Thursday, 23 December 2010

Season's Greetings!

Just winding everything up ready to go off for my Christmas break. Obviously the property will be open for anyone to enjoy during the festive period, as it is all year round, but I am just making sure that things are in order, buildings drained down etc so that I don't have sleepless nights and/or emergency call outs over the holidays.

Here's wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Liza and Georgia.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Going off road

Headed up the lighthouse road yesterday afternoon as the sun was going down. No vehicle had been up the track except the farm's quad to feed the stock, and then it had only gone to the top of the slope heading down towards Petticowick - very sensible, but the resultant tracks did confuse the mind somewhat (picture right). Well, at least the bunnies knew the correct route!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

In the bleak midwinter

So, today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year; which means from now on the days will be getting longer -cause for celebration in anyone's book I would say! A day on which the sun worshipping Norsemen of old would light bonfires and gather round them to tell stories and drink sweet ale; and the Romans would light candles, deck out their houses with greenery and even indulge in a little cross dressing!

Although I didn't partake of any of these activities as I did the rounds this morning, I did notice how the sun being so low in the sky makes the snow sparkle like diamonds and really brings out the reddy-purple colour of the old Devonian sandstone cliffs - stunning!

No wind today to bring the maritime air inland either, so the White Heugh is white with snow on top as well as guano on the ledges (picture left). If you look carefully you might see a few black spots on the ledges as there were a few guillemots on the cliffs again today.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Just visiting...

I go away for a few days holiday, leaving St Abb's Head looking like a winter wonderland, and I return just a few days later to find it all green again. And what do I see when I go up to the lighthouse - guillemots on the cliffs? Enough to make me feel like I have just woken up from a few months hibernation!

On the whole guillemots tend to disappear out to sea after they have finished breeding in July. Then they spend the winter out at sea, and return to their nest sites to start the whole breeding process again in April. But every now and again, some of the birds turn up on the cliffs during the winter months. No-one is really sure why they come back in, as they really are seabirds in the true sense of the word, being far better adapted for life on the briny than on land. And there doesn't seem to be any pattern to it either, so it is just a matter of chance as to whether you happen to see them or not. But it is a welcome sight (and sound!) when they are in, because however magnificent the coastline may look out of the seabird season, the cliffs still seem to be lacking a certain something!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Gorse you can Malcolm...

More snow, and its laying quite thick (well for us at St Abbs anyway). The lighthouse road is treacherous, white snow with a sheet of ice under it, and the Mire Loch is frozen over. Woodcock and snipe erupt from under your feet all over the place and there are also lapwing and curlew feeding where ever the snow is thinnest.

Whilst walking up the Mire Dean track - blooming hard work at the best of times, but today made it a "one step forward, two steps back" affair with the ice - this stalwart little gorse bush, still resolutely in flower, caught my eye. It reminded me of the old adage "when the gorse is out of bloom, kissing's out of fashion". Well thank goodness for that little ray of positivity to help me up the hill - and a great way to keep warm too, as is walking up hills!

Friday, 3 December 2010

A new addition at St Abbs

There's one thing this snow does for you, it makes you appreciate the little things in life! Today two men struggled through the snow just to bring us a new bit of kit - an all singing, all dancing integrated scanner/printer/fax machine. Now normally this would not be the cause of so much jubilation, but as we have been working away in our lonely little office for what seems like weeks, not seeing a sole from one day to the next it was most exciting to hear a vehicle draw up outside the door! And also rather heart warming to think that there are still companies around who appreciate the value of good customer service. The machine is a bit of a monster, but as it sits between my desk and Georgia's, the added bonus is that we can have a game of peekaboo whenever we want!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Seeing it coming...

One of the great things about St Abb's Head is that you have a panoramic view so you can see what weather is coming your way...sometimes the news is not good! Red sky at night - happy shepherds, but what about purple, green and black?!