All the birds

 

As promised this post is all about mine and my boyfriends trip to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles.

Summer work rotas have worked out rather unfortunately for us as I work allllll weekend plus overtime in the weeks and he works the normal Monday to Friday. Evenings are long and sunny so we have been making the most of them but there is nothing like a good few days off to really enjoy each others company. This week, being the star he is, the boy managed to wrangle working some weekends to get a few days off in the week to match mine. And my god did we make the most of it.

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We both finished work on tuesday, ran home to grab our bags and immediately set off on the adventure. We drove out of Oban, across the Corran Ferry and all the way to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse. The whole journey was probably around 3 hours in total, and is one of the most beautiful drives I have had the pleasure to snooze through.

 

We have always loved a good road trip but until recently they were plagued with the issue that we both have wildly different tastes in music (mine is good, his isn’t). Now everyone knows a road trip is nothing with a good sing-a-long but we have finally managed to come to a compromise that we both enjoy: podcasts. Our taste in music might be different but our taste in podcasts has so far matched perfectly, leaving the house is now a routine of ‘keys, wallet, podcasts’.

The sun was setting as we reached our destination and the ocean was still, making it the perfect night for some whale watching. We did this whilst eating hummus wraps and watching the sun go down before settling in for the warmest night of camping in my life.

Wednesday morning was an early start due to the early sunrise blasting through, but through the bleary eyes we were grateful of the wake up call. It meant we could get up,  get breakfast made, eaten and the car packed away before heading off for the boat!

The trip consisted of a 1 hour stop to Staffa and Finglas Cave followed by a 2 hour trip to the Treshnish isle of Lunga. Th initial boat ride was about an hour long, the weather was as beautiful as it has been for weeks now and we were thoroughly enjoying the ride. As we left the Ardnamurchan peninsula behind us, and travelling alongside Mull it wasn’t long before we started to see some ocean life. Cormorants, Shags and Guillemots became more frequent in the surrounding waters and we even spotted a lone Harbour Porpoise. Suddenly everything went quiet as we realised the engine had been turned off and then we saw them, a huge pod of Bottlenose Dolphins! The tour guides allowed plenty of time for us to watch them playing and even drove the boat around in circles, joining in and encouraging the pod’s games.

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Not long after this delightful encounter we arrived at Staffa. A pretty little island with a number of puffins on the surrounding waters. We headed straight to the top to look at the views and spent some time on our bellies, peering over the edge and in to the cave. If you don’t know, Staffa is a volcanic island made up of the same basalt columns as the giants causeway in Ireland.

It was only 15 minutes boat trip over to our main destination of Lunga. We hopped off the boat and were told to follow the white arrow up to the top of the hill where we would find the puffin burrows. I must admit here that despite being told this, I was still  surprised to reach the large grassy hill side and just see hundreds of wee puffins going about their business.

Next stop was Harp Rock. By this point we were starting to get hungry so were trotting along ready to sit down for lunch when we got our next big surprise. The noise coming off this colony was unreal!! There were thousands of seabirds!!! Guillemots, Shags, Kittiwakes, Puffins and Razorbills. All nesting and co-living on the side of this rock. We go out lunch out and sat just watching them, scanning the rock. Every now and again through the mass of shiny black feathers, there would be a small ball of grey fluff being sheltered from the sun and fed a mouthful of sandeels.

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Getting close

The remainder of our visit was spent taking in being surrounded by these incredible birds, watching them fly in from out of view; returning to the cliff face and wandering around til they found their families. But in the end we had to leave, the sun was shining and I may have had a nap on the boat ride back to the mainland.. and then again on the drive back to Oban…

This trip was long overdue for us, but in the end it was the absolute perfect day to do it! We got in and fell straight asleep, happily exhausted from the sea air and sun. The next day we had a lie in and then went for lunch at our favourite (only) vegan restaurant in town. The weather was beautiful so we went with a couple of friends to the small island of Easdale. This is a spot we visit often, and is one of the first places to take any family or visitors when they come to Oban. We jumped off the quarry cliffs, swam in the crystal waters then came home for a curry, early night and ready to start work again the next day.

Perfect? I think so

x

 

 

 

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