Posts tagged with scotland
The Scotland collection is blowing in Southeasterly, veering westerly or
northwesterly around November 2012 increasing to December perhaps,
gale 8 for a time in northeast.
The Scotland collection - silk and wool scarves inspired by Scottish nature, craft, and Ermantrude’s Travels will be online from November 2012.
As the Autumn begins to move in, Charlie and I are heading South to London to concentrate on some much overdue papers. Our time in Scotland has been truly wonderful, what a brilliant and ancient land!
We arrive back at Aunt Castafiore’s home in Cove and spot a bright and beautiful Tiger moth on the damp path. Moths are often out shined by their relatives the butterfly but this one proves they can be just as striking.
As we leave the beautiful Outer Hebrides by plane and return to the mainland a passing White-tailed Sea Eagle shows us its catch. These magnificent birds of prey were re-introduced to the Scottish coast and now their numbers are healthy. Sighting are frequent in the Hebrides and their huge wing span of 1.78–2.45 metres makes them easy to spot in the blue open skies.
The island of Mingulay is a wildlife haven and resembles something from a dream. Teeming with seabirds, marine life and wildflowers, an island without human interference can lead to a very rich ecosystem. Here stands the abandoned chapel house in the village, of which the residents evacuated in 1912, after the population shrank due to hard ships and tragedy. Abandoned buildings are a familiar sight across the Hebrides and the Highlands mainly due to the clearances of the 18th and 19th Century.
We arrive on Mingulay and scramble up the cliffs passing a busy puffin colony on our way. One stops to greet us with its mouth stuffed full of its supper of choice the sandeel. Its bright beak - so colourful in the breeding season, has a unique hinging mechanism which allows it to hold several fish in its mouth at any one time.
The Puffin is still a delicacy in places such as Iceland and the Faroe Islands as it once was in Scotland before protection laws came into place. The puffin and its eggs were a rich source of food for the people who lived on these remote Islands, and were caught by men abseiling the cliffs with horse hair ropes. They would lay puffin gins in which to snare the poor birds so they were ready to be collected when the men returned.
On our way to the deserted Island of Mingulay, we come across a small school of three Basking Sharks. These huge, prehistoric looking fish move slowly through the water, filtering plankton and small crustaceans through their gill rakers. Despite their appearance they are non-aggressive and harmless to humans. Their conservation status is listed as vulnerable due to their over exploitation for food, shark fin, animal feed and shark liver oil.
In Scotland however, they are now protected and thrive in the coastal waters during the summer around the West coast.
Charlie and I decide to recreate the cover of the The Black Island from Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin. Rumour has it that Hergé based the fictional ‘Ben More Castle’ on Kisimul Castle - a building which sits on an island in Castlebay harbour on the Isle of Barra. The fictional ‘Black Island’ and its castle is home to a monstrous creature which is under control of some villains - hopefully today we shall only find the odd seabird!
Kisimul was the stonghold of the MacNeils and was built in the early 15th Century.
The Eriskay Pony can be linked as far back as the Picts, a group of early celtic people living in Scotland until around 1000AD. Pictish stones which illustrate celtic symbols such as Double discs, Z rods, combs and mirrors also heavily feature horses and ponies. These ponies would have been native to the land and studies suggest the Eriskay pony would be closely related to this early domesticated horse. The simplicity of these stones and the scenes they depict are a joy to be seen.
This evening as the sun is setting, I meet a boy and his young Eriskay Pony carrying freshly cut peats back to his croft. These rare and beautiful ponies are native to Eriskay and are descended from the native ponies that were once found all over Scotland. Great efforts have been taken to preserve this gentle animal and to keep its offspring pure breed.
Being strong, hardy and cheap to keep these ponies have been used by the islanders for centuries to transport the likes of seaweed, peat, hay and people.