Crossing Loch Scavaig
After our lazy day exploring Glen Sligachan we decided it was time to do something a little more adventurous. Rising early, we caught the bus to Elgol, then took a trip on the Bella Jane across Loch Scavaig. This mini wildlife voyage would take us to Loch Curuisk, deep into the heart of the Cuillins. As you can see the weather this day was most atmospheric, and swirling cloud lent the black mountains a sombre grandeur.
If you ever go to Skye I can recommend this boat trip; though the one way journey that we took is only 45 minutes, you get to see a wonderful array of wildlife as well as listen to a genuinely entertaining and informative guide. Gannets glided around us, and Atlantic terns swooped and squabbled. Razorbills and guillemots floated in little rafts close by, but I am sorry to say my camera wasn’t up to capturing them. The water was dead calm, and I had high hopes of spotting dolphins or a basking shark, but these charismatic animals eluded us. Still, with mountains like these looming up to surround you, you don’t lack for things to feast your eyes upon.
I tried to photograph the mountains as we pulled closer to the shore, I really did. Sadly, the several thousand vertical feet of jagged black spires marching into the distance on every side refused to be crammed into the confined space that is my viewfinder, so I had to just goggle at them open mouthed instead. Our guide claimed that it is the most dramatic natural harbour in the British Isles, and I could only nod dumbly.
Close to the landing stage are two tiny islands, which give basking space to a small group of common seals. Fairly rare on British coasts and normally shy, they have learned not to fear man in this secluded spot. I’ve seen atlantic grey seals before but not common seals, so this felt like a privilege.
There were pregnant females, ready to pup, and last years young ones among them too.
It’s a lousy picture, but I was so excited at seeing these Common Eider I had to share them. These are the ducks from which Eider down is obtained. Like the seals they are normally very shy, but these mollusk eating sea ducks know that they are safe and unmolested here.
Although the journey had been a short one, it felt as if we had been plied with riches from beginning to end. Had we chosen to explore the loch and go back the way we came, hot drinks and a small picnic would have been served to us – luxury on such a little boat! As it was, our friendly skipper and guide saw us off with juice and shortbread to help us on our way, as we set off through the hills on our way back to Glen Sligachan.