Sunday, December 14, 2014

Winter Projects - moving towards island sustainability

We've been quite busy over the last few weeks with various projects...
After a spell of dry weather, we managed to burn some of this year's allocation of European Gorse on the mountain, just before the storms started to roll in again!

One new approach to gorse control on the mountain, which is more sustainable,  is to hand cut the more accessible mature bushes, and use a chipper to provide biomass for burning on our wood stove.  So, Steve and Ben have been tackling a small area near Pen Cristin...prickly work!

Another new project involves using seaweed, mainly kelp, as fertiliser.  The seaweed is deciduous and is deposited in vast quantities on the beach after the winter storms.  Traditionally it was spread on the fields over winter as it is rich in minerals and trace elements.  We have always used a small quantity on the veg garden - with really good results, particularly for root crops.  We can take up to 50 % off Solfach after each storm, making sure plenty is left for the over wintering chough population to forage on.
So Steve used the new tractor grab to collect a few loads this week, and spread it on one of the arable fields...

Spot the difference!

We also now have a small wind turbine which is working hard in this windy weather.  Over the 10 days since it was erected, we have been able to run most of our electrical needs off the power produced, reducing the need for the diesel generator significantly.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bardsey from the air

Well...I think that the title pretty much says it all really...I hope you enjoy the views as much as I do. The higher perspective were taken with the aid of a paramotor whereas the lower ones were just hill-soaring . I usually have a Go-Pro camcorder on top of my helmet and then take a snap-shot of the resulting video footage .

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Seven Years on Enlli!

Today marks seven years since we moved to live and work on Enlli...years full of new experiences, challenges, steep learning curves, fulfillment, blessing and a whole lot more!
I've just come across some photos  taken in our first week here; just one example of some of the changes that have taken place in our lives...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adventures on Mull

June seems a long time ago now, but as usual, the busy summer season here on Enlli has meant that blogging has been low on our priority list!  So here is a bit of a catch up of our holiday...with thanks to Gwyn (and Lauren, and Sian) for house, cafe and animal sitting for us.

 All set to go, waiting outside Coleg Meirion Dwyfor for Ben to finish his last A level exam!

We managed to liaise with some friends, Steve and Jen Hallett, for the first night's camp on our way up to Scotland, stopping just north of the border.
Taking up a very long space on the Corran ferry just south of Fort William.

This was our camp-site for 10 days - Fidden farm, just opposite Iona, a stunning location and beautiful spot.
The gentle sea breezes even managed to keep the midges away !
We spent the first day exploring the neighbouring isle of Eraid by kayak...beautiful pink granite crags and white sandy beaches.

We had a fleeting glimpse of a young white tailed eagle, seen here sat on a crag before flying off.
Warming up with some lunch after a very cold swim!

A short portage was necessary to complete the circuit of Eraid and get back to camp.

Steve and Ben set off at the crack of dawn one morning to catch the flooding tidal stream and head for Staffa.

It took nearly two hours to make the crossing to this dramatic island and so we had chosen a calm day.
This 'Bonxie' ( Arctic Scua ) was keen on sharing our mid-crossing snack !
Finally arriving at Staffa and it's dramatic basalt columnar architecture.
Fingal's cave was very impressive.
We were fortunate to have had such a quiet sea so that we were able to paddle right in to the back of the cave .
We landed in a sheltered cove and had an interesting couple of hours taking in the scenery before any of the regular tour boats had arrived.

Looking out from the back of Fingal's Cave .

On the way back, they met up with Jo and Rachel who had kayaked over to Iona for the day.

Coastal gymnastics.
The breathing rock....

Ben, Rachel and Jo headed up Ben Mor one day, while Steve drove the camper-van and kayaks around to our second camp-site, on the shore of Loch na keal.

Another lovely wild camping spot , though the horseflies were pretty vicious.

We came across this "forest" of moon jelly-fish on our way across Loch na keal to Ulva - just incredible!

Looking back to Ben Mor on our way to Ulva .
Steve and Ben then headed off on a circumnavigation of Ulva while Rachel and Jo explored on foot.
Beautifully calm conditions along the South coast of Ulva with the Treshnish Isles in the background.
The unusual shape of the 'Dutchman's Cap' in the distance.

After a refreshing ice-cream at the Ulva cafe we all headed back across Loch na Keal to the van.