For the last week I have been away from the garden having a ‘Digital Detox’ on The Isle of Carna with Diane and four other friends. Carna is a small island lying in Loch Sunart, nestled between the Ardnamurchan and Morvern peninsulas on the West Coast of Scotland. Although now a place known for its peace and seclusion the island is packed with history stretching back to being formed up to a billion years ago! The island is a 600 acre mosaic of wildlife rich habitats including traditional wildflower meadows, Birchwood, Pinewood and internationally important Atlantic Oakwoods, heather moorland, peatland, hill grazing, many burns and some bogs. All of which is open to explore.
There are only three houses on the island, two of which are available to rent, located on the gentle and sheltered eastern side. The above cottage is the one we stayed in and with no electricity, no land lines and no mobile signals you are totally disconnected from the rest of the world; a complete digital detox! The cottage does have bottled gas providing lights downstairs and cooking, open fires for heating and candles in the bedrooms. With no roads on Carna and just an old tractor to help move luggage and supplies, there are no traffic worries, and the sounds of the shore, the sea breeze and the abundant wildlife is all that we had to contend with. The view from the cottage across Loch Sunart to part of the Scottish mainland that has no roads and is virtually empty of human inhabitants.Everywhere we looked the colours are stunning.The loch is tidal enabling many walks along the shoreline and an ever changing landscape as the water rises and falls.At low tides the seaweed provides an extra colour dimension to the scene.
We scaled the 170m (550ft) summit of Cruachan Chàrna, the hill behind our cottage, for stunning views over the loch and open Atlantic Ocean.The cottage as seen on the walk down Cruachan Chàrna.There are many different habitats on the island that can be explores via a network of tracks and trails most of which are rarely visited by human footsteps.
We kept a list of all the birds we saw and identified. It was great seeing the Golden Eagles in their natural habitat and the sound of the Cuckoo, no longer heard in Leicestershire, could be heard all day.
|Sea Eagle||House Martin||Sparrowhawk|
|Common Gull||Robin||Great Tit|
|Willow Warbler||Reed Bunting|
|Pied Wagtail||Great Black-backed Gull|
The start of May is probably a little early for the majority of wild flowers. The following photos are some of the more interesting we identified.
Otters and seals
Provided with the cottage is a boat with an outboard motor which can be used to explore the island and surrounding lochs.
Common Seals rested on many of the rocks around Carna. Otters are much harder to see as they tend to be much shyer. Using binoculars it was often possible to see them feeding and playing across the water from the cottage. To photograph them well required either luck or a very long telephoto lenses neither of which we had. However, the following photographs capture the otters although the quality is poor.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at The Isle of Carna.