Wednesday 28 July 2010

Just me and Basil this week...

Sue is in Kent this week, on one of her regular visits to see her mother and catch up with her southern friends. That leaves me and Basil in charge of looking after things on Skye. Other than a laundry and ironing mountain, and a few 'turn arounds' of our cottages, there's not a huge amount for me to do, so while down at Rowan Cottage mowing the lawn yesterday, I took the chance to have a walk in Kinloch, and found this -

There's no road, or even a decent path to this spot. But the cottage has recently been renovated. It'll be someone's little piece of heaven on earth!

Here's another bit of South Skye from yesterday's walk - Kinloch Forest - where a pine plantation is being replaced with native broadleaf trees to recreate a natural landscape. Errr... shouldn't they be getting rid of the road as well...??!

Saturday 17 July 2010

Visit to A&E

I clumsily managed to stab myself in the palm of my left hand with a kitchen knife today. I was just completing the 'turn round' at Aird View, so as I had to come through Portree on my way home, I thought I would pop into the hospital there to have it looked at.

I managed to drive more or less one-handed, stopping the bleeding by pressing my left thumb onto the cut.

A&E was completely deserted and as quiet as a grave. There was a huge handbell on the desk, with a sign 'ring for attention'. I reckon everyone within 20 miles would hear that bell if it were shaken in earnest! Portree was saved from a loud clanging as a nurse happened to pass by. I explained why I was there, and she pointed me to a seat and said she'd tell the Staff Nurse.

I had barely sat down before the Staff Nurse appeared and immediately took my details. Then I was whisked off to a treatment room and examined. 'I think I'll get the doctor to look at this, I'm not very expert with hand wounds' says the Staff Nurse. 'Wait there'.

Not thirty seconds later, the Staff Nurse reappears with the doctor. The doc is very pleasant, and makes a thorough examination of my hand. Apparently I am fortunate not to have damaged any tendons or nerves. He tells me,  'I rather like stitching, but if you are not doing anything vigorous for a few days, you'll probably be OK if we glue you and use a few steri-strips'.

With that, Staff Nurse sets to work with assorted bits of tissues, wipes, and sticky things. 'I'll bandage it up, to make it look impressive, but when all this falls off, just stick a plaster over it' I am told.

And that's it. I was in the hospital a total of maybe 10 minutes.

How long did your last visit to A&E take?

Friday 9 July 2010


I guess we had to pay for that couple of months of warm, dry weather in the early summer....

Today, the south of England endures a heatwave, and the north west of England has introduced a hose pipe ban. Here, we have just had three days of heavy rain and strong winds... errr... of course, I really mean 'Skye drizzle and breezes'.

But it's not all bad - this afternoon, the 'Skye Switch' has been pressed, and I can see blue sky and fluffy white clouds again. It's challenging weather for the visitors - What to wear? Where to go? - All part of the Skye holiday experience!!

But the veggies in the allotment are enjoying the rain, even if the peas and cauliflowers look a bit wind-blown. We are currently harvesting what seems like several tons of strawberries. Who-ever thought they would not do well on Skye was wrong. Many have been distributed to friends and neighbours, and some are destined to spend some time in a large jam saucepan. I'm off out now to see if I can find enough carrots among the thinnings for tonight's dinner.

Friday 2 July 2010


Otters do live and breed on Skye, and with patience and quite a bit of luck, you may see one almost anywhere around the coast. You are more likely to see one in the water than on land. They have an acute sense of smell, sight and hearing and will almost certainly disappear if they become aware of your presence. They are more likely to be spotted in the early morning. If the water is very calm, you may spot the v-shaped wake of a swimming otter (they swim with just a little of their head protruding above water). Otters eat  fish, birds, small mammals, frogs and crabs. They are often larger than people expect with an adult being between 1 and 1.3 metres in length and weighing 7-9 kg. Sometimes you may see something in the water and dismiss it as a seal, but it is often worth having a look with binoculars in case it is an otter.

Best otter spotting spots on Skye - Rubha Hunish, Irishman’s Point, Rubha Arnish, and Kylerhea Otter Haven (which has a purpose built hide). The Bright Water Centre in Kyleakin has lots of information about otters and other wildlife and you can take a trip to Eilean Ban, the island out in the Kyle straits where Gavin Maxwell (author of Ring of Bright Water) lived for a time; there is now a museum there and otter hides.

Good luck!