Mum and dad managed to get across the pretty wild sea over the weekend for a quick Islay safari and whilst taking them on a couple of game drives I realised that my life has got very goose orientated recently. So I thought it was time for a little bit of light, non-goose related, relief on here too.
Not a goose to be seen at Machir bay
And where better to start than with couple of Islay’s most imposing residents? Think of Scotland and big, bulky red-heads might not be too far from the front of many people’s minds – but these two are of the animal variety! Highland cattle are really quite common here; they can withstand almost all the seriously variable weather can throw at them and thrive on the rougher hill ground that other stock struggles to cope with. Aesthetically they just seem to “fit” with the landscape here too. They stare at you from behind a ginger fringe with a seriously uninterested, yet not totally vacant, expression – as if they’re slightly puzzled by you, but can’t be bothered to work out why. But then, maybe that’s just reserved for people looking at geese with a telescope..
Just what are you doing?
In the winter the highland cattle are joined on the marginal hill fringe grazing by the red deer. By now the rut is over, and the boys can re-group in little bachelor herds, have a bit of a feed and suss out who got up to what over the last couple of months. It looks a little bit like a slightly hungover, post night-out debrief with the boys over a greasy fry-up. This guy, as well as having probably the most impressive set of antlers I’ve ever seen on a wild staggie, definitely seemed to be feeling the effects and was clearly needing to fill that belly before he felt ready to face the world again.
A weary look in his eye..
It’s not just the wildlife that’s spectacular here though; Islay has some pretty amazing beaches. At this time of year they are windswept, deserted and beautiful. Mum was pretty quick to get the camera out and the results will probably render the Islay tourist board redundant. Ok it’s not very warm, but who needs to jet out to the Caribbean?
Big strand beach
looking towards Laggan point