Wednesday, 28 August 2019


I could fill a whole book with photographs of Cap who died, aged 14, on Wednesday 28th August.  He was such a special dog, and Farmer says, the best working dog he has ever had.

Cap came from a farm up at the top of Glen Lyon in Perthshire.  He was 2 when he came to us in April 2007.  From the start he was a gentle and friendly dog, a perfect temperament for a farm with lots of walkers passing through the farmyard and with lots of cottage guests bringing their dogs.

Out working with Farmer, he had a huge outrun, learned from gathering the big hills over long distances in Glen Lyon.   So he would always take a wide berth when gathering our hill, working up and down the cliffs with ease.

There was one thing he never could do, no matter how loud Farmer whistled or shouted.  He never could Stand.   Stand was the command to get him to stop still immediately.  I can still hear Farmer shouting 'Cap Stand. Stand. Cap Stand.'  To no avail!   He would just keep on going!

When he wasn't working, he liked to swim - whatever time of year.  And in his later years in the winter, we would avoid the lochan in case he decided to swim.

Cap also loved to play with a ball or a frisbee.  He was even known to carry one with him when he was out gathering along the coast!

When he and Jan had their puppies in March 2011, I put an advert in the Oban Times to try and find them good working homes.   A woman rang from the mainland, Ardnamurchan somewhere, and asked lots of questions.  She was very disappointed I wasn't the woman in Tobermory she had got a working dog from before, and then wanted to check that the puppies were from working parents.   I said they were. She said she hoped they weren't the sort of dogs that had toys.  I looked out the window and there was Cap in the farmyard playing with a ball!  Needless to say, she didn't take one of our puppies.

It feels like the end of an era on the farm.   But we are all extremely grateful to have had him for 12 years, and that he didn't suffer and was happy until the end.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Gathering for the lamb sales

It was the most beautiful morning and the gatherers set off at 8am.   Farmer texted me when they got to Port Haunn so I could go and fly the drone as they came up from the shore.   I missed that bit but I will do it next time!  Instead I was able to film them running through the heather.   As I am flying I can hear all the sounds of ewes and lambs calling, Farmer and the others whistling and commanding their dogs, but the drone film is silent!

The guests hadn't arrived for East, Middle and West so I was able to overfly.

What a view of Toechtamhor, with that snaking trail of ewes and lambs disappearing into the distance.

Drying the onions!

Caterpillars have been emerging on the nettles - eating their way out!  I didn't see any on these but we have been finding Knot grass caterpillars on the thistles and Prasad has found Painted lady caterpillars in his garden.

The cows are in the field below the house.  This was the last calf to be born!

Calling for a lamb..

The Knapweed and Devil's bit scabious have been amazing.  Such popular nectar plants at this time in the summer.

Lovely Goldenrod flowering in amongst the scabious.

And one final bloom on the Sea pink.

A white Devil's bit scabious near the boathouse.

The Herdwick lamb faces are getting whiter.

There are 4 sheep in the field beyond Haunn.  Whenever Farmer tries to gather them in to the Haunn field to join them up with the others, they leg it down to the shore.   Where they know he can't get at them.

Early morning light on Shieling wall.

A long day in the fank on Monday sorting out who is being sold and who is staying put.

Job done. 

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Another week goes by

I flew over a croft at Langamull to record the results of several years of hard graft, preparing a growing area in the middle of a devastated patch of felled forest.

The Heather is in full flower as seedheads of earlier flowers turn.

We catch the 8pm ferry from Oban back to Mull, as the MV Isle of Mull goes into harbour.

There is a huge patch of Comfrey in the veg garden which the bees love.

Whilst the Sparrows are enjoying the Fuchsia.

And we all enjoy Tobermory. Even if it is busy in the middle of the day!

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