Saturday, July 21, 2007

Isle of May

So, Friday (i.e. yesterday) I got up at some horrible hour in the morning, and walked to Waverley train station to meet up with Thomas at 6:45am. We were on a tight schedule:

7:06-8:09Scotrail train, Edinburgh -> Leuchars
8:34-8:45Stagecoach bus #99, