A Very Fine Day!


The West Highlands of Scotland had been experiencing a short spell of glorious spring weather, and Algy had made sure that he experienced it too 🙂

He flew out to the lighthouse, his favourite spot in the area, and perched on a dry clump of heather to study the view of the islands. The Isle of Eigg was the most prominent (just left of centre on the horizon) with the mountainous Isle of Rum to its left and the low-lying Isle of Muck hugging the sea in front of that. And in the distance, between Rum and Eigg, he could clearly see the peaks of the famous Cuillin on the Isle of Skye. It was indeed a very fine day!

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy some fine weather and beautiful views this weekend 🙂


Algy gazed out across the deep blue sea towards the Small Isles and the mountains of the Isle of Skye on the horizon. Suddenly, he caught sight of a large shape in the sky and a wee flash of white: a huge white-tailed sea eagle was soaring overhead. For a moment Algy considered taking cover – although there were very few places to hide on the open hillside – but it soon became apparent that the eagle did not consider a fluffy bird to be worthy of its attention, and in a few minutes more it had swept away on the wind, moving so rapidly out to sea that it was soon completely lost in the blue.

It was a beautiful day at the lighthouse, and the ocean was a deep, deep blue. Algy reclined on the rocks, and gazed far out to sea. The air was clear and he could just make out the black fins of two or three basking sharks, perhaps a couple of miles away, and the white flashes of gannets diving into the water around them.

It might be true that summer in the West Highlands was only going to last for two or three days this year, but Algy was determined to make the most of it while it was here. So he leaned back on the comfortably warm rock and just rested for a while, listening to the lapping of the waves down below, and watching the sea birds flying by.

Algy perched on the lighthouse rocks, and gazed out across the moody sea towards the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides, which were looking unusually menacing on the horizon. The colours of the sea and sky were those of January, and yet it was August. There was certainly something very strange about the world this year, and it did not feel quite right at all. But even in the worst summer in living memory, the sea was infinitely appealing, whatever its mood, and there was nothing Algy liked more than to perch beside the water, watching its constantly changing motion and the ebb and flow of the tide. Just as Carl Sandburg said, Algy is “a loon about the sea”:

The sea is large.
The sea hold on a leg of land in the Chesapeake hugs an early sunset and a last morning star over the oyster beds and the late clam boats of lonely men.
Five white houses on a half-mile strip of land … five white dice rolled from a tube.

Not so long ago … the sea was large…
And to-day the sea has lost nothing … it keeps all.

I am a loon about the sea.
I make so many sea songs, I cry so many sea cries, I forget so many sea songs and sea cries.

I am a loon about the sea.
So are five men I had a fish fry with once in a tar-paper shack trembling in a sand storm.

The sea knows more about them than they know themselves.
They know only how the sea hugs and will not let go.

The sea is large.
The sea must know more than any of us.

[Algy is quoting the poem The Sea Hold by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]


There was still a very strong, cold wind blowing from the north-west, but as it was April 1st, Algy thought that he would have a wee bit of fun, playing with the waves on the rocks 🙂

In honour of her birthday today, Algy is reblogging this image from April for his fluffy friend stephiramona
– dear Stephi, may you always manage to skip the stormy waves and stay
surprisingly fluffy forever xoxo Hope you are having a truly wonderful

This also continues this week’s lighthouse series, as these are the rocks immediately behind the camera’s viewpoint in yesterday’s adventure,
but on a much stormier day! The rocks are an exciting place for
adventures, but extreme care is needed, and a pair of fluffy wings comes
in very handy 🙂

The area of the lighthouse rocks which Algy loves best is on the more sheltered side, away from the open ocean, but right down beside the sea. It’s necessary to be exceedingly careful down there, as the tide can wash in very fast and the water is deep and dangerous. When the sea is angry, it will smash anyone and anything onto the rocks with great force. But when it is relatively calm, it is safe to perch among the rock pools and watch the waves roll in, with the islands of the Inner Hebrides floating on the horizon. Even then, however, it is essential to keep one eye on the advancing tide at all times!

The rocky headland around the lighthouse provided the inspiration for Chapter 2 of Algy’s book A Surprisingly Fluffy Bird – and the Kindle version of the book is FREE to download from Amazon worldwide all this weekend. Don’t miss it!

Have a lovely weekend everyone – and relax with Algy’s book 🙂

As there was little hope of a change in the weather, Algy decided that the next best thing was a change of scene, so he flew out to the lighthouse rocks to contemplate the wide expanse of ocean. The wind was bitterly cold and the day was overcast, but the view in the silvery light was fine. Looking west from the rocks, Algy could see nothing but sea and sky, and the slim shadow of an island or two on the horizon – plus a tiny sailboat racing headlong down the wind. Algy was inevitably reminded of Masefield’s popular poem:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

[Algy is quoting the poem Sea-Fever by the early 20th century English poet John Masefield.]

Visit Algy’s own web site

Algy flew out onto the rocks, and found a perch that was reasonably sheltered from the cold north wind. The tide was high, and most of the beach was covered. As he looked back towards the shore he marvelled at the beautiful colours of the sea: shimmering turquoise over the pale sand, and a mixture of deep blues and purples over the swirling beds of seaweed. On a day like this it was hard to believe that this was north-west Scotland and not some more exotic location, but the icy wind ruffling his hair feathers soon reminded him where he really was 🙂

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

It was a particularly fine afternoon, so Algy flew over to one of his favourite viewpoints. On a day as clear as this, it was possible to see for 40 miles or more in three directions from this spot. In the east lay the mauve mountains of the mainland, to the north lay the impressive Isle of Skye, and in the west lay the beautiful islands of the Hebrides. Algy gazed at the idyllic view, and – reflecting on the fact that it was Armistice Day – he remembered an old sonnet:

          The upland shepherd, as reclined he lies
          On the soft turf that clothes the mountain brow,
          Marks the bright sea-line mingling with the skies;
          Or from his course celestial, sinking slow,
          The summer-sun in purple radiance low,
          Blaze on the western waters; the wide scene
          Magnificent, and tranquil, seems to spread
          Even o’er the rustic’s breast a joy serene,
          When, like dark plague-spots by the demons shed,
          Charged deep with death, upon the waves, far seen,
          Move the war-freighted ships; and fierce and red,
          Flash their destructive fires – The mangled dead
          And dying victims then pollute the flood.
          Ah, thus man spoils Heaven’s glorious works with blood!

[Algy is quoting Sonnet LXXXIII The Sea View by the 18th century English poet Charlotte Turner Smith.]