Monday, 21 May 2012

Sula Beag
Rubha nan Gall Lighthouse
 One of our Christmas presents was a voucher for a wildlife cruise! No, not on a fancy cruise ship to an exotic place but a trip nearer to our home and hearts. We joined the MV Sula Beag, a well appointed passenger launch for a four hour trip from Tobermory round the north coast of our island. We were hoping to see bottle nosed dolphins, minke whales, porpoises, maybe a basking shark, seals, otters and seabirds.
Plankton  trawl results
The cetaceans were, however, taking the day off so no sightings of them. We saw many species of seabirds, stunning scenery, Glengorm castle from seaward and a number of lighthouses. Rubha nan Gall just shortly after sailing is a conventional tower lighthouse dating from 1857, whilst its neighbour just along the coast is, by contrast, a modern “tin” box erected by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2003. Ardnamurchan light which we saw to the north of us sits on the most westerly point of the British mainland and will be the subject of a future blog. The light was just right for photography with plenty of subjects waiting to be recorded. The weather was clear enough to see the neighbouring island of Coll and even the smoky outline of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The ever-changing light on the Cuillins of Skye to the northward gave them alternately a dark sombre look and a joyous green as the sun broke through the clouds over them.
Lunch was a picnic on deck in the sunshine whilst the launch was slowly drifting in the entrance to Loch A’ Chumhainn off the hamlet of Croig. Here we looked for otters but none spied though we did see some seals on the rocks. Croig was the landing place years ago for the cattle from the outer isles that were being taken for sale as far away as Smithfield market in London. After being landed they were driven across Mull to Grasspoint, taken by boat to Oban and then walked the five hundred miles or so to the south if buyers could not be found nearer home.

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