The sun was out all day and Moray Coast was special today with the whipping waves and the views over the Moray Firth to the snow clad hills. I try to walk for over an hour after my operation and today it was exceptional, I have time to look about and no rush I can watch the waves crashing and the various birds about. I am sadly no bird watcher but love to see my friends the Herons that are always about but sadly not today. Instead I was given a wonderful show a flock of small birds over the sea I have been told they are called “murmuration” . There must have been about 200 -300 and they were flying so wonderfully it was a joy to watch. They were silent and looked at times as they were a great wave in the sky making so many shapes as they flew across the sea and the coast. I was mesmerized and it made my day. I met a lovely lady Jacqueline from Hopeman and she had a great footage of them, on her Ipad we had a great chat. My spies tell me they were Knots ?
The knot is a dumpy, short-legged, stocky wading bird. In winter, It is grey above and white below; in summer the chest, belly and face are brick-red. In flight, it shows a pale rump and a faint wing-stripe. It forms huge flocks in winter which wheel and turn in flight, flashing their pale underwings as they twist and turn. Many knots use UK estuaries as feeding grounds, both on migration and in winter, and therefore the population is vulnerable to any changes such as barrages, sea-level rises and human disturbance. Large numbers of birds visit the UK in winter from their Arctic breeding grounds. Is that right?
I am missing the hills but getting ready for my trip to Glencoe for my Lecture in the Clachaig Inn on Tuesday night. I am longing to be in the mountains again and cannot wait to see the amazing hills. It will be great to get down to a place I love and hope the chat goes well. It is a mountain Safety based chat sponsored by Mammut and the Clachaig Inn Glencoe. I will try to make it as interesting as I can as most of the audience will unlike me have been on the hills , climbing skiing or walking. The weather has been great so hopefully I will get a good drive down and as I am staying the night I will have a short wander depending on how I feel. It will be a long day as the chat is at 2000 and is in two parts with a short break in between. It will be along day but I am sure the drive down after a hospital appointment will be invigorating, how I love that drive through the Laggan hills and the views of the West coast with the mountains plastered in snow.
What will I chat about it is the 30 th year of these Lectures and a great to get a chance to speak to climbers and walkers who are in the area and the Clachaig Inn is a well known place place in Scottish Mountaineering. Some of the subjects will be the History of Glencoe and it place in mountaineering and winter and summer climbing in Scotland. The development of the ice climbing axes by the legendary Hamish MacInnes and the development of the Rescue stretchers and rescue techniques. I hope to get the message across through some of my epics in the past in my Mountaineering and Rescue career in the Uk and abroad. I hope to cover many of the skills and techniques to make winter a bit safer for all, so it will I hope be good night. The night will have have a raffle for the local Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team a great bunch of people who do an incredible job in the wild place that is Glencoe.
I just heard the sad news that Bill Amos a past Team Leader Of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team. Bill was a well known stalwart for 30 years in the North Of Scotland and will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with Bill’s family and friends. This is from the teams Facebook page.
“It is with sadness that we write of the passing of Bill Amos after a period of illness. Bill was a member of Dundonnell MRT for almost thirty years, holding a variety of posts including that of team leader. His funeral will be held on Friday 13th at 1.30pm in Inverness Crematorium. Our love and thoughts go to Janet, Rona, Sheena and the wider family at this time.” Bill Mac Rae Team Leader