Snow Capped Paps


I had to share this photograph with you. I thought the snow-capped Paps of Jura looked amazing. Aren’t I a lucky Girl?


The Peninsula


The Kintyre Peninsula is in a very unique position geographically.

From my bedroom window I look out onto the Atlantic Ocean with the Inner Hebrides just a few miles away. I can stand on the beach and look out at Islay, Jura and Gigha. The hills on Jura, known as the Paps of Jura, are currently snowcapped and stand out beautifully against the blues of ocean and sky.

Walk a mile down the road in a southerly direction and, on a clear day, I can see Northern Ireland.

Travel six miles east across to the other side of the peninsula and Campbeltown where beautiful Davaar Island sits in Campbeltown Loch. Continue to look east and there is Ailsa Craig, floating like a giant pebble on the Firth of Clyde. Beyond that is the Ayrshire coast.

Head up the Carradale road and to your right is Aran where houses are clearly visible. Just now the mountains are glorious. Yesterday we drove to Peninver and spent ages just gazing out at Aran from the beautiful beach. Travel a little further north and you feel like you could almost reach out and touch “Scotland in miniature”

So next time you wonder why I moved over three hundred miles to Machrihanish, remember these photos and how beautiful my home is.

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Living so close to the sea you’d think that most of the visitors to my garden would be seabirds, but we are lucky enough to have a wide variety of wildlife coming in. Since today is the RSPB Big Bird Count, I thought I’d share with you some of the birds I regularly see at the feeders which hang from the rowan tree in the garden.

web-18Today’s count is as follows:

  • House Sparrows: 30+ (I lost count but we have so many of these wee birds)
  • Starlings: 5
  • Dunnets: 4
  • Chaffinch: 5
  • Robin: 1
  • Jackdaw: 6
  • Great Tit: 1
  • Blue Tit: 1

How lucky am I? I can look out the kitchen window and see all these birds every day. There is one wee leuconic House Sparrow which has gained quite a bit of colour since I first spotted him as a juvenile during the summer. He’s still a lot paler than the rest, but some of the tell-tale markings are there.

And, as if this wasn’t enough, there is a Wild Bird Sanctuary a mile of so along the road from me – easy walking distance if you are half-way fit. In the hide there I saw Greenfinches and Goldfinch as well as several types of gull. An amazing place to visit.

If you have an interest in birds and wildlife, I couldn’t recommend living in Machrihanish more highly.

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The ocean around here is perfect for surfers. The waves are incredible and many weekends see groups of wet-suited young people having fun in the sea.

Glasgow University surf club often hires the village hall and makes a weekend of it. And you know, you’d never know they were here! I have been surprised at how quiet and respectful they are of the village and they leave the hall – and the beautiful beach – exactly as they find it.

Some weekends I’ve seen surf lessons on the main beach and wished I were younger, fitter (and able to swim) so I could join them. It looks like such fabulous fun!

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One of the things I have loved most about living here is the quality of the sunsets. All summer long George and I would wander down to the beach to watch the sun sink beneath the horizon. The sky was never the same any two evenings. One night we’d be treated to a range of purples and pinks and indigos; the next it would be oranges and golds and reds.

The reflections on the ocean were mesmerising. On more than one occasion I walked down with my camera, sat on the rocks and just waited, watching. Time stops at the ocean. I can hear the waves and observe the sky flirting with the setting sun, but I could be there at any time in history. It’s only when I turn my back on the sea and walk back to the road that the 21st century returns to me.

I hope you’ll enjoy some of the sunsets I’ve shared here.

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