juxtaposition.
Looking back to Erraid, the little street, pier and gardens seemed equally absurd but still vital to my sense of the place. The lighthouse builders had brought Victorian order and industry, but had only imposed their will within the bounds of the settlement. Beyond the walls the wilderness and beauty of the island almost laughs at mans folly, like a leaning tower in the Grand Canyon. We loaded the trailer with logs, grunts, groans and the odd strain. The timber is the community's primary fuel and was felled about twenty miles away on Mull at a Forestry Commission plantation. We leave it a year at the pile to season before carrying it onto the island and chopping it into fire sized pieces. Phil left to collect the children from school and I drove the tractor back stopping to check on oyster catchers’ and lapwings’ nests from my portable hide.
Image Above: Broken Tap
Image Left: Oystercatcher on nest