While the rest of the gang went off walking and climbing,my plans were to go first to the Coral Beach, up from Dunvegan, and then drive down to Elgol to take the boat over Loch Scavaig, and walk through the little valley to reach Loch Coruisk. I’d wanted to do that last year, but was frustrated by the weather and a boatman who was more interested in the money than the satisfaction of his customers, so this year, the weather proving to be pretty settled, I intended retracing the journey.
First however, the Coral Beach! You’ll know it when you see it, Janet told me, It has its own little ray of sunshine!
The car park is about a mile from the beach so out with the walking poles and off I set. It was a lovely walk with views of the Outer Hebrides across the Minch, and backwards to McLeod’s Tables , at the top of which a clan chief entertained a king to dinner, saying that it beat any royal palace dining room.
Eventually I saw a small stretch of white beach ahead – was this it? It didn’t seem so impressive… You’ll know it when you see it, Janet had said. I kept on along the grassy track, up a small slope.. and there it was, the real thing, about 100 yards ahead, at the foot of a small knucklebone shaped hill…. no mistaking it now! There really did seem to be an extra brightness about it and the colour of the water was astounding.
The coral pieces were mostly very small with just an occasional bigger piece, but nothing like the coral trees you might see on diving expeditions in the likes of Australia. I waked along the beach and paddled in the water, then decided to climb the little hill! It’s quite steep but the view was terrific right out to the Outer Hebrides (heb-rid-eez) the islands on the western edge of Scotland.
There were loads of little wild flowers along the machair – the Gaelic word for the grassy meadowland above the beach – it hasn’t got an English equivalent word. An idea came to mind, prompted by choir conductor Jackie’s journal from a trip she made to one of the Outer Hebs a year or two ago. Could this be my first non-digi scrapbook page? Collect some flowers to press; pick up a few feathers; pocket a few pieces of coral…. I walked along the machair in my bare feet, feeling the tickle of the grasses and the coolness of the ground, warm where the packed earth had been walked clean of grass…. the sounds of the gulls, and a lark high above me, the smells of the seaweed and the fresh sea air… yes, that would be a good collection of memories to put in a scrapbook! Unfortunately, by the time I got back to the car, the little posy of flowers had withered in my hot sticky hand – but I still have the photos, the coral and the feathers , and the memories, so maybe I’ll still do a scrapbook page, or maybe I’ll just do a digi one! I can photograph the feathers,the coral, some wee tiny stones, seaweed and shells, and extract them from the photos – well, I’ll show you when it’s done! Meanwhile here are some of the flowers!
Well, I got back to the car, and decided it was too hot, and I really couldn’ t be bothered driving all the way down to Elgol.
Instead I stopped off at the Dunvegan castle cafe for soup and some bread, some of which I fed to the fairly tame chaffinches and a robin that were hopping about the tables outside. Here’s the robin on the left, and a male chaffinch, right,
while below right is a female chaffinch finding some crumbs on the table. She’s not so brightly coloured as the male but quite recognisable from her finch’s beak and the white and black bars across her wings.
Here’s another chaffinch male, and a rather larger male blackbird! I think this is possibly a young one, but the yellow beak and black plumage say that he’s a male. The female is brown with a browny grey beak.
In the afternoon I stayed in the north of Skye but drove west. More of that next time.
Talk again soon.