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Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
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July 2016 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
NEW VENTURES BOOST FOR LOCAL ECONOMY
Two ventures just starting up bring the total of new businesses in the area to at least six within the last five months!
And the latest couldn't be more different from each other.
Silversands Trekking Centre is a small family owned business based at Glenrowan Farm on the outskirts of Morar run by Shelagh Sharman. A welcome and long looked for addition to the activities available locally, the stables will be open Monday to Saturday and can cater for a wide range of ages and abilities.
Aylie McMinn has swapped driving a Council lorry for beauty therapy! She has opened the former Western Battery Service shop in Mallaig as the Aylz Nailz & Beauty Salon offering a range of treatments. Aylie is continuing her training to extend the range she can offer.
In March we reported on the opening of Megan Milligan's Short, Bark and Sides dog grooming salon and last month we highlighted the launch of Claudia's Arisaig Ice Cream and Donna's Mallaig Ices. This month we also highlight Arisaig Archery.
Silversands Trekking Centre started up in April and is run by Shelagh Sharman from Mallaig, with the help of local girls Hannah MacKinnon and Emily Brown who are both qualified trek leaders. The stables house eight horses and have a schooling ring as well.
Shelagh, who will be taking her trek leader exam soon, says "If you want to see the best of our scenery by horseback or have a ride in our schooling ring, then get in touch. Please call to avoid disappointment! Call 07789 175136 or message through the Facebook page."
Aylie McMinn (right) has always been interested in make up and beauty so, encouraged by her Gran who in her twenties was a Consultant and make up artist with Max Factor, she decided to pursue a career in Beauty therapy. She commuted three days a week to Inverness college UHI for her NC and then she made the decision, with the backing of parents and partner, to open a salon in Mallaig.
Aylie says "I hope I can provide a service locally that people have previously had to travel to Fort William for. We have refitted a portion of the shop and on gaining my qualification I was able to open the salon on June 3rd 2016.
"The local response and support has been heartwarming and I am absolutely delighted."
Aylie has also been accepted on the HNC course and looks forward to expanding her knowledge and increasing her treatment portfolio. This will mean again commuting three days a week, operating the salon on the other three days.
Among the treatments currently on offer are, CND Shellac, Waxing, Eve Taylor Facials, Manicures, Pedicures, Make up for all occasions, and more… Aylie also has a YouTube channel where she posts tutorials and reviews twice a week: www.youtube.com/Ayliemcminn
The Salon is called Aylz Nailz & Beauty and is located at Western Battery Service, Davies Brae, Mallaig.
Tel: 07921 268497 firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook page.
Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm (appointments outwith these times can be arranged) Phone, text, email or message on facebook for appointment or just pop in any time.
Arisaig Archery has been started this season by Mike Kingswood and is based right beside Arisaig Hotel. Providing fun and engaging archery sessions, the range is partially covered allowing for shooting in wet weather. No experience is necessary. Sessions run most days or by appointment. Individuals, families or groups, all are welcome.
Prices: Adult £20; Child (8-18yrs) £18; Family (2 adults + 2 ch under 18) £60; Whole Range £120
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm, the last session at 4pm.
Please enquire for availability from 07479 793978, email email@example.com or visit the web site arisaigarchery.co.uk.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CORNERSTONE!
Schools out! And of course it's been raining a plenty. We did have some lovely weather at the start of June though, carrying on from May. We had so little rain in fact that there was a serious fire risk. Luckily no one managed to set the hills alight though and now it's far too soggy to be worrying anymore! You just cannae win in Scotland can you??
On the 18th June we saw the arrival of Wilder Ways, a horse trekking adventure business who came to stay for a couple of weeks. They brought with them a small herd of beautiful horses and offered various different kinds of riding and treks all over the peninsula, for all ages, whether you were a total beginner or an experienced rider. I have to say, it's been lovely to see horses out and about on a regular basis again after Knoydart Pony Trekking closed when Anna headed off to New Zealand. There have also been some unlikely locals having a go. Good on you Chic!
The 18th also saw the return of Talisk, who played a fantastic gig. The hall was packed to the brim (partly due to the raging midgies outside so no one could escape) and was described to me as being a bit like being in a dance sauna! Great Night though.
The children at school had their end of term assembly, and played some fantastic tunes - we really do have some very musically talented youngsters here. It was an emotional one though, as we said goodbye to Chloe, who heads off to high school along with Sarah, her PSA, and Maja transfers to P1 after the holidays. We have also said goodbye to Mary Kordiak, from Tougal, who has been my PT (for those who don't know what that is, she has basically been my mentor) in the nursery for the last year and a half. However, we did get lucky because she is joining the Lady Lovat team which means she will still be connected to Inverie!
Some good news on the housing front - Knoydart Lodge (Bob and Morag's) is no longer on the market. They have decided they are not going anywhere after all and have taken it off the market. The rest of this year it will continue to be a self-catering property but then will undergo a bit of a transformation. From March next year it will offer private, en-suite room lets with shared communal facilities for groups of 2-20, and prices will start at £30pppn. This will allow guests the chance to stay in a more luxurious accommodation without the price tag. Steph Harris is going to return from Glasgow to help Bob and Morag with this new venture and I am sure they will have every success!
And finally, I thought I would include a wee bit of historic information I found out the other day. In 1786 around 530 people left Knoydart for Glengarry County in Canada.
Til next time folks.
ISLE OF MUCK
Difficult times on the island at the island at the moment and it started with the announcement that Bryan and teacher Julie Baker were leaving us at the end of the summer term. Luckily we also have Head Teacher Andy Murray who sprang into action with the aim of getting a replacement in position by the start of the autumn term. Normally when appointments have been the remit of the Education Dept it has been difficult to get anyone in place before October half term. However Andy was out of luck and all six candidates dropped out though one actually reached Muck. Now the post is being re advertised.
Now I must take time to pay tribute to Julie probably the best ever teacher on Muck and I have been observing the education scene for the last 60 years. Julie brought diversification in education to a new level. Each week the school newsletter has been packed with stories of the projects and activities undertaken by the pupils. Like growing vegetables in the polytunnel, hatching and rearing ducklings, showing the public round the school and the gardens at the Open Day. Visits to the Outdoor centre at Nethy Bridge, music by Gabe, beach clean ups, lectures by a range of experts. The list is endless and all the time in the background - normal school work. Our children have been very lucky.
