On Wednesday afternoon we had good reason to go to Baugh and so we took the opportunity to park at Crossapol and have a walk along Baugh beach. The forecast for the day was for cloudy conditions and it has been more less accurate. It was a calm afternoon thus the title ‘Calm Crossapol’.
Unlike the Island of Coll, on Tiree there is no long drive to reach a beach. On Tiree in many places you can just step out of your car and onto the sand. ‘Balmy Baugh Beach’ sounds great but there is no way that description would suit the beach today. However, it was certainly mild.
Baugh beach has rocky bookends, but the beach itself is composed from Tiree’s famous white shell sand. This afternoon it was low tide and the sense of expanse is enhanced – not that it needs enhancing.
The waters around the island are shallow and the beach itself is gently sloping – the slope being almost imperceptible.
Oyster Catchers (apparently misnamed) love Tiree and most people on Tiree love oyster catchers. In fact Tiree’s St Ayles Skiff is named ‘An Gille-Brìghde’. For those who do not have the Gaelic it means ‘The Oyster Catcher’. And the colours of this popular Tiree bird are reflected in the paintwork.
Tiree has a resident RSPB Officer and for those with a love of bird life Tiree has much to offer. Migratory birds often use Tiree as a convenient stopping off point. Sitting out in the Atlantic birds that have been blown off course sometimes make landfall on the island.
This afternoon the breaking waves were not deafening. Often it can sound as if an express train is hurtling along the beach. It is not an unplesant sound but it can be incessant.
Although it was a calm afternoon the waves kept breaking. It was fascinating watching the display and this made you wonder what it might be like with a gale force south easterly wind.
Turning round to walk back towards the car how different it was. Ben Hynish was under a blanket of dark grey cloud. This was a black and white world.
The oyster catchers with their black and white plumage were on what was now agrey beach and only their orange bills gave a hint of colour.
As we continued back towards the car the ominous grey clouds dominated the land and seascape. It was like being in another world. Yet. . . .
A glance backward – east along the beach – everything was very different. Blue predominated and as a result the long dune was reflected in the thin layer of water slowly draining towards the tide’s edge.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’