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  • Johnnie

All calm after a winter storm

Updated: Feb 21

Rainbow over RSPB Balranald, taken from the garden of Balranald Bay View cottage, North Uist

Sunrise at RSPB Balranald

Woke up this morning just after sunrise to a flat calm sea. Balranald bay was like glass, with reflections of the clouds illuminated by golden sunshine on the water. Not a breath of wind and a beautiful cat belonging to one of the local crofters was sitting on our dry stone wall. Goldfinches in our garden and starlings singing on our roof. A lone rabbit on the shoreline.

Rainbow between the St. Kilda islands of Horta and Boreray. Taken from Balranald Bay View, North Uist, Outer Hebrides

St Kilda was visible on the horizon from the garden all day and at around 10am, one end of a rainbow appeared to rise out of the sea beside St Kilda.

For me, wherever I happen to be in the world, getting up to see the sunrise on your rest days often begins with a painful alarm call, accompanied by a mental wrestling match as battles are fought in a state of semi slumber against an overwhelming desire to go back to sleep. The "warm bed suction syndrome" is so seductive and I can so easily convince myself that the forecast got it wrong and that the weather is terrible outside. Drifting blissfully back to sleep is the only reasonable thing to do. Then there are those times when the alarm sounds and I promise myself just another two minutes in bed. In a split second I am gently snoozing again and I can start to dream that I have already got out of bed, got dressed and gone outside and am taking great photographs, only to wake mid morning to find that I have missed the best part of the day.

No such problems in winter on North Uist because being so far north, watching the sunrise can be combined with a blissful lie in. Sunrise is around 9am!

Although the low angled winter light is excellent for photography all day, the light is even more dramatic before 11am and again after 3pm.

My wife and I watched the sun set out to sea today from the magificent Traigh Iar beach (15 mins walk from Balranald Bay View Cottage). Reflections of the sunset and coloured clouds on the wet white sand as the sun disappeared into the sea next to the offshore Monach isles.

Sunset over the sea, Traigh Iar, Balranald, North Uist

Only a few cattle, some geese and a buzzard for company as the sky in the east turned pink after sunset. Peace, quiet, raw nature and spectacular scenery by anyones standards and, besides each other, not another human to share it with all day. Bliss!

Cow feeding calf on the Machair


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