At the Open Day on the 19th we were also lucky with the weather. Not the unbroken sunshine of May but the rain kept away until the patrons had departed. We welcomed around 80 including a number from Ardnamurchan and Polly Pullar author of Muck's own story A Drop in the Ocean and co host of A Write Highland Hoolie, Mallaig's own Book Festival. Islanders had baked lots of cakes which were sold in aid of 'Mary's Meals' and on the Farm Tour I spoke about the two recent developments that have meant so much in terms of employment and the school - the Shooting and the Fish Farm. Altogether a successful day.
A Stop Press item: To Mary and Toby Fitchner Irvine on Ist July at Raigmore Hospital, a son Oscar.
That is all this month.
Muck Primary School
Mr Murray visited and brought cakes with him, (they were very yummy in our tummies). Thank you Eigg. Also, Mr Murray did sports in the Hall with us and we had a lot of fun.
We enjoyed going over to Eigg where we were able to try out their new school climbing frame and basket swing, and we went to the Health Fair and took part in the Qi Gong and rode the smoothie bike.
We've been practicing our tours for the Muck Open Day and did work in the poly-tunnel as well as collecting produce, which included raspberries, sugar snap peas and salad (see below). We also made Open Day posters, and posters about the food crisis in Malawi, which we are fund-raising for at the Open Day, along with the RNLI. We really enjoyed the Open Day. We did 3 tours showing visitors the poly tunnel, ducks, our outdoor classroom, and inside the school. There was also a tractor tour, ice cream, and a cake sale. It was a success!
The Primary Fives enjoyed a great Small Isles week. Kitty and Jasper have been working on aboriginal art. We have also been making our duck house for the ducklings and it is looking quite good, and we've been writing mermaid tales and visited Mermaids Pool and told our tales. We also played rounders to try and get a bit better!
We have enjoyed a visit from a paramedic who was showing the equipment that the paramedic needs, and two archaeologists have also visited the school and we saw the archaeological site and artifacts from the Mesolithic period (Middle Stone Age).
Tales at the Mermaid's Pool
Mr Murray took us over to the forest school and we did an orienteering activity and it was lots of fun. We have begun to make a den. After that we went to the camping place and arranged jobs and collected wood to take to the den to build up the walls. Mrs B came with a box of stuff that we had collected from Fanc Mor at the litter pick, and also a big bit of net which we used as the roof, and we have to admit that it looks pretty good. We'll tell you about our camp out soon!
Isle of Muck Primary
ISLE OF RUM
A busy month here on Rum as usual. The RET seems to be doing well for CalMac if the amount of bumped dangerous goods is anything to go by! The coach tours who seem to be clogging up the Loch Nevis don't necessarily come ashore to Rum so we don't get the 'silver lining' of lots of OAP tourists either... We have honorary Eigg resident Shuggy here just now running up and down the track to the quarry working on paths to the camping cabins. The campsite and bunkhouse are doing really well this season, particularly with Claire's Gypsy Waggon and Jinty's BBQ hut.
Rum joined in with communities all over the UK on June 12th for the Big Lunch - lots of Rum residents and visitors getting together to eat a bring and share lunch in the village hall. Our next bring and share meal is an evening of food from the sea - foraged or fished from the seashore, or just bought in from Andy Race or Rum Shop! We have Elsa Jean McTaggart returning for a third time this coming weekend, always a popular visitor to the island.
It's been the month for new arrivals - both the Rum ponies finally had their foals, after looking ridiculously pregnant for ages. Born just a few days apart we have a wee boy and a wee girl foal now in the field in front of the castle being cooed over by residents and visitors alike - now we await the naming of said foals. On Croft 3 The Goddard's have been very busy with hatchings of chicks and ducklings almost daily - the croft resembles a sort of petting zoo with so many nursery pens and predictably Scarlett has a pet duckling residing in the caravan! A record breaking year for the croft to rival the truly record breaking year for the Kilmory deer project. In over 40 years of the project the record for most calves caught during a season stood at 94 back in 2006. Ten years on with at least 4 hinds left to calf still the running total stands at 96. Not only a record breaking year but also set to hit the 100! Sean and Ali are looking forward to a much needed rest once it all settles down.
We've had a couple of VIP visits - MP Ian Blackford and SNH chair Ian Ross have both been over to Rum. We're hoping that Ian Blackford is able to have a word in the right ear about a few things on our behalf, not least the schoolhouse standing empty and falling into disrepair. On an island with such pressure on available housing, and space for a doctors surgery for our fortnightly visits, a house being unused is a tragedy. We're hoping someone somewhere will listen and apply some common sense.
Talking of housing IRCT looks set to go ahead with a housing initiative to build several new affordable houses to create opportunities to attract new residents to Rum. We're also embarking on some maintenance works on the current houses thanks to some funding contributing to part of the costs to make the properties more energy efficient, lower running costs and make them generally nicer to live in.
Schools out for summer - Eve and Joss ended the school year with another fabulous year of learning with Mrs Ingram. They had triumphed in the school polytunnel with a magnificent cauliflower which they cooked and ate. Next year the school role increases by a massive 50% as Andrew Beaton starts.
Polytunnels seem to be the secret of successful growing here on Rum. Not necessary due to the warmer soil and protection from the elements but as a safe space from the marauding deer! While Kilmory are celebrating close to 100 births the folk in the village and crofts are mostly looking forward to the start of season meaning some respite from deer trampling over fruit and veg gardens plus the availability of Rum venison once more!
Rum Primary School
Eve and Jocelyn, the pupils of Rum Primary School have been busy in their vegetable garden and polytunnel since the early spring. They have planted and weeded and tended and watered their vegetable beds and the result was….. lunch!
They grew a fine big cauliflower that weighed in at 400g. It was decided that Cauliflower cheese was the best dish to cook, and as the lettuce, rocket and ruby chard were ready, a mixed salad would be the perfect accompaniment. It was exciting watching the roux sauce bubble and thicken as the grated cheese melted in. While the cauliflower florets steamed, both girls helped to pick, wash and drain the salad leaves and lay the table, restaurant-style. We sat down to eat together and the verdict was, "Delicious!".
ISLE OF CANNA
We have all been delighted with the continued good weather which has been great for the increasing number of visitors to the island. Indeed we had one very special visitor, the super yacht EOS which is one of the largest, if not the largest of its kind in the world.
The sea eagles are doing well and both nests now have a pair of chicks. We were treated to a dare devil piece of abseiling when Justin and Martin came out to ring the birds. We spent several hours watching the nests and Justin descended to carry out the ringing as well as weighing and measuring them. Not a job which the rest of us would particularly like!
