• Nadine Almer

Day 22 & 23: Daytrip adventures & Windy joys

27.1.2021

After slow adjusting to our new environment, I was pretty determined to find a beach that I had discovered while climbing one of the hilltops on the opposite side of our house. So without any map, Marjorie and I where out by 8:45 and went in the direction where I saw the white sandy beach. We only had to climb one fence (or more precisely I had to lift Marjorie and put her onto the other side and afterwards I myself climbed to the other side, we perfectioned this during this adventure as we had to do it a few more times).

At first I really was focused on the direction of the beach but pretty soon I gave in to the charm of the Now. There just was so much to see and as some of you know I am naturally drawn to the ocean, especially to cliffs and coasts. As the sun slowly climbed up and the first rays were illuminating the moors around us they seemed to start to glow in their colours of green, red, black, white, yellow and the whole rainbow sparkled on the hundreds of water holes that calmly rested within these moors. To top it all up, when I was high enough a whole rainbow was visible stretching from some rainclouds that hung over the ocean right to the village of Aird Uig, where we were staying. It was just an undescribable feeling, standing under a clear blue sky and seeing that, probably a few kilometers away, one lonely cloud released rain into the ocean, producing a rainbow with the reflection of the drops it let off.

Marjorie was in front of me most of the time, partly because she has four legs while I was in disadvantage with just two, but mostly because I was crawling, kneeling, laying, standing, crouching or squating in different angles with different durations needed to capture the beauty around me. To be honest though, I sometimes just needed to take in the spectacular view with my eyes instead of capturing it with the camera lens, which also took me some time and gave Marjorie a free ticket to roam freely. It was really lovely how she always returned when I was out of sight for too long. It felt like the perfect partnership, were we took care of one another but also could indulge ourselves to what we loved the most. She followed inspiring smells and I just was in the present moment. The smells from the salty ocean were filling my nostrils, intensified sometimes by the breeze coming directly from the sea. While climbing or kneeling the softness of the moss and the sheer diversity of the species left me speechless. Sometimes the moss was so thick it would seem like walking on clouds instead of the ground!

The seascape was so beautifully raw and wild, giving me a feeling of being alive and absolutely present. Things like the adrenaline when you see the abyss and climb as far to the edge of the land as you possibly dare, the breeze or wind or even storm that lets you either smell the salt of the waves crashing on the shore, or prevents you from breathing and in doing so reminding you of your own fragility as a human being compared to the power of nature.

We did not make it to the beach but to be frank- I had forgotten all about it at some point along the way and as we returned at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon the smile on my face lasted until I went to bed and I am pretty sure returned the moment I began to rewind this day within my dreams, as cheesy as that may sound.


28.1.2021

In the night the winds started to get stronger and when Marjorie and I went for our morning walk it actually was so strong that I could simply lean myself against it without falling. I have never experienced such intense wind and at some point I had to search for some kind of shelter to rest for a bit. As we were exploring Gallans Head shelter was easy to find because there are a lot of abandoned buildings there, buildings that formerly were used for military purposes. While inside one of those abandoned buildings, I found a box nested between rocks that was there for fellow explorers- geocaching. It contained a sheet of paper that was explaining historical background facts to this place and while I had been briefed by Sarah a little bit already, there still were some unexpected news.

E.g. the community trust planned to put up a hydrophone that would enable people to listen to the marine life from under the sea! Or that if the conditions were right as well as the season, and because this town is the most north-westerly point of the UK, you would be able to see the Aurelia Borealis, the Northern Lights! Although I thought that the season for them would be over by now, a quick online research tells me the opposite... I definitely will have to ask Sarah if she and Andrew in their 15 years here have ever seen them. I will keep my eyes open either way because Aurelia Borealis or not, I have yet to achieve one thing on my "Scotland Bucket List" which would be to lay under the stars free of light pollution, never in my life have I been able to do this because everywhere I went there was light pollution.

Anyway, when some time had passed and Marjorie did not came to find me, my instinct told me that something was up. I got out of my hiding spot and enjoyed the winds again while searching for my dog. First clue was to go where I last had seen her and this turned out to be quite right because there she was and it seemed like she was eating something. This was new because so far we had not come across any food waste and she only had been chewing on some seaweed. Normally I would have to get there to see what she was up to but this time she came running when she saw me, her tail wagging enthusiastically with her head changing sides, clearly so happy to see me- which was odd. After a short cuddle she looked at me, some gray stuff hanging from her mouth and went to the spot she stood in before, looking back once more as though telling me to come as quick as I possible. And I did.

When I came nearer it was a bloody mess, and I mean it.

There were bushels of fur lying around a hole beside a big stone and she was crunching bones and sliding pieces of bloody flesh from them. There was not much left but I saw the typical back paws of a smaller rabbit, so I guess it was a rabbit. I cannot say if she had indeed captured it herself or if it had been the prey of an eagle, Sarah told me later that her dog Freyja sometimes catches rabbits too and that they had seen two eagles pass by this morning.

Whatever had happened for the rest of the walk she stayed in her enthusiastic mood and I cut her breakfast short, just in case she had been eating the whole of the rabbit. Judging by her satisfaction even after I fed her half, she probably had caught it and eaten it and had eaten enough, for breakfast at least.


The rest of the morning was very windy but within our wonderful home, the fire going and hot coffee and tea, the weather outside added to a cozy, warm feeling. In addition to that I was able to do some work as well although work seems like an odd thing to say as I enjoyed it very much.

Sarah had done me a favour and thought of something I could do during my quarantine time. As there had been put up a polycrop last year and lots and lots of research on how to what to when to do stuff, now a visualization was needed to make all the gathered information into an easy and accesible plan per week for the first polycrop year. For the mostpart of my first 3 hours I just read into all the amazing information that they had gathered so far, e.g. the plants they wanted to grow, the place they had at their disposal and also how to do it, at what time, with what rotation circle and so on. Because my last gardening volunteer work mostly contained administration, correspondence, fundraising or networking I welcomed this chance I had been given to start learning about theory (and later on in my stay the practice of it).

After lunch Marjorie did not seem keen to go out so we cuddled on the sofa while I was watching some TV. By 3 o'clock we made our way to the beach around our corner. Originally my plan was to only collect one bag of plastic litter from it but as said one bag was full after just 3 minutes (because there were so much bottles filling it up quickly), I collected what else I could find by hand, transported it back to a bench to store it there until I would return with enough bags to fetch it.

Marjorie went up the hill during my task so I followed her when I was done, but it was not long until we were high enough to just enjoy the view for a little while, me sitting on a stone, Marjorie a little way down. As the wind grew stronger she signalled me that she wanted to go back, which in retrospect was very clever because it started to rain soon after we arrived at the house we are fortunate enough to call home. I guess she just sensed the change of the weather which leads me to rethink my human attitude and try to trust her instincts more, leave her to take the lead more often. After a short funeral of a seagull that lay by the side of our path home (burying it with heavy stones and silently saying a few words), we took the bag of plastic with us back to the house, played a little bit in the garden and then went inside to warm up.

Slowly I feel my rythm adapting, my haste fading. I am looking forward to do a good enough job in realizing a concept plan for the first ploycrop year, I would like to do a seaweed fertilizer as my first project, I cannot wait until I can fully dive into work with Sarah and Andrew and I so yearn for more adventurous, exploring walks on this beautiful island.

We are very happy here!


Love and light, beautiful souls

Nadine

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