Much needed rain finally arrived on Sunday and we awoke to a fine, but heavy, misty drizzle. The oppressively dull, dull grey around us made it seem (almost) easy to forget the weeks on end of bluer-than-blue skies we’ve had here. This, however, has been such a prolonged spell of glorious sun and warmth that the impact of a ‘proper’ summer (more like the ones I grew up knowing, as a child in Canada) had penetrated deep into the psyche and the bones.
Momentarily, our walk in warm sunshine two days ago, up the hill behind us for a picnic at Loch Airigh Uilleam, seemed like a dream.
The previous 7 weeks had been extraordinary, for this part of the world – an almost unbroken run of nearly cloudless skies and temperatures consistently high, above our wildest dreams. A daily paddle in the sea, to cool down, became our routine.
It was fascinating to watch a ‘fata morgana’ mirage across the Inner Sound, as it distorted the north tip of Skye (above), in a matter of seconds. I’d not seen this before we came here to Wester Ross and apparently it’s caused by the light rays being bent as they pass through a layer of warm air, which lies above a layer of much cooler air.
A perfect place for reflection – the little loch “Airigh Uilleam” atop the hill behind our croft. Clear, clear peaty waters and views for miles….
The caked and parched ground, normally soft and springy with vivid green mosses, delicate lichens and squelchy, sepia peat, has been rendered crunchy, hard and hollow-sounding underfoot by these past weeks of dry weather. These two images of the edge of Loch Airigh Uilleam clearly reveal the desiccated remains of ancient Caledonian Pine trunks, among heathers and beneath the cracked layers of peat and moss.
The hot, dry weather seems to have had a huge (negative!) impact on the midge population so far this summer, but it hasn’t deterred the stunning azure damselfly which is thriving on the loch, as ever. Above are 2 larvae, clinging to stems, before they emerge from the larval skin.