A winter’s night

We have had a few days of colder weather with temperatures dropping to freezing at night every now and then – just as a winters night temperature should!  One morning last week it was too icy for us to get Daughter to the school bus at Calgary, as the road is not usually gritted between our turning and Calgary.  It was quite nice to have a stay at home Snow Day – it has been a while since the last one!

aurora mull night

For all the drier colder weather we have still had quite cloudy skies, but yesterday we had glorious sunshine, and Farmer had some errands to run, so I went too.  He dropped the livestock trailer off at Torloisk Farm, and then we went to Ballygown on another errand which involved a cup of tea and catch up with Jeanette, and booking ourselves in for her Burns supper on Saturday night.

aurora mull night bright moon

The weather forecast was for cloud so I didn’t hold out much hope of seeing the Aurora which was forecast, but actually I was really lucky.  It might have been bitterly cold but as the wind got up a bit the skies cleared.. to reveal a great sky, even though the moon was very bright.  The top left hand corner of the photograph above shows a green blob, I have never seen a detached ‘blob’ like that in an aurora before!

Aurora moonlight night Mull

I even got as far as Croig, my very favourite aurora photographing place!  I stood listening to the jurassic sound of the Herons, and the wonderful call of the Oystercatchers and to the sound of the wind in the trees.

Croig night aurora Mull

Eventually I got too cold and headed for home again.  The Merrie Dancers were still dancing, but I couldn’t stay up any longer, so I set the time-lapse and went to bed enjoying the visual memory of a winter’s night to remember.

aurora winters night camera mull

Airglow

Last night I caught a glimpse of an Airglow.  They are more rare than the Aurora Borealis!  An Airglow is ‘a faint emission of light from a planetary atmosphere’. It softly lights up the sky. I have only knowingly seen it a couple of times. Last night was apparently a very strong one, but unfortunately it was cloudy here when the airglow was at its peak. I discovered today that if I had looked in to the eastern and southern skies I could have seen it, but I only looked north.  As the cloud cleared, I was able to capture the Aurora on camera so I cannot complain!

Mull Treshnish Airglow

The first unusual sight I had was of the light underneath the thick cloud, showing that the sky behind was being lit up. The streak of green between Coll and the cloud was unusual too.  As I stood willing the clouds to clear, I listened to owls calling from the wood, and the waves on the shore.

Airglow Treshnish Muull

The cloud began to clear, and the drifts of Airglow were faintly visible.

Treshnish Mull airglow

There was some colour briefly and then it faded. I left the time-lapse running overnight, and captured a bit of airglow between the dark night clouds.

timelapse airglow treshnish mull

We were fully booked for New Year and all but one of our guests have gone, and I assume, like us, are back at work. We stole a few nights away after Hogmanay – one night with relatives in Galashiels and 2 nights with friends in Edinburgh. We rented an Airbnb listed flat in the New Town which was spacious and well located, within easy walking distance of a lovely ethical cafe called Urban Angel, sourcing local and fairtrade produce not to mention delicious smoothies and amazing coffees. We went to see a film (The Danish Girl). The screen was so much bigger than the Screen Machine, which is visiting Mull again next week.

We visited 2 galleries, one was the Fruitmarket – I particularly liked Robert Irwin’s Disc and a beautiful 16mm film by Tacit Dean, of sea and lighthouse. (I am not sure what it is called).  The second gallery we went to was the Scottish Portrait Gallery – to see the BP Portrait Award exhibition – which we all really enjoyed. A bonus was seeing the Document Scotland exhibition. A group of photographs documenting aspects of Scotland – I would have loved to have done one of their projects!

It is good to be home though..

 

A Hogmanay Aurora!

We had friends staying with us for Hogmanay and had a great evening catching up and celebrating the end of the old year and the start of the new year. I couldn’t believe my eyes, at about 10pm, when I looked outside and saw a lovely familiar glow on the horizon looking north. The Aurora! What a special way to see in the new year!

Aurora Hogmanay Treshnish Mull

I set a time-lapse to record the activity whilst we sat by the fire, and after the bells – HAPPY NEW YEAR – and a bit of Jools Holland, everyone went to bed, and I stood at the window listening to the wind in the trees, and watching the clouds scudding by. My idea of heaven!

Hogmanay aurora

The cottages are full for New Year, and thankfully Storm Frank enabled everyone to get here – with a few detours due to cancelled ferries and landslides. Guests in Toechtamhor sat at the bench outside the cottage watching the Aurora, very happy!

Hogmanay Mull Aurora

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2016.

My review of 2015

A time to review the year, as Hogmanay approaches – letting go of 2015 and welcoming in the new year 2016. I feel as if I have only just got used to writing the year 2015 rather than 2014, and yet here we are at the end of another year! I had hoped to have done a well thought pictorial review of the year, but there just hasn’t been time!

We have had a busy year – which is great – thank you to all of those who have supported us this year. We have enjoyed meeting many new faces who are as welcome as the familiar ones who return time and time again like the swallows and the cuckoos. Some of our regulars have been coming to stay here for 35+ years or more, longer than the 21 years we have been here – and when we make any changes in the cottages we almost feel we should ask them first!

We managed to squeeze in a few changes to the cottages last winter, and just before Christmas this winter, we did some improvements in West Cottage, including a very smart new shower, and masses of additional insulation, so it should be even better at saving energy now. Our Green Tourism ethos is always encouraging us to save energy, and this year has been the year of the LED lighting! We fitted LED tube lights in the office which should make a huge saving – from 35W – 5W on each tube.. They seem so much brighter too!

review local beach Treshnish

The weather this year has been interesting at times! Some wonderful spells of clear and dry weather, and some seemingly endless spells of wet and windy weather. Last night we had Storm Frank, which gave us a power cut for a few hours, and a lot of rain. The fields seem like a giant puddle. We have been extremely lucky compared to the terrible flooding in some parts of Scotland and the UK.

Review lambing Treshnish

Lambing seems like a long time ago now, but it is always a positive time of year, when the days are getting longer and warmer. Farmer is always relieved when the middle of May comes and most of the ewes have lambed. The wild flowers this year also seem a long way behind us now. But with the cold spring, we had a mixed year with some flowers coming very late and others bang on time. Orchids tended to be late, but the Heath spotted and Common spotted seemed to LOVE the weather, and flowered abundantly, as did the Common Twayblade, which we found flowering in places we have never found them before. What a delight!

Review Grass of Parnassus

Grass of Parnassus also enjoyed the summer and flowered well and late into the autumn. It was wonderful to come across glades of them in damper parts of the fields.

Review Mull cows Coronation meadow

Sadly, in my Review of the year, I have to mention the cows. They were sold in October. The place does seem empty without them, but we had Jamie’s heifers here until a few weeks ago, and next summer we are hoping to have other cattle grazing so that the management we do to encourage biodiversity will be maintained. That is really important to us.

Review Aurora Treshnish March

I suppose I couldn’t review the year without mentioning the Aurora Borealis! It has been a good year! I think the night of 17th March was probably the most memorable (ever), and I wish I had tried out time-lapse that night, as it would have been spectacular to have recorded the hours of aurora that night..

All in all, it has been a good year. We are so lucky to live on this beautiful island, and to be share Treshnish with all of you. We look forward to welcoming many of you here again in 2016.

WE WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY NEW YEAR AHEAD!

Christmas full moon

The Christmas full moon made several magical appearances through the clouds over Christmas. I had a lovely walk in moonlight in the early hours of Christmas Day, whilst everyone else in the house was fast asleep, and I was still awake having finished the wrapping a little late! It was very windy but wonderful to see the white of the waves crashing along the shoreline below the house and over on Calgary headland. I couldn’t get the tripod to stop vibrating in the wind.

Treshnish Mull Christmas moon

Last Christmas, over several days, we were lucky enough to have an aurora. This year, we were blessed with the Christmas Full moon instead! The last time the full moon and Christmas coincided was 38 years ago. I would have been at home in Angus for Christmas 38 years ago, but I don’t remember! The next time it occurs will be in 2034!

Treshnish Mull cottages winter moon

Christmas Day dawned cloudy and I wasn’t confident that we would even see the moon again. However just before midnight on Christmas night, we were lucky – the full moon appeared through the clouds. It was very clear. We stood and gazed in wonder on the doorstep. Not long after, in the first minutes of Boxing Day, the Christmas full moon produced a wonderful lunar halo. Even more magical!

Christmas moon Treshnish Mull cottages

On Boxing Day evening the moon was strong again, and the light on the field and over to Calgary headland was bright. I am afraid I was more ready for bed, than for wandering around outside, so I set the time-lapse and let it run! The result was rather beautiful, as the weather can be seen coming in and going away again, as it does during the day but we rarely see it at night! I have posted it here on Youtube, in order to save the loading speed of our website. Please do have a look!

Mull Treshnish Christmas cottages sunset