Ian Blackford MP came across to hold a surgery on the island as well as meeting the directors of the Isle of Canna Community Development Trust. He was also briefed on the great news that Canna has received a Big Lottery Grant of £951,087 towards the cost of the community's renewable energy project. This will undoubtedly make a huge difference to the island and reduce our dependence on the current diesel generators. Project Manager, Stewart Connor, deserves particular thanks for getting us to this stage.
On a lighter note, there appears to be a developing fashion for kayaking amongst the islanders with several people having purchased them so far this year. Gerry is often seen paddling in the late afternoon after work on the farm is over, whilst Anna kayaks to work at Café Canna. Nobody has managed to persuade Murdo to have a go yet (but there is still time this summer!)
Criomagan from Canna House
June (an t-Óg Mhios "The Young Month") was a busy month again for Canna House. The garden is looking lovely and there are lots of visitors to enjoy walking in the grounds and perhaps take a seat in our smart new gazebo, under the apple trees! Although the House is officially closed for tours to Visitors, on good days, the strains of some of John Lorne Campbell's sound archive can be heard wafting out into the garden from the front door and visitors can take a peek into the front hall thorough the lobby. The garden also holds little anecdotes of the Campbells lives,stories and songs, tied into branches and fences! Archivist Fiona was delighted to welcome Harvard University (Boston) Professor Natasha Sumner to Canna House for a few days where they worked together on researching some of JLC's sound catalogue. This was the Professor's first visit to Canna and she was thrilled with the scenery, the House and most of all, the potential of the Archives.
Prof Natasha Sumner, Harvard University, in Canna House.
June also saw the island being overrun by a party of delegates from the Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig (Gaelic Research) Conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye. Due to tides and dinner times (!) Archivist Fiona and Ranger Pete Holden managed to deliver three island tours and three Canna House introductions in the space of 90 minutes, a record surely! The delegates included academics from all over the world, including Canada. America, Germany and Lithuania and all have vowed to return to explore Canna's treasures in the future. Fiona herself, delivered a paper on the Friday of the Conference, entitled Know Your Contributor, Understand Your Reporter which focussed on the contribution of two of John and Margaret Campbell's main contributors, Peigi and Mairi Macrae of South Uist and how their contribution affected the way in which the Campbells undertook their work in the Outer Hebrides, in Nova Scotia and on Canna.
SMO Visit- L to R- Dr H Sparling, Cape Breton Uni; Prof R Dunbar, Edinburgh Uni; F Mackenzie; M Klevenhaus, Researcher Bonn & SMO Lecturer; P Holden Canna Ranger.
June sees St Columba's Day (June 9th) and Margaret Fay Shaw includes a little prayer or rune for this day in Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist
"Diardaoin Là Chaum Chille chaoimh,
Là chur chaorach air seilbh
A dhol dheilbh beairt, 's a chur bà air laoigh
Thursday the day of kindly Columba
The day to gather the sheep in the fold
To set the loom and put cows with their calves"
MP TAKES TO THE WATER FOR SURGERIES IN THE SMALL ISLES
Ian Blackford MP took to the water last week to meet residents of the Small Isles and hear their views at surgeries which were held on Muck, Eigg, Rum and Canna.
First port of call was Muck with a meeting in the impressive Community Hall, which opened in 2012, after a locally inspired fund raising campaign and 'Big Lottery' assistance. The island is popular with tourists who enjoy wildlife and the 'get away from it all' experience. Another mainstay of the economy is the farming of sheep and cattle.
Mr Blackford spent over an hour hearing about the island and asking about the needs of the population, which numbers around thirty, to assist them in any way he could and raise any matters on their behalf with relevant agencies.
On Eigg he was welcomed first of all by Maggie Fyfe of the Eigg Heritage Trust, getting an insight into how the island had developed since the pioneering community buy-out, which has led to the foundation of many local businesses and an increase in tourism.
The island also has become completely self-contained in power generation, with their own grid supplied by wind, water and sun.
His surgery attracted quite a bit of interest and brought in several members of the ninety strong population to raise matters of concern, which he will address on their behalf.
Ian met wih Maggie Fyffe of the Eigg Heritage Trust
All the MP photos courtesy of iain Ferguson, The Write Image
On completion of the surgery he was able to enjoy the delights of the island for himself, with an overnight stop until meeting his boat the following morning. Another day and another two islands, Rum and Canna, where again he met with residents, not only to listen and act on enquiries, but also to 'get a feel' for their everyday situation and just how life is conducted on small islands with equally small communities who are totally dependent on good communication and transport links for even basic necessities.
Mr Blackford said: "I have been very impressed at what I have seen and heard of these communities and the people in them. I live on Skye, so I could say, am a fellow island dweller, but life can have different challenges with populations ranging from under twenty to just over ninety and I will do my very best to help them survive and prosper.
"Naturally surgeries are largely private discussions between an MP and their constituents, but of course there are a number of matters such as internet connectivity, mobile phone signal and the costs and reliability of transport which are commonly brought to my attention in many other parts of the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency.
"I found the whole experience to be very rewarding and I will be pursuing these and other issues raised during my visits. All questions will be addressed and I will be reporting back, hopefully with positive news where this can be achieved.
"One thing I can state with certainty is that these Islands, Muck, Rum, Eigg and Canna are real gems and well worth a visit, even for a few hours. It is my intention to hold surgeries on each one again, as I will be doing in other small communities throughout the constituency".
Road to the Isles Agricultural Show 2016
Well the Road to the Isles Agricultural Show was blessed once again with dry weather. It was a great day from start to finish.
The sheep lines were well attended with close to 100 Blackface sheep alone. Mr Maxwell had his work cut out for him, there were at least 14 in some of the Blacky classes. There was also a few commercial cattle and highlanders in attendance. This year we brought back the Highland ponies and horse classes too, which was also well attended. New to the show this year was a good selection of poultry, let's hope for more entrants next year.
Best in Show - Gregor Innes - Ayam Cenami
In fact the whole field was buzzing and we had no space to put any more tents around the ring. The kids loved the ring entertainment which was The Clan Scotland Cycle Stunt Team.
This is the first year that some newer show committee members have taken part in the running of the event, as some of the older members are moving on to pastures new this year. So we wish them all luck for their future and thank them very much for keeping this show on the map, They have all been tremendously hard working and diligent; good luck for the future.
As always there are things for the newer members to learn and as such has been a steep learning curve for some of us. It has been pointed out that there were not enough photographs of the animal winners in the media. Unfortunately some of the photographers that we usually rely on could not make the event due to other commitments, so photographs are very limited. Maybe as suggested by the Ed of West Word we could arrange to have a photographer present next year to take official photographs for us. Any suggestions or volunteers please get in touch.
