The weather continued to get brighter and colder, and suddenly the world was full of colour again, and the light was so bright that Algy’s eyes could hardly adjust to it after months of gloomy grey half-light. He set off into the sunshine, and flew over to a high point on the north coast, where he found a fine spot to sunbathe which was sheltered from the bitter north-east wind. The sea had turned deep blue, and he could see for miles in every direction. It was a truly glorious late-winter afternoon!

This is a wee bit closer to Algy’s experience on the headland rocks yesterday, although it doesn’t quite convey what it’s actually like to be there. In reality, the noise of the sea was much louder, crashing and booming on the rocks all around, and the noise of the wind was relatively insignificant (except to a built-in camera mic!).

Posted especially for all Algy’s friends who love the sea but don’t get to visit it very often 🙂

[Hand-held video recording with camera shake and plenty of wind noise to add authenticity 🙂 Algy’s assistants couldn’t manage to get the tripod to this remote location, which requires a steep descent (and subsequent ascent) at a remote spot on the headland – unless of course you are a fluffy bird and can fly there…]

p.s. Anyone know how to provide an adequate wind shield for a built-in mic on a still image digital camera?

After a very wet start, Sunday turned into a beautiful early autumn
day, at least for a while. So Algy flew out to the end of the headland,
and spent a very happy afternoon watching the breakers surge in over the
rocks on an unusually high tide.

Algy hopes that you have all been enjoying a happy Sunday afternoon too xoxo

The weather had taken a most peculiar turn, bringing pale, drifting mists that hovered around the islands and floated in and out from the sea across the land all day. Algy flew up to a rocky perch to admire the view, and noticed that everything seemed strangely flat in the diffuse light. There wasn’t the slightest sign of green on the peat bogs or moorland yet, but there was a definite change in the air, and Algy knew that the West Highland spring had arrived.

The first day of February brought a welcome and long overdue change in the weather. The gales had finally blown so fiercely from the north that they had chased most of the clouds away. The arctic wind was still bitter, and the shadows were long and cold, but at last the land was bathed in light and colour again.

The winds had also brought a wonderful new friend to stay with Algy. A little black teddy with a fluffy middle, sent by Algy’s lovely friend snirg-fundstuecke, had travelled all the way from Germany in order to see the world. So when the sun came out, Algy lost no time in showing his new friend some of the beautiful views around his home.

Algy hopes that the new month will bring some sunshine to you all, and perhaps even a lovely new friend :)) xoxo

It took a wee while for Algy to recover from the incredibly fluffy excitement of his surprisingly fluffy party, but when he finally woke up he felt in need of some wide open space and fresh air…

So he flew over to a point on the peat bogs with a fine view of the Isle of Rum, and was rewarded with his first rainbow of the new year… not to mention rather more air than he had bargained for!

Algy was feeling battered and exhausted by the recent “weather bomb”, although his spirits were improving now that the storms had passed for the time being. As he leaned back on the rocks in the bitter wind, gazing at the snow-capped peaks of the Isle of Rum in the distance, he thought of all his friends around the world…

Algy misses all your lovely images on Tumblr, and wishes very much that he could keep in touch with you all again… But alas, like many other households in this storm-struck area, Algy’s assistant’s house still has no internet or phone connection, and his assistant can only visit the virtual world very briefly each day, at a friend’s house…

So in the meantime Algy sends you all lots of extra fluffy hugs, and hopes you are keeping warm and happy xoxo

p.s. It seems that not all Tumblr messages are getting through. If you have sent a message to Algy and not received a reply, please try the email link on Algy’s menu icons instead.

Looking towards the north, there was an unusually clear view of the islands. As Algy leaned back in the heather, he could see the famous ridges of The Cuillin of the Isle of Skye standing out against the sky in the far distance. To the left, the Isles of Eigg and Rum seemed larger and closer than usual, with the Sea of the Hebrides surrounding them with the deep blue of a fine autumn day. Algy couldn’t help humming the well-known “traditional” Scottish song he had learned as a wee chick, many years before he came to know the places it described:

          A far croonin’ is pullin’ me away
          As take I wi’ my cromach to the road.
          The far Cuillins are puttin’ love on me,
          As step I wi’ the sunlight for my load.

          Chorus:
          Sure, by Tummel and Loch Rannoch
          And Lochaber I will go,
          By heather tracks wi’ heaven in their wiles;
          If it’s thinkin’ in your inner heart
          Braggart’s in my step,
          You’ve never smelt the tangle o’ the Isles.
          Oh, the far Cuillins are puttin’ love on me,
          As step I wi’ my cromach to the Isles.

          It’s by ‘Sheil water the track is to the west,
          By Ailort and by Morar to the sea,
          The cool cresses I am thinkin’ o’ for pluck,
          And bracken for a wink on Mother’s knee.

          It’s the blue Islands are pullin’ me away,
          Their laughter puts the leap upon the lame,
          The blue Islands from the Skerries to the Lews,
          Wi’ heather honey taste upon each name.

If you don’t know the song The Road to the Isles, listen to this fine recording by Canon Sydney MacEwan of Glasgow (ignore the introduction), or this one from the earliest archives by the famous Sir Harry Lauder, recorded in 1926.

This same lighthearted song was also played by the famous WWII piper Bill Millin on Sword Beach on D-Day, whose task it was to maintain the morale of troops under heavy fire during the Normandy landings: Piper, give us a tune…

Algy found a sunny perch on a rocky outcrop which was covered in a wide variety of lichens and mosses, and leaned back against the dry heather. On the horizon, the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides were floating on a calm sea of silvery blue. Such a beautiful afternoon was a very rare phenomenon in November, and Algy was determined to make the most of it while it lasted 🙂

This post is dedicated to one of Algy’s Tumblr friends in southern France, tartefine … Joyeux Anniversaire xoxo

So Algy crossed the great sea loch and headed into the west. He flew for several hours until at last he saw the sight he had been waiting for – the misty islands of the Hebrides, floating in their silvery sea. He was so happy to see his islands again that he stopped to rest and gaze at them. There was no need to hurry any more; he knew that he was more or less home.