Another sparkling but icy cold day. After lunch I took the trailer over to Tipperton – at the very south-west most corner of South Uist – and loaded it up with seaweed from the strandline. Boiler-suit, wellies, gloves, hat, wheelbarrow, garden fork … and two hours immersed in nature and the task in hand.
Oh, one thing else in the tool-kit : the digital SLR camera – and telephoto zoom lens.
Back at the walled garden, I reversed the trailer into position, then lowered the back ramp, revealing a neat vertical section through the mass of seaweed.
Oh, such riches!
I readied the barrow and fork ready for the unloading.
After a mug of tea and a natter with Denise, I readied myself.
Gloves and wellies on … Ready? … Go!
Collecting seaweed is good for the body, the mind, the stomach (via the compost heap and the garden) and for the soul.
It’s been a ritual, for the past two to three months. Morning rations of sheep-nuts, and an armful of hay. The nuts go into plastic troughs, hooked over rails of a gate, and the bundle of hay is tied to the top rail.
Whilst D and I were away, it was Becky that hosted the party of six – Scott the ram, and five younger boys. But now I’m back from Navarra and dressed once more in my boiler suit, I’ve re-started – just this morning, in fact – work on the new fencing, further up the hill.
After I’d fed the boys, I set off up the hill with a big fence post on my shoulder. On reaching the depot for fencing materials, and having dropped my load, I stopped to take in the view – and a rest after my exertions. Somewhere in the near distance I could hear the whinnying of horses – Eriskay ponies, in fact. There’s plenty about in winter, when they are allowed down from the hill grazings.
Walking back down to the croft store for another load, what did I come across, but a troop of ponies passing along the ‘old road’ that crosses our croft, and helping themselves to the hay. Gate-crashers, indeed!
Gate-crashers: Eriskay ponies helping themselves to sheep feed.