Thank you to everyone who helped out through the year, before the event and on the day.
Without your help this show would not be able to carry on.
Volunteers Week in Lochaber
The sun was shining as over 20 different community groups, their friends, families and the occasional visitor, joined the Volunteer Parade - all to raise awareness of the wide range of volunteering activities that exists in our area. The parade, led by pipers from the Lochaber Schools Pipe band and their tutors, walked from Cameron Square to the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Parish Church Hall, the venue for the follow on Volunteers Fair. The Volunteer Fair proved to be a stimulating afternoon, as one participant said: "This has been a brilliant event, lots of talk, laughter and networking. Great to see the voluntary sector coming together."
Voluntary Action Lochaber's celebratory events culminated in the Lochaber Voscars 2016 on Thursday 9th June. Flora McKee, Voluntary Action Lochaber Manager said: "It was a privilege to celebrate with all 21 finalists on the day, and to share lunch with the Individuals and Groups from throughout Lochaber, who provide a huge range of services and support which makes our community a better place to live in."
Arisaig Community Trust were finalists for Organisation of the Year.
Pictured here with winners Ewen’s Room (left) and Room 13 (right)
are the Trust’s Alison O’Rourke and Heather MacDougall (second and third from the right).
Photo courtesy of ‘Kimages’
The awards made at the Voscars were as follows:
Lifetime Achievement - Winner Avril Watt. Runners up John Fotheringham, Spean Bridge and Sally Morris, Duror.
Young Scot Volunteer of the Year - Winner Naomi Hannah, (Kinlochleven High School). Runners up Lewis Ross and Andrew Jackson
Board/Committee member of the Year - Winner Alastair McKinnon, (Lochaber Rugby Club). Runners up Sue Keen, (Town Team) and Marie MacMillan, (Fort William Football Club).
Organisation of the Year - Winner Ewen's Room. Runners up Room 13 International, Caol and Arisaig Community Trust
Good Neighbour of the Year - Winner Susan Hannah, Inverlochy. Runners up Stanley & Agnus Cameron, Spean Bridge and Cathy Stevenson, Inverlochy
Best Volunteer Support Organisation - Winner Lochaber Hope. Runners up West Highland Museum and Lochaber & District Canine Society
Volunteer of the Year - Winner James Kennedy, (The Town Team). Runners up Lorraine Wheelan (Re-Act Refugee Action Lochaber) and Sarah Kennedy (Fort William Marina & Shoreline Association).
Also recognised for their volunteering achievements were representatives from the NQ Volunteering Skills Award group; Janet O'Neil, Christine Stone and Fiona MacLeod
If you are considering Volunteering please contact us at VAL for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org or 01397706044
Knitting and Sewing for Charity Mallaig
Some of the contributors of knitting and sewing for charity met at Astley Hall Arisaig to show the huge amount of articles made over the winter months. We missed those who could not attend but greatly appreciate your input. Most of the items will go to the Arisaig's One Pack One Child Winter Pack (date to be arranged) as part of the Lochaber Re-Act response to helping those displaced by war. Included in the show of goods are four extra large blankets. These are made up of a jigsaw of double knit, garter stitch squares. The blankets are very cosy and large and specifically for families living in very distressed circumstances in countries bordering Syria. These blankets will be ferried out by Edinburgh Cares to families known to the health and charity workers.
The blanket target was only made possible through the word spreading through Mallaig to Fort William and beyond. We received squares and rectangles via the Charity Loving Hands from the Shetlands down to various cities in England. Two 'Sew Square Saturdays' were held in Mallaig Church Hall and proved to be very productive. The planning, initiative and team work of all involved was amazing. We hoped to make three blankets; we have made four. We have enough squares still available to make two more.
Our target of knitting 100 booties was met with booties of all sizes being contributed throughout the winter. Our long distance group member, Carole-from-Essex managed to join us and brought even more knitted articles with her. It was nice to meet her. We were hoping that Pat-from Glasgow would also manage to join us but unfortunately the date was not suitable. Perhaps next year?
The need for knitted/ sewn donations continues. Requests are made as needs are identified. What we make meets demand. We are never left with unwanted items.
If you would like to be involved please do not hesitate. You will be very welcome. Many of those contributing work from home. email@example.com 01687470368
Pictured here outside the Astley Hall in Arisaig are just some of the donations.
Can you spare an hour or more to help sew knitted squares into blankets? Family sized blankets are needed for those displaced by war and now seeking refuge and living in distressed circumstances.
Presentations to the RNLI
Dawn MacPhie, Acting Head of Mallaig Primary School,
presented Coxswain Michael Ian Currie with a very large cheque donation for £1353, collected by all the local children's nurseries.
Coxswain Michael Ian was presented with another large cheque from Donald MacKinnon
from the Elgol and Torran Community for £5,000
and also a new lifeboat crewman called Teangus (that’s him in the middle of the presentation).
Photos courtesy of Moe Mathieson
JAMIE'S AMAZING ESCAPE
Jamie Baillie of Arisaig found that his day of peaceful fishing in Loch nan Uamh turned into a nightmare fight for survival.
Throwing out his fleet of prawn creels, Jamie mistakenly thought they had all gone, but as he turned back into the boat the rope caught round his leg as the last ones shot overboard - taking him with them.
Luckily, he had a knife with him, as all fishermen do, and was able to cut himself free before he was pulled too far under, only to have to watch his boat, Harvest Reaper, steam off without him.
Struggling out of his oilskins and welly boots, Jamie then swam - for four and a half hours to reach Arisaig and safety!
He was exhausted and on the verge of hypothermia when he came ashore, having suffered agonising cramps.
"I'm a decent enough swimmer", said Jamie, "but I really had to concentrate and swim hard as the cramps were worse if I slowed at all."
Jamie eventually made land at the end of the Rhu peninsula where two passers by lent him their phone to call the Coastguard to report his boat was missing. In wet clothes and bare feet he then set off to walk the four miles into Arisaig, but met the Coastguard team on the way.
As you may have read in this month's Lifeboat Log, by the time he managed to phone the Coastguard his boat had already been found unscathed on a beach and the team, some of them personal friends, had been fearing they would be looking for a body.
In warm dry clothes, Jamie's next stop was the Crofters Rest in Arisaig Hotel, where he downed a curry and five pints of blackcurrant cordial. "I was too thirsty for beer," he said.
It didn't take long for Jamie to recover - despite some pain in his ankle and knee he was over in Eigg the next night at their Anniversary Ceilidh!
Claudia of Arisaig Ice Creams concocted two 'specials' in Jamie's honour...
