Challenges – easterly winds, food and funding

After our big towing event on Thursday, yesterday I downed oars and spent the day drying clothes, resting a dodgy knee with a kelp bandage on and enjoying the sun. Wanting to have a day enjoying the beauty of the island I set myself the challenge to ignore the remaining litter on the beach. Keeping this in mind Cal and I spent the afternoon meandering from rock pool to rock pool enjoying the wide variety of rocks that make up the pebbles and cobbles on the beach. Eventually we climbed the biggest rocks at the north end of the beach jutting into deep water where I dangled a fishing line into the clear water for a few hours, looking into the sea became mesmerising, spotting sea urchins anemones and starfish all clinging tight to the rocks, unfortunately the only fish I saw were smaller than the fly’s on my hooks .

IMG_2636   kelp knee   sea anenome   IMG_2647

Living on an island and not having caught a fish to eat feels a great omission especially as I realised my stock of food was running low, fortunately there was/is plenty of biscuits and coffee left. But the nagging question is where are the Mackerel surely there should be a source of sea food on an island?

Today I woke looking forward to rowing the dinghy and towing the remaining three litter lines off Isle Martin to Ardmair. My plan soon had to be re-configured to accommodate the strong easterly winds that had set in, the next job on the list was to remove the un-connectable bits of litter mounded up on the beach but how?

Thankfully my project has been supported by John a generous boatman  who today offered to tow the mounds back behind his yacht. So the tangles of rope, net, shoes, hats and plastic boxes were ferried out to bedeck John’s boat. The luxury crossing only taking 30 minutes even in the choppy seas, once moored the reverse dinghy to shore process was quickly carried out making sure we were also able to make the opening of a new exhibition of work ‘Source’ by artist Barbara Peffer at An Talla Solais few miles away in Ullapool.

IMG_2665   IMG_2668   IMG_2667   John in his boat



As I still have litter lines waiting to be towed to the mainland and I need to collect my kit together to head back on the road this coming wee, to follow the recycling journey. I decided to return to the island tonight if possible. As the wind seemed to have dropped a little I decided one last evening crossing would be possible. I quickly wheeled the dinghy down the slipway on a sack trolley with me underneath it like a turtle until reaching the seaweed on which I could smoothly launch it into the water. As soon as I was in the boat I realised the tide was still pulling and that the easterly wind was picking up. Both causing me to quickly assess my route across, so I headed into the wind as I knew I would soon get pulled quickly in the direction of the island once beyond the protection of the moorings. No time to think of seals, surrounding landscapes and nearby seabirds tonight only pulling as hard as I could and holding my course and nerve.

Saturday night loch

On reaching the safety of the pontoon in record time fueled by a massive adrenalin rush I began to think how essential it is to have a powered boat  for anyone to be able to live on Isle Martin, Accessibility to the island is a necessity for the Trust to be able to develop their work here. Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Trust and myself is to raise funds  to be able to develop our projects!
Crowd funding has been the prime funding source for this second stage of my project together with the in kind support from individuals like John Mcintyre, Dave Falkoner and all the skiff rowers plus organisations like An Talla Solais, Ullapool Harbour Trust, Ullapool Museum, Ullapool High School. For which I am hugely indebted a massive thank you!  At the end of a long day/week I see my biggest challenge after  rowing across a lively sea is to find funding to enable the project to continue and to follow the strong lines of investigation developing. Any ideas please get in touch!

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