Hello from the snow-free Ross of Mull! While much of the mainland was buried under snow drifts, here we saw hardly a snowflake apart from on the hills, although it was very cold and dry in that harsh east wind. Spray from Burg’s waterfalls froze solid on the cliffs, and in Bunessan even the beach was frozen at low tide!
We haven’t escaped winter storm damage though. Unfortunately part of the walkway into Fingal’s Cave on Staffa has been washed away. Wave erosion formed the island’s famous caves and is an ongoing process, as water pressure acts on the cracks between the basalt columns. This means that there is currently no access to Fingal’s cave on foot, although it can still be viewed from a boat. We have a team of specialist engineers working on a solution, and meanwhile the rest of the island including the puffin colony remains accessible.
Other winter tasks include regular checks on our visitor counters and infrastructure such as the ladder at Burg. It means carrying a laptop to some out-of-the-way places, but a good reason for a walk on a bright winter day. Thanks to Terry Ward for the photos.
Now that birdsong and catkins are giving hints of spring, afterschool nature clubs have restarted. This term involves activities related to forests, investigating trees and the wildlife that lives amongst them. Last week we made some woolly flowers for an installation at Tiroran Community Forest later this month. (It was also World Book Day which explains the costumes and face paint!) Well done to Monica Haddock for organising this. If it goes well we may consider a full Woollen Woods experience for gala fortnight, asking folk to make all sorts of woodland plants and creatures for display. Meanwhile, come along and picnic amongst the woollen meadow on Saturday 24th March!
There’s still time to apply for our summer volunteer assistant ranger position, as the closing date is Wednesday 14th March at 9am. See previous blog post for details.