Tales from the Trail: RSPB Balranald, Isle of North Uist

02/10/2019 0 By wildfeed

The dolphins seemed indifferent to their bleak surroundings. The grey tones of the sky, the dark and unwelcoming murk of the sea made their own shapes: sleek, powerful, streamlined; stand out from the water and their surroundings. They were in that instance of the water, and at the same moment, wholly and uniquely not.

I was standing on the point at Balranald. There are only occasional cetacean sightings from here, and the long horizon means that those sightings are often far off. More regularly are the otters seen, often with cubs, and always seals peeking back at any human watcher. No wonder the stories circulate about selkies.

But, on this poor-weather-miserable day, the dolphins were close and on fine form. I was halfway through a survey that sees me walking these beaches throughout the winter. An exercise in appreciation of the ether: the skies lifting into infinity, and the sea, a pale aquamarine continuing until it seamlessly matches with the sky. That is, on good weather days, and this day could not really be considered a good weather day.

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