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Islay Nature Notes 29 September - Re-JIG and Beaches on Islay

This weeks contribution by Jeremy Hastings, Islay's Wilderness Guide, is about involvement and the responsibility for our environment. Earlier I published an article from the Ileach newspaper about the celebration of Re-JIG's (Recycling Islay Jura Group) tenth year and I wrote about Jeremy's initiative to run his business car free since last Friday. Care for our environment is at the base of both these articles and Jeremy explains in this weeks post what an important role an organisation like Re-JIG plays on Islay:


Beach at Claggain Bay

Jeremy Hastings: Involvement is not always straightforward! It ought to be, but unforunately it is often hindered by agenda seekers and, of course, the ego too. With countries still competing for places at the top eco table at Copenhagen to discuss Climate Change, hopefully to enable some serious action to slow it all down (although I, like many folks, seem to suffer from STS-Serious Thomas Syndrome- you all know the story of the doubting one!) Continue reading.....

Today is not just Another Day

Some of you may have noticed that Jeremy's nature reports came somewhat irregular and although I myself wasn't aware of the reason, I did sense that something was brewing at the Old Byre in Port Charlotte, the place where Jeremy and his family live. Today of all days Jeremy announced a very courageous decision that he and his family have taken. Today, on world car free day, they have decided to continue their business from Friday onwards as a "car free business". I know Jeremy and his wife Tink as two people who have very strong principles and who are not afraid to live by them, even if that means that they have to sacrifice some conveniences. I admire them for that and for taking this step, especially when you consider why they did it. Wouldn't it be great if more of us "small people" would take our responsibilities for our planet and our childrens' future like the Hastings-family? - Maybe something to think about in the longer autumn and winter nights to come... Continue reading....

Islay Nature Notes 14 September - When the Sun Shines....

....Everything seems to feel better.

Jez was busy last night and sent me the Islay nature notes this morning. They are a nice follow up on yesterdays weather related post. It's always amazing to see how weather can change someone's mood and it's not necessarily so that only sunshine makes people happy. Some people actually enjoy rain and others, like me, enjoy changeable weather with bright sunny spells and occasional showers. It brings a smile on my face when mother nature presents me with dramatic skies, bright spells and an occasional rainbow. The image shows the Ballygrant village store on a lovely and sunny afternoon. Click for large image in Picture Blog

Jeremy Hastings, Islay's Wilderness Guide: After days and days of rain, on the mainland there has been, in parts of Argyll rain for forty days! However although the ground still holds plenty of water the farmers have cut silage and barley - much to the grand sighs of certain independent distilleries that pride themselves on local produce. They will be very happy! Swallows, Starlings, Rooks and Gulls enjoy the uncovering of insects and can be seen in all fresh cut fields. Golden Eagles thermal high above Red Deer on the high hill. Also, with other areas full of seeds there are large flocks of finches. Interestingly we were watching very large flocks (a couple of hundred) of Twote and Goldfinches at Upper Killeyan on the Oa Peninsula only yesterday. It seems that after many years of hard work developing the farm the RSPB are getting paid back with large numbers of wee birds. Continue reading......

Islay Nature Notes 30 August 2009

Jeremy has been away from the island for several week(ends) in a row and didn't have time for a nature report. That's why I'm glad that he found the time to send me his nature notes tonight. Somehow it doesn't feel right to end the blogging week without Jeremy's summary of his week on Islay. This week a weather related topic and keep in mind that ex-Hurricane Bill passed the UK on its way north giving a lot of rain and wind. There is a nice animation of the ex-Hurricane crossing the UK on youtube.

Jeremy Hastings, Islay's Wilderness Guide: Going out on on a sunny summer's day on Islay is a risky business. There is always a guarantee of the weather but of what type is never certain. I always dress for the worst possible- it is much easier to take off/carry/pack coats, jumpers, gloves and socks as well as waterproof trousers too, rather than leave it behind. You never know what will crop up and when you or someone else need it.

This last week there was a mix of weather with a promise of a hurricane. It never came to that although the wind was strong enough to crack one of the willows in the garden. Our 9 year son delighted in the fact that here, natures' wildness has given him the opportunity to use his bushcraft saw to relieve said tree of fallen limb. Continue reading......

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