By WharfedaleBex

Back to nature

The scenery was dramatic and the light stunning.  We took the scenic road around to Knock with our eyes peeled and ready to pull in. Our first stop was the astonishing sight of a frozen lochside. A thin layer of white crusted the edges of the water, stretching for metres inland in places. It was raised slightly off the ground as if the perfect combination of cold weather and receding tide had created it. 

We headed over the headland and into the bay of Loch Na Keal. I'm not sure what we spotted first, two otters heading inland or a couple of people with binoculars looking out. We chatted to the couple who said they'd walked closer and watched them for about an hour. At one point, there were four otters apparently.  Eventually, after they'd left, not wanting to crowd them, we crept a little closer but sure enough they didn't give a whisker! We watched them trooping in and out of the water pulling in one fish after another. There was a little cute back-rolling in the seaweed but generally, they were on a feeding fest and a pretty successful one at that!

It was hard to tear ourselves away but Little Dog's patience, without doubt, had earned her a decent walk so we headed along Loch Ba for a couple of miles, halting only for a few photos along the way and the cattle that determinedly blocked the track. Cold. Beautiful. Quiet. Another piece of solitude in what must be a very popular track in summer.

We headed back with beautiful sunshine brushing the tops and made our way back around the same scenic road to our cottage. 

We weren't far from home when a huge bird took a low flight path across the road and landed on a bouldery area next to the water with three hooded crows in tow. It was a juvenile sea eagle with something held tightly in its clawed fist. 

The crows were keen on the catch but the sea eagle barely had to wave its wing tips to keep them at bay.  We watched him eat as two, no three otters headed to shore. He eventually took off and the otters provided more amusement before heading home to catch the sunset.

While we waited, eating snacks by the window, a seal passed the time by jumping clear out of the water like an eager dolphin.

No sunset materialised but we felt no disappointment in that; we were too full up with the pleasures of nature, revelling in our serendipitous timings throughout the day.

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