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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Outer Hebrides. Stuck there due to ferry break down.

I'm stuck on North Uist. The ferry from Lochmaddy to Uig has broken down and they are not sure when it will be fixed. So, an afternoon in a museum and café (hence the Wifi) and a night in a manger. Going to be comfortable. It's either that or the tent as all accommodation is taken by the stranded passengers. If the ferry isn't fixed by the morning then it will mean a cycle to Tarbet on harris to get across to Skye. This is all to cycle from uig to the mainland to see a ...very small island that is an RSPB reserve. then it's about face and cycle back to Uig to get to Harris.
Anyway, the last few days have seen me go from Oban to the Outer hebs via Lochboisdale.
The ferry two days ago had lots of great skuas over the sea but I missed the dolphins next to the boat as I was playing cards with a fabulous family from Doncaster.
I did manage to see a minke whale though! My first one.

Yesterday a short-eared owl flew past me as I cycled just before Benbecula and so became bird number 246 on the list. Just before seeing that thrilling bird a female merlin had flown close by.

 I camped at Balranald after birding with a lovely Dutch couple, Els and Rik, in the early evening.
Just before rain curtailed my seawatch a female hen harrier came close loking for oystercatcher chicks.

 The rain lasted fifteen hours and only stopped briefly as I got quite wet as I cycled to Lochmaddy. It stopped long enough for a peregrine to pass by and another female hen harrier was seen almost in the village itself.
After visiting a superb small museum dedicated to the World war One exploits of the islanders, I met a Lincolnshire nature reserve warden and a pale phase arctic skua flew overhead.
OK, hot chocolate to warm me up before my cattle shed night.

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