The Mega Beast - a twin cone with Isle of Arran strawberry and vanilla ice cream dotted with fruity shrimps and a flake.
The Bear Gills (pictured here) - An oyster shell with Isle of Arran ice cream dotted with fruity shrimps.
NEWS FROM MALLAIG HARBOUR July 2016
In a letter to Councillor Allan Henderson and to David Stewart MSP, Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has made it clear that MV Coruisk will not be returning to serve on the Skye Ferry route this summer.
In what could be considered a double blow, CalMac via Area Operations Manager Robert Morrison has informed the Sleat Transport Forum - who are actively seeking an increase in the level of winter sailings between Mallaig and Armadale - that "having reviewed the Lochinvar's performance on the route this summer MV Lochnevis is more suitable to be able to provide a robust winter service. Analysis has been given to the tidal impacts for the route using a hybrid in winter and we can confirm the timetable would be just as tidally restricted as the summer has been. MV Lochnevis would not be affected by tidal restrictions during this period and thus able to provide a more consistent service and timetable.
Here's an aerial shot of the car ferry Lord of The Isles rounding the Steamer Pier about to dock at the Linkspan berth. The Loch Bhrusda can be observed departing the harbour while the stern of the hybrid ferry Lochinvar is on the extreme left. This photograph was taken by Drone operator Andrew McKenna, Fort William (his photos adorn the middle pages of Lochaber Life magazine)!
A photograph that proves that we remain a fishing port! Stephen MacDonald took this photograph one day last month when the Shetland registered trawler Ocean Way (LK207) landed this giant halibut. Two metres in length and weighing 120kgs. John Fothergill looks on at the biggest fish landed at the port for several years!
MALLAIG LIFEBOAT LOG
Sunday 29th May 2016 Suspected Drowning
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard at 02:40 hrs to the Isle Oronsay area. The Coastguards received a treble nine call from staff at a local Hostelry that two persons were overdue from a yacht anchored in Isle Oronsay Bay. Four people from a visiting yacht had spent the evening at a local Hotel and after midnight decided to return to their yacht. Owing to the size of their dinghy this would have to be done in relays. The first two set off for the yacht using oars. After an hour or so had passed the party left ashore became concerned that no-one had returned to collect them at the pier. To add to matters they were sure that they could hear somebody call for help in the distance. They returned to the Hotel and alerted staff to their concerns. Two male members of staff found a torch and headed for the pier. After listening for a moment they indeed could hear someone calling for help and a small light flashing in the distance. Immediately returning to the Hotel they notified the Coastguard who in turn launched the Lifeboat and scrambled the Coastguard Helicopter from Inverness. Returning to the pier the two staff members, one being an ex-fisherman, located a local man's dinghy with an engine and sped off into the Bay to render assistance. They located the two yachtsmen, one holding onto a rope at the stern and the other holding onto the anchor rope of their Yacht at the bow. The guys in the dinghy managed to pull the casualty at the stern, who was stiff with the cold, onboard first . Unable to get the second casualty out of the water for fear of capsizing their own dinghy. they decided to hold on to the second casualty until the Lifeboat was on scene. Moments later the Lifeboat drew alongside and launching their own Y-boat to recover the second casualty out of the water. Both casualties were boarded onto the Lifeboat, now in the throes of severe hypothermia. They were immediately stripped of their lifejackets and wet clothing within the Lifeboats wheelhouse. With them now wrapped in blankets, jackets, fleeces anything that would preserve or generate heat, the Lifeboat quickly reboarded the Y-Boat and sped for Mallaig at maximum power with the crew tending to the casualties keeping them awake and reassuring them their ordeal was about over. Arriving alongside at 03:30 hrs the Lifeboat was met by two ambulances who transferred the casualties to Fort William's Belford Hospital. One Casualty was released later that morning and the other kept in overnight for observation. An intense couple of hours service where training and good communication resulted in a successful outcome. Lifeboat ready for service at 04:30 hrs.
The crew did not administer any Meds or liquids after the casualties were taken from water. As they were very cold coming out of the water, our main concern was to get them into the wheelhouse, remove their wet clothing, a quick dry off and into dry teddy bear suits. We then wrapped them in blankets, jackets etc. to start warming them up. By the time this was carried out the boat was almost at the harbour entrance and with the Ambulances on the pier waiting for us we just kept talking to the casualties and kept them awake and reassured. Once we transferred the casualties to the Ambulances they more or less did what we had done aboard, wracked up the heaters, space blankets, more blankets and off to Hospital.
Monday 30th May 2016 Paramedic from Isle of Eigg
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to convey Paramedics to Isle of Eigg at14:40 hrs. A female visitor to the island had been reported by the Island's First Responder to be suffering from severe abdominal pains and sickness. Once alongside at Eigg the patient was attended to by Paramedics at the jetty. Once she had been assessed by the Medics she was brought onboard the Lifeboat for transfer back to the mainland. The patient's condition had improved by the time she arrived back at Mallaig with he condition maybe put down to food poisoning. Casualty was further attended to at the local surgery. Lifeboat ready for service at 16:30hrs.
Tuesday 31st May 2016 Standed Anglers at Loch Nan Uamh
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the assistance of two kayakers in the water at 14:15 hrs in Loch Nan Uamh. Initially reported that two persons were in the water from a kayak, but as the Lifeboat proceeded to the scene it transpired that they were stranded on an island. The two persons involved had been sea angling at the roadside and decided to paddle to an island a short distance off shore to fish around. They used an inflatable sit on top canoe to paddle the short distance to the island. Landing, they dragged the canoe up the rock but alas did not secure it or take it high enough as not to be reached by the flooding tide. As they enjoyed their afternoon's fishing they were surprised to see their craft floating by and heading out the Loch on the offshore breeze. Rescue 951 from Inverness was exercising in the area and flew over the island and located the casualties. As they were not in any danger and the Lifeboat only a mile away they proceeded back to base. As the Lifeboat approached the inflatable canoe was spotted and recovered. Once at the island two crew in the Y-Boat went and picked up the two anglers and delivered them ashore to the waiting Coastguards at the roadside of the busy A830 along with their craft. Y-Boat reboarded and Lifeboat proceeded back to Mallaig fuelled and ready for service at 16:30hrs.
