Monday, 18 October 2010


Well after Whalsay and Lunna, surely that was enough for one day... I was looking forward to a possible trip to Noss the next day, but the day had more in store for me!!!

I headed out to the west again and had a lovely drive to Walls, by Burrastow House and then round to Skeld.

Took a detour to Westerwick - amazing cliffs and stacks, unexpectedly impressive.

The view just kept getting better....

It started raining though, so after a while I headed off in the hopes that I would reach the campsite and get my tent up before rain really came - if it was going to come to anything and not just go off that is.

The campsite at Skeld was a little unexpected - it's surrounded by a white picket fence! Does mean there won't be a view from the tent - but the wee building with the toilets, etc is great and has a deck with a picnic table. It's a community owned site, and they've made a lovely job of it. Most expensive campsite I've stayed in - a whole£8! Very very clean and well stocked - a wee kitchen with crockery, cutlery, microwave and kettle, clean toilets and showers (2 of each but the bigger shower room has another toilet in it too, good for a family as plenty room to shower the kids. Showers also more expensive here (£1) but get 11 mins of hot water for that! Also a folding table and chairs in the building, and a laundry with washer, dryer (£2 each if I remember right), an iron and ironing table, and a hairdryer - oh, and a library! Also lots of leaflets about the area. And outside the decking with the picnic table, and more picnic tables on the site (if I'm remembering right). It's right next to a lovely wee marina - and along at the end is a wildlife hide, apparently a good place for otter spotting......

I pitched my tent (it stayed dry!) and cooked tea - beans on bread :-) easy and quick as I was starving by then. By then it was 8.30pm so got myself organised for the night - sleeping mat and sleeping bag unrolled -  then packed my wee rucksack with waterproofs, midge jacket (the midges at the tent are bad), cameras, lenses and spare batteries, book, wine and trusty red plastic cup, put on all 3 fleeces and headed off for the wildlife hide.

Couldn't believe it - the otter was there straight away. It's apparently a resident dog otter and does have occasional females coming in from time to time.

first view ... the bubbles...

It stayed in near shore, but was quite hard to see as ther's a wooden fence and it was behind it and too close in to see from the hide at first. Then it came down towards the hide!! Exciting or what!!!! It was about 5m away at its nearest, was getting fairly dark but still got a good few photos. It heard the shutter and looked straight up at the hide! It then swam about fishing for a while, just a little offshore. Then a wee fishing boat came in to the marina, the wake washed up and the otter headed out further. Watched it gradually get further and furether away until I lost it - about 9.15pm by then. It was a beautiful still night with a very calm sea. Lots of midges though! Got bitten while watching the otter - including on my eye! The midges seemed to ease after that as a little breeze sprung up so I stayed in the hide, drinking wine and reading a book, until 10pm, looking up and scanning the sea every 30 secs, but the otter didn't reappear.

What a day!

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