The coastline of the headland provided a diverse range of fascinating wee environments which Algy loved. In some places the rocks plunged straight down deep ravines into the sea, in others there were tiny tidal beaches of pale sand, and in some areas there were masses of large rocks jutting out into the ocean. In one special spot on the north coast there was a unique network of large pools above the normal tideline, surrounded by miniature fortifications of rock. This was a place unlike any other, and it was often warm and sheltered too. Algy loved to perch on a rock here, and watch the small fish that darted in and out of the weed in the pools. He assumed that these rock basins must be filled mainly with rainwater, but as the ocean was only yards away and exceedingly vigorous at times, the water would surely be salty too. Algy wondered how the fish could manage in such a strange environment, and whether they sometimes ventured out into the great ocean when the tide was especially high…


Algy flew up to one of the higher points on the headland, so that he could get a better view to the east. Although this would be a dangerously exposed spot in a gale, it provided a very pleasant perch on a fine day, although it was never entirely free from the wind. But the view was impressive; it was possible to see for at least 40 miles in most directions, and sometimes even further. The sea and the sky were so exceedingly blue that Algy found himself humming one of his favourite old songs:

          Beyond the blue horizon
          Waits a beautiful day.
          Goodbye to things that bore me.
          Joy is waiting for me.
          I see a new horizon.
          My life has only begun.
          Beyond the blue horizon lies a rising sun.

Algy hopes that a beautiful day full of joy is waiting for all of you :)))

[Algy is humming part of Beyond the Blue Horizon, a song by Leo Robin, Richard A. Whiting and W. Franke Harling, which was introduced by Jeanette McDonald in the 1930 Ernst Lubitsch musical film Monte Carlo.]

Algy moved closer to the edge of the precipice, so that he could get a better view of the sea below. It was just rolling peacefully along today, swirling around the rocks quite innocently, as though it had never been known to thunder and roar up the canyon with terrific force, throwing spray right up to the rocks where Algy was perching. Algy was fascinated by the many different moods of the ocean. He loved the excitement and drama of the stormy days, but this gentle, soothing swell of the deep blue was just perfect for a lazy afternoon’s rest :))

There was one spot on the headland which Algy loved especially. At this point the ground rose towards a cleft in the rock, with each face vertical as though it was a doorway through to the other side. But beyond this opening the rocks plunged straight down to the sea, forming a wee canyon for the tide to surge up in stormy weather. Woe betide the careless explorer who rushed towards this “way through” without due caution – or without wings!

Best of all, however, there was a lovely view through this gap to the north. Algy leaned back against the rocks in the warm afternoon sunshine, and gazed across the Sea of the Hebrides towards the Small Isles. It was a beautiful spring day, and the sea was a dark, dark blue, echoing the blue sky overhead. Everything was calm and peaceful; there was no sound except the constant murmur of the sea below and the singing of a skylark overhead. It reminded Algy of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

          On ear and ear two noises too old to end
          Trench—right, the tide that ramps against the shore;
          With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
          Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.

          Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,
          His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score
          In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
          And pelt music, till none ’s to spill nor spend.

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem The Sea and the Skylark by the 19th century English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.]

Algy knew that around the headland there were many wee inlets where the sea liked to play, so whenever he felt in need of soothing entertainment he would choose one to visit and spend a happy afternoon there, perching on a rock or relaxing on a tiny beach, just watching the tide come and go.

Algy hopes that even if you are not able to perch on a rock by the sea or visit a quiet beach, you will all be able to spend a happy afternoon or two just relaxing peacefully over the weekend :))

Algy felt tired after his struggle with the balloon, so he decided to take advantage of the fine weather, and rest for a while in the afternoon sunshine. A few miles away across the water he could see the Small Isles; there was a wee bit of snow still lingering on the highest peaks of the Isle of Rum. As he gazed out across the blue Sea of the Hebrides, Algy was reminded of a Victorian sonnet, although the exact location the poet had described was a wee bit further north:

          From blue Loch Carron rise white and sheer
              Its bare rock faces and island cones,
              And they glitter as frost and wind-bleached bones;
          Coral and sapphire far and near,
          Pearl-white coral and sapphire clear,
              Finely-chiselled as cameo stones,
              No blurred edges or soft mixed tones:
          Blue as the bottomless, white as fear.

          Do I sleep, do I dream, in the hard clear day,
              On the windy deck, in the afternoon,
          With the sough of the wave, and the spume of the spray,
              And my hair like the dank sea-tangle blown
          On the landward breeze? Is it Portree bay
              That we make, or some cove in the long dead moon?

[Algy is quoting the poem Among the Hebrides by the 19th century English poet Emily Pfeiffer.]

When Algy moved down on to the rocks by the water, he sat quite still and listened to the fascinating sounds of the sea at low tide. It surged into the gullies between the rocks with a happy gurgle and splash, and sucked back out again with a hissing of sand, swirling the seaweed all around in the bubbling water at his feet.

{The complexities of the sound will be clearest through headphones or external speakers.}

Algy found a new position on the highest of the dunes, to take in the view to his right. He wished that he had eyes in the back of his head, so that he could see the whole expanse of the bay and all the islands at once, without having to turn his face into the bitter north wind. It was certainly very lovely, but it was also very cold!

Cold Blows The Wind


The north wind was vicious and the sunlight was feeble and cold. Algy didn’t feel like getting up in the morning, but the days were much too short now to be wasted. So he fluffed up his feathers and flew down to the sea with a book of poetry under his wing. Tucked into a sheltered corner among the rocks, Algy read happily in the cool light reflecting off the water all around him, listening to the sounds of the Sea of the Hebrides (audio post below) as the wind drove the waves spitting and surging onto the beach beside him.

         Cauld blows the wind frae north to south,
         And drift is driving sairly ;
         The sheep are couring in the heugh,
         Oh sirs! it’s winter fairly.
         Now up in the morning’s no’ for me,
         Up in the morning early ;
         I’d rather gae supperless to my bed,
         Than rise in the morning early.

         Loud rairs the blast amang the woods,
         The branches tirling barely,
         Amang the chimley taps it thuds,
         And frost is nippin sairly.
         Now up in the morning’s no’ for me,
         Up in the morning early ;
         To sit a’ the night I’d rather agree,
         Than rise in the morning early.

         The sun peeps o’er the southlan’ hill,
         Like ony tim’rous carlie;
         Just blinks a wee, then sinks again,
         And that we find severely.
         Now up in the morning’s no’ for me,
         Up in the morning early ;
         When snaw blaws into the chimley cheek,
         Wha’d rise in the morning early.

         Nae linties lilt on hedge or bush,
         Poor things, they suffer sairly ;
         In cauldrife quarters a’ the night,
         A’ day they feed but sparely.
         Now up in the morning’s no’ for me,
         Up in the morning early ;
         Nae fate can be waur, in winter time,
         Than rise in the morning early.

[Algy is reading Cold Blows The Wind, a lesser-known Scots poem by John Hamilton, published in Walter de la Mare’s anthology Come Hither.]