Wednesday 1st June 2016 Medivac from Isle of Muck
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to convey paramedics to the Isle Of Muck at 14:50 hrs. A woman on a yacht at Muck had fallen whilst disembarking onto the pontoon and landed on her arm and shoulder. First Responders on the island attended to the women who believed that her arm was broken below her shoulder. Arriving at Muck at 15:40 hrs the Lifeboat berthed at the pontoon adjacent to the yacht. The Paramedic attended to the casualty onboard the yacht administering pain relief. As soon as the Medics were ready the casualty was able to walk assisted from the yacht to the Lifeboat, the Lifeboat departed Muck at 15:50 hrs berthing at 16:50hrs in Mallaig. The casualty was transferred to Fort William Belford Hospital for further treatment by the Ambulance crew. Lifeboat ready for service at 17:00 hrs.
Tuesday 7th June 2016 Medivac from Isle of Eigg
Launched to the Isle of Eigg to transfer paramedics to attend to an injured female at 18:30 hrs. A local woman had fallen in her home and had possible dislocated her shoulder or broken her arm. Arriving on scene at 19:30 the Lifeboat was met by local First Responders who had brought the casualty to the slipway. Once the paramedics had carried out their assessments and administered pain-killing drugs the casualty was able to walk assisted and board the Lifeboat. Once back in Mallaig at 20:15 hrs the casualty was conveyed to Belford Hospital in Fort William for further treatment. Lifeboat ready for service at 20:30hrs.
Wednesday 8th June 2016 Medivac from Knoydart
Launched at 22:00 hrs by Stornoway Coastguard to Sandaig in Knoydart. A female had been out walking with friends when she had to negotiate a cattle grid. Mid way across she slipped and her foot went through awkwardly and may have broken her ankle. With her friends assisting she managed back to the shore side cottage where they were staying. Being quite remote the easiest and quickest means of getting her back to the mainland was by Lifeboat. Arriving on scene the Lifeboat launched the Y- boat with two crew and a paramedic onboard proceeded ashore to the casualty's location. Fortunately the tide was high and the crew landed on a small jetty below the casualty location with ease. Once the paramedic had carried out his assessment the casualty was assisted down to the jetty and onboard the Y-boat and transferred to the Lifeboat. Once the other crewman had been retrieved from the shoreline the Y-boat was boarded and the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig berthing at 23:15 hrs. The casualty was transferred to Fort William's Belford Hospital for further treatment by the Medics. Lifeboat ready for service at 23:30hrs.
Thursday 9th June 2016 Medivac from Isle of Rum
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to convey paramedics to Isle of Rum at 18:35 hrs. A young man who was holidaying on Rum had developed abdominal pains. After consulting with Medics on the mainland it was decided that he should receive medical attention as soon as possible at a Hospital. Once alongside the patient was boarded into the care of the Medics onboard and the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig. Berthing at 20:10hrs the patient was conveyed to Fort Williams Belford Hospital for further assessment and treatment. Lifeboat ready for service at 21:20hrs.
Friday 10th June 2016 Fisherman Fallen Overboard
Launched to recover a grounded fishing vessel in the Ardnish Peninsula, Loch Nan Uamh by Stornoway Coastguard at 16:25 hrs. The vessel was reported by a local fisherman to be aground in a bay in the Ardnish Peninsula. On investigating the craft the fisherman found no trace of the skipper, a local man from the Arisaig area. He immediately informed the Coastguard of the vessel's position and that he could not find any trace of the Skipper.
As the Lifeboat proceeded to the scene information was received that the skipper had been located safe and well ashore on the Rhu Penisula 4.5 miles to the west of his craft. Whilst shooting his gear earlier in the day his feet had become tangled in the pot ropes and he was dragged over the side of his vessel about a mile South of the Bellows Reefs in the mouth of Loch Nan Uamh. Fortunately he carried a knife on his person and managed to cut himself free before the gear dragged him under. With his vessel now sailing away without him and with no lifejacket the skipper commenced on a 3 to 4 hour swim towards the Rhu Peninsula in benign calm conditions. Miraculously he made land fall on a small beach where he came across some visitors who contacted the Coastguard that the skipper had made it ashore and seemed none the worse for his ordeal. Local Coastguards met the skipper and took him to his home for a shower and dry clothing.
Meanwhile at Ardnish the Lifeboat located the vessel in a small bay stuck on a shelf resting on her port bilge with the engine still running. The fisherman who located the casualty transferred two crew members onboard the vessel to stop the engine and check for damage. As like her owner she too had escaped any major damage and if she had been another 5 degrees to starboard she would have run up a pebble beach. The fisherman was released from the scene to continue his day and the Lifeboat's own Y-Boat deployed to transfer a tow rope to the vessel. With the tide now flooding it was only a matter of an hour that there was enough water to refloat the casualty with a gentle tug on the towrope. The two crew members in the Y-Boat reboarded the vessel, restarted the engine and with Y-boat in tow and under escort from the Lifeboat proceeded to Arisaig Estuary. Once at the estuary the Lifeboat was met by a local Coastguard along with the skipper in the Arisaig Marina's tender to be reunited with his craft. Once the vessel was handed over to a grateful owner the Lifeboat recovered the Y-Boat and proceeded back to Mallaig berthing at 19:45 hrs to reflect on a truly remarkable day.
Sunday 17th June 2016 Assistance for Yacht "Solwind"
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the assistance of a yacht at Arisaig Harbour at 16:45 hrs. With a stiff Northerly wind blowing in the harbour the yacht Solwind had dragged her anchor and fetched up against a reef at the entrance to Camus an t'Allen Bay. Once on scene the Lifeboat launched the Y-boat and transferred the tow rope across to the Solwind. One of the Y-Boat crew boarded the Solwind to assist the elderly gentleman attach the tow. Once secure the Lifeboat pulled Solwind clear and now Solwind could use her own power to motor onto a mooring at Arisaig Marina. Once on the mooring the Solwind was checked over for any leaks or damage. Fortunately Solwind seemed to have escaped without any damage apart from a scratched bilge. Y-boat reboarded and Lifeboat returned to Mallaig at 19:30 hrs. Fueled and ready for service.
Sunday 26th June 2016 Assistance Given to Kayakers
Called to assist in the rescue of three kayakers who had become stranded on an island, after two had capsized. After arriving at the small island where we were told the casualties were, we circumnavigated the island twice in search of the casualties to no avail. We were given information that they were in fact on another island in the area (poor visibility aided this error of search locus) and the casualties were quickly located and removed from the locus. They were transferred (with their kayaks) to waiting Coastguard personnel on the mainland for further debrief.
Small Isles MPA measures due for consultation in August
The management measures for the Small Isles Marine Protected Area (MPA) will be published for consultation in August, Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has confirmed.
At the meeting at the end of June of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Kate Forbes MSP quizzed Ms Cunningham on MPAs and what the Government will be doing to monitor the impact of the orders on livelihoods in coastal areas.
The Environment Secretary said that proposals for the Small Isles MPA would be published this summer, with a consultation beginning in August and lasting for eight weeks.
It had been announced in February that the order would be delayed to allow for more dialogue on the issue. Covering over 800 km2, the Small Isles MPA envelopes the Sound of Canna and includes the UK's only colony of rare fan mussels. Kate Forbes, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, says "It was good to hear that the Scottish Government will continue thorough socio-economic monitoring, analysing how the fishing industry changes its activities in response to MPAs and also what the impact is on landings as a result."
What does Brexit mean for the Fishing Industry?
The vote on June 23rd that will bring about the United Kingdom leaving the European Union brings interesting problems and opportunities for the fishing industry.
As a result of the Brexit referendum vote the United Kingdom will become a Coastal State and will sit at the top table, in its own right, in the annual debates about the management of access and quota in Norwegian and Faroese waters and the bi-lateral and tri-lateral negotiations associated with these debates. Up until now the interests of the United Kingdom have been dealt with by an EU official and these Scottish and British interests have been watered down amongst the interests of other member states. This has, at times, caused huge problems for the Scottish pelagic and whitefish demersal fleets when it has been considered that their benefits have been marginalised. On the whole, these two sectors of the fleet have felt that Marine Scotland has done its best to help their fishermen but it is not difficult to imagine that you can be up against it if you looking for the best deal you can get in amongst, inter alia, the Germans, the English and the Dutch fleets.
It is also, on the other hand, not difficult to see possible problems for the fleets in the result of the triggering of Article 50. A substantial proportion of fish and shellfish that the United Kingdom catches is exported to the Continent and the obvious question would be how could those markets and indeed will those markets be compromised by the Brexit? At this stage, we do not know, although fishing industry leaders say that it is inconceivable that the European Union will make life for their own citizens so hard that they will have far more restricted access to these markets. Time will tell.
Naturally, the interests of those fishermen working solely in the Minches or in the coastal sector around Scotland will not be affected by issues of offshore stocks like blue whiting or the negotiations on access to Norwegian waters or the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone. There are areas, however, where the inshore fleet has been impacted and will be impacted by the European Union as much as anybody working in the offshore fishing vessels. The landings obligations that is currently in force will gradually force all fishermen to land, except in exceptional circumstances, all quota species that they catch and this is a result of EU legislation. These rules coming from Europe are controversial to say the least but whatever the views of those who are for or against such a regime, the opportunity from the Brexit is that such legislation will no longer be a 'one size fits all' throughout the EU but will be tailor made nationally to suit the interests of local fishermen and stakeholders.
Some fishermen will, however, be worried about the loss of the European grants scheme. Will Scottish Government want to or even be able to match a similar grant scheme once we leave the EU? Worrying times for those who have relied on the benefits of, for example, the scientific work that has emanated from these grant schemes.
Finally, what will happen if the result from another Scottish independence referendum is that Scotland goes back into the EU fold and as a result, the Common Fisheries Policy? Interesting times for Scotland, the United Kingdom and Scottish fishermen!
Tom Bryan-Brown, CEO
Mallaig & North-West Fishermen's Association
ON AND OFF THE RAILS
A. M. T. Union/Abellio ScotRail conductors' strikes
Never since I started writing this column has the title 'On and Off the Rails' been, sadly, more apt! In this fast moving reporting with access online of news regarding the strikes planned for July, I can only prefix the following by suggesting that you always check the details on the ScotRail strike news website, call at any booking office for advice on travelling, or thanks to our 'savvy' Editor, look at the West Word Facebook page. I feed her information as I know it and she translates into helpful advice. In June we had over 3000 views on one post abut strikes plus it was shared nearly twenty times so it is helpful, thanks Ed.
Since last month a series of one-day conductors strikes have taken place, called for by Union (RMT) members. This has led to total non-availability of rail services in this area on ScotRail services. On non-strike days, due to a Union called for ban on overtime by conductors, services cannot run either, as I found out to my cost one night after working (gardening) at Arisaig railway station when no train arrived to get back to Mallaig! Bus and coach replacements are available but sometimes run ahead of time so don't get caught out like I was! On strike days it is totally advisable to check what time your replacement coach/bus will depart and whether you need to be at the roadside instead of the Station - places like Morar, Arisaig, Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Corpach,, etc. Some stations are totally inaccessible to coach/bus service i.e. Rannoch, Corrour. It is a sad situation and holiday lets and restaurants along the line are being badly affected. Caledonian Sleeper services are also affected by rail on strike days but I believe coach replacements are utilised to join up at Edinburgh. The service is affected from Fort William as it is conducted by ScotRail.
Scheduled strikes for July as I write this on July 3rd are as follows: Sunday 3rd; Sunday 10th and Monday 11th, Thursday 14th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th. All 24 hour.
Meanwhile on scheduled strike days the West Coast Jacobite steam train service continues to operate twice daily between Fort William and Mallaig and return, seven days a week. Planned charter services and the Royal Scotsman train will still continue as timetabled on the line.
In the Meantime - Other News Should you be fortunate enough to be able to board a ScotRail train, or visit one at a station, a free copy of the Summer 2016 edition of the National Trust for Scotland 'Scotland in Trust' 72 page magazine is yours for the taking in the on-board magazine racks. Very readable it is too.
Go to www.ScotRail.co.uk/club50 the details of how to join for £15. This then gives you 20% off advance and off-peak rail fares when booking online and 10% off when you book in station or over the phone! I only report the details, please don't shoot the messenger!! I consider that far better value can be obtained by purchasing a Highland Railcard (for the West Highlands). It is postcode dependent - all our area - will cost you £7, valid for a year, no time restriction on travel, and gives you 50% discount on Anytime Single and Return, Off-peak Return and Off-peak Day Return travel by rail in the West Highlands. Two accompanied children under 16 years of age can travel with the card holder at a flat fare of £2 each. To purchase one from Mallaig or Fort William or other manned Booking Offices at railway stations, you will need to take with you two proofs of address, i.e. utility bills and a passport size photograph (for the photocard), obtainable in Mallaig at the Chemists! Or, you can do it online. You must be over 16 years of age. Now when is the next train?!
Friends of the West Highland Lines - West Highland News - plus
The Summer 2016 issue of this excellent colour magazine is now out. This 50 page magazine is available from myself at a cost of £3.50 by post or from Malcolm at Mallaig Heritage Centre over the counter, Contact me on (01687) 462189 for details. It is a bumper addition.
Station Adoption News
The Summer flowering is filling out nicely. Still playing catch-up as plants become weather or rucksack or dog damaged! Hanging baskets at Mallaig are worthy of a round of applause! The hostas are superb, not a slug hole in sight and no pellets used, just coffee grounds!
Interesting Time-lapse Video
As you rail users already know, Glasgow Queen Street High Level has been closed since March, allowing alterations to take place in the tunnel. This will allow electrification of the line between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh, when the new 385 EMUs arrive from Hitachi.
If you go to www.ScotRail.co.uk/queenstreet_tunnel you will see an interesting time-lapse video showing how work is progressing. The extent of massive engineering work taking place is, I think, well worth a look!
Ex-West Coast Railway's Steam Locomotive Driver Dies
On Tuesday June 30th I received the very sad news of the sudden death of Tony (Brasso) Brassington. On leaving his previous employers (EWS), Brasso worked as a Steam Locomotive Driver for West Coast Railways. He was a Crewe Depot Driver, so moving his job to Carnforth Depot Driver was an easy one. Most of his driving was on the Jacobite working with Frank Santrian, Whizzo Williams, Kevin Gould and Peter Kirk, driving the 'Pocket Rocket' 75014, the B1.61264 and various Black Fives. On retirement from WCR he spent his spare time renovating old houses. He was a good DIYer!
As a tribute to him, the morning Jacobite carried a white wreath in his memory. A nice gesture from the current WCR staff. Our condolences go to his family, Joan and Jill in Crewe. He will be sadly missed, especially by all his old work pals. His funeral took place in Crewe on Monday, July 4th. R.I.P. Brasso.
WIDE WORLD WEST WORD
A sporty tour this month!
Joan Smith, Mallaig, and Mike and Sheila Kingswood of Arisaig are reading their West Word in front of The Drongs on a recent paddling trip to Shetland (they didn't paddle all the way there, they took a ferry to Shetland!)
Amy Kane from Arisaig was in Dunbar with Gayle McGeever for the 'Pretty Muddy' Race for Life. Amy thanks everyone who sponsored her to raise money for Cancer Research.
We were taken to the Isle of Man TT races! John and Lorraine Edgar and Winkie MacLeod were visiting Paul Sinclair and Ali Bunn who moved from the area to the Isle of Man a few years ago.
One held back until we could print it in colour! Eilidh Shaw from Morar is reading her copy in front of the champagne fountain in Sydney Opera House last January on a tour with the Poozies.
BIRDWATCH - June 2016 by Stephen MacDonald
Another mostly dry month and fairly typical bird-wise, with lots of newly fledged young reported.
On the 3rd a recently fledged Tawny Owl was seen in a small hawthorn bush close to a known nest site in Arisaig. It afforded close views and photographic opportunities to those who saw it.
On the 6th a pair of Canada Geese with four small Goslings were seen on the shore of Loch nan Ceall between Camus an t'Allen and Millburn. Although they are seen fairly regularly around here now, this is the first confirmed breeding in the local area.
On the 14th there were several broods of good sized Lapwing chicks and Redshanks at Invercaimbe, indicating a successful breeding season for them. Seems to be mixed fortunes for some of the seabirds locally. 'Green Island', near Sandaig, Loch Nevis, had good numbers of Herring and Great Black-backed Gull nests with large chicks. There were at least 19 Shags nesting, most had well-grown chicks. No sign of any Arctic or Common Terns nesting there this year.
Lapwing chicks about to be ringed Invercaimbe
However, one of the islands off Traigh had no nesting gulls or terns at all, yet last year over 100 Gull chicks were ringed there, plus there were also nesting Common Terns and Oystercatchers. Last year there was evidence of Mink predation on the island, so the Gulls and Terns may have moved elsewhere. The Kittiwakes did not attempt to nest on the outer breakwater at Mallaig harbour at all this year. Last year the young chicks were predated, possibly Mink again.
On Loch nan Eala, there were several broods of Mallard and Teal seen. On the 16th a Wigeon was seen with fur small Ducklings, and on the 27th a pair of Little Grebes were seen with two small chicks. The Mandarin Duck was seen on several occasions during the month, mainly on the canal, Arisaig.
Two Common Swifts were seen over Rhubana early on the 10th and an Arctic Skua was seen in the Sound of Sleat on the 16th.
On the 28th a flock of 9 - 10 Turnstones were seen flying South, two miles off Arisaig, from the MV Sheerwater. On the same day, a single Black-tailed Godwit was seen by Traigh golf course. These birds were probably failed or non-breeders returning early.
Auntie Mary's Creepy Crawly Corner
Craig wants to know how spiders and ticks breathe.
The information is gleaned from the three reference books listed, with a couple of thoughts added.
Spiders and Ticks are Arachnids, the class of Arthropods which tend to have 8 walking legs and two body sections. This compares with the Arthropod class of Insects which have 6 legs as adults and the body in three parts : head, thorax and abdomen.
Spiders form the Arachnid order named Aranaea. The body of a spider is divided in two : the prosoma where the mouth, eyes and brain are located and the 8 legs are attached; and the opisthosoma at the rear which contains organs such as those for breathing, spinning silk, digesting and excreting. Ticks belong to the Arachnid order called Acarina and have no clearly defined prosoma and opisthosoma as the dorsal (back or upper) surface is fused.
Spiders breathe using 'book lungs' and / or tracheae (a system of tubes). Book lungs are so-called because the thin layers of tissue are arranged like pages of a book enclosed in a box, with space between each 'page' to maximise the surface area for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Some spiders have two or four 'book lung' cavities, one or two on each side of the opisthosoma. Each cavity is connected to the outside air by a short tube the end of which is on the opisthosomal surface and is called a spiracle. For those spiders which have tracheae these are a series of tubes which subdivide in amongst the body organs to allow gas exchange with the blood. The tracheae connect to the outside air at openings also called spiracles which are located behind each of the walking legs. 'Book-lungs' are not as efficient as having a tracheal system, so if you are being chased by a House Spider like the Tegenaria gigantea in my photo, apparently it is likely to cease running after about 30 seconds!
Ticks breathe through a system of branching tracheae with spiracle openings on the body surface. Sometimes putting a blob of grease, such as cooking oil or Vaseline, on a tick can be enough to block its spiracles such that it cannot breathe and drops off in a couple of minutes or less.
Dr M Elliott
P.A.Meglitsch 1972 Invertebrate Zoology 2nd Edition. M.S.Laverack & J Dando 1974 Lecture Notes on Invertebrate Zoology.
Dick Jones 1983 Guide to Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe.
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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