Distancing or Isolation

Today social distancing almost turned into self isolation. Under government guidelines we both fall into the category that is required to social distance ourselves. As yet we are not required to socially isolate ourselves.

Looking across Gott Bay to Ben More on the Isle of Mull

It was a real delight yesterday to enjoy some sunshine after the persistent rain that we have had over the winter months. With daffodils out in several gardens it really did feel that we were entering Spring.

Even the sheep appeared to be appreciating the sunshine and the view across the Passage of Tiree. Yet, although the sun was bright yesterday, there was still a nip in the air.

Blue sky and sea at Scarinish Harbour

Today, there was sunshine and warmth. Looking at the forecast it appeared that the Isle of Tiree was to be among the warmest places in Scotland and it certainly felt that way. It was a great day to head out for a walk.

Looking across Gott Bay to Ben Gott and in the distance Ben Hynish

We decided to take the car and park near Kirkapol and then walk along the beach towards Ruaig and the island of Soa. What a clear view we had across the bay towards Ben Gott and in the distance Ben Hynish. The colours were amazing.

Scanning the horizon we sa Kenavara

As we looked back over the island we could make out the shape of of Kenavara and then further to the right there was Ben Hough. We we were so grateful to be able to get out and enjoy a walk without being a threat to anyone.

Ben Hough with its mobile phone mast – and a lone oyster catcher

As we stepped down onto the beach a feather caught our attention and it turned out to be a clear indication that we would not be alone on our walk – we would have the birds for company. It is always a pleasure to listen the cries of the gulls and oyster catchers.

Simple pleasures are often the best

Walking along we were aware how recent storms have modified the profile of the beach. The waters around the island are renowned for being shallow and this is now emphasised by the lack of slope to the beach – even at low tide.

Some of the houses at Brock – so close to the beach.

It must have been close to low tide and what an expanse of sand. No wonder the beach that surrounds Gott Bay is known in Gaelic as the ‘Big Beach’. Soon we were passing the houses at Brock. Suddenly we realised that we were not alone on the beach. Someone was exercising their dog. We didn’t have to worry about getting too close – they must have been about half a mile away.

It is hard to believe that Ben More on the Isle of Mull is over 20 miles away

We had not set out with the intention of crossing to the tidal island of Soa but when we came close we saw that the sand was exposed and that we could walk over on the dry. We gave into the temptation and made away onto the island.

The cairn on Soa – looking across to Mull

It appears that many are confused about the difference between social distancing and sea-isolating. Many use the terms almost interchangeably. It was while on Soa that the difference became clear to us.

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We determined not to stay long on Soa, just long enough to capture a view of the cairn.  However, in that very short time – for us it almost became isolation as distinct from distancing. And to think we might have had to go to opposite ends of the island from one another.

Looking back on Tiree
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All looked well as we made our way back down onto the shore but then we became aware that the tide was coming in relatively fast and where there had been dry sand was now water. Thankfully we made it across without getting our feet too wet! It was a close thing – it could well have been self-isolating.

It may not look much water!

With the telephoto lens there may not look much water. At one point it seems such a narrow stretch but it reality is was quite wide and the channel was fast filling up. Still we made it back and were not isolated.

The sun dancing on the silvery waters of Gott Bay

What a beautiful day! The sun was dancing on the shallow waters of the bay turning them into liquid silver. As we made our way back along the beach we spotted a lady with a pushchair. Again due to the expanse of the sand we enjoyed our space without becoming a threat to anyone.

Social distancing – you might just make out someone!

Looking back across the bay towards Ben More it looks as if it is just over the fence. What a wonderful sound as the waves gently lapped on the beach. How therapeutic!

It was a real joy to watch the sanderlings skittering about at the waters edge, to listen to the gulls screeching and to see the oyster catchers – real favourites.


As we made our way back to the car we were struck by the reflections in the wet sand.  Yes! And we were left reflecting on what might have been – not just social distancing but self-isolation. It was a close run thing.

Looking across to the cairn on Soa.

This is Life on Tiree