I have been hearing this all week from the 6 that came over to the island to see wild and go wild. The 6 were Siobhan, Gillian, Gill, Brendan, Lynne and Natalie (Tinkerbell to some) and they are all Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) employees who "volunteered" to come to the island to help us get the island tidied up for the visitor season while learning all about National Nature Reserves and the Isle of May specifically. Every year we open up the chance to spend a week working on the island to everyone that works for SNH and these 6 were the "lucky ones" selected. They came from all parts of SNH and brought with them an enthusiasm that meant that we needed a plan for every minute of the day. And wild it was.
It started with the boat trip to the island being delayed by half a day due to the wind - the half day being profitably spent in the great Crail pottery plus various coffee shops and eating houses. Their first evening was celebrated with a good view of the Isle of May's 3rd record of a red kite going over. The day after they arrived things really kicked off with a force 8/9 gale that made it difficult working in most parts of the island but gave some spectacular sights of crashing waves.Despite this the visitor centre was painted outside and in and the veg garden was refenced, bordered and planted with potatoes. Over the next couple of days they also made some tern nesting platforms up at the Beacon, carried out path work, cleaned large stretches of beach and painted the boardwalks while also cooking up some fabulous meals that Keith Harris would have given his right hand for. They even ended up spending an extra night on the island when the wind yesterday stopped them for leaving. So they went off this morning, back to the real world but hopefully their experience of the Isle of May will resonate for sometime to come.
|Brendan and Natalie working in the garden.|
|Natalie and Gillian making up frames for tern platforms.|
|It is like ground force all over again - the garden takes shape.|
|Gill plants the potatoes while Siobhan rakes (?)|
|Some views of the storm from last Tuesday.|