A Lewis Year: Four Seasons Six Species One Day

September 21, 2009

Fortunately, excursions to the Outer Hebrides aren’t made or broken by the weather…for dour folk, the Hebrideans are weather optimists: whatever comes next, it won’t be the same twice. Very like the sport. After grouse, the odd snipe or passing plover, and a whatever the collective noun is for 3 salmonid species, we’d stretched FlyBe’s weight limit with kit and headed north.
All I can say is we didn’t see snow. There were plenty of coveys – Scottish National Heritage‘s commitment to mink trapping real seems to be paying off with groups of 5 or 6 replacing the twos and threes of previous seasons (turn numbers are on the up, too). The wind was determined to make its presence a factor: moments of absolute stillness, broken by the midges, had the dogs befuddled by lack of scent. A couple of hours later, and we had birds out-racing Superman and needed elastic for our hats. In between, we managed some excellent shooting, bagging braces of birds in great condition.
The variety of fishing normally offered by the island’s lochs, burns and rivers from boat and shore was supplemented by the challenge of a generous wind. It provided some excellent gifts (two minutes of video of our man in the Hebrides clinging to a rock by his prehensile Northern toes, fishing all the while…priceless), and plenty of brown trout. Their larger cousins rolled at the occasional fly, but stayed warm and wet out of the wind.
Well worth it for the sighting of a sea eagle and a peregrine sharing the same sky, not to mention stags, seals and numerous golden eagles, we still have a couple of spaces for walked up woodcock for this season, and are booking up fast for next year’s grouse over pointers. Get in touch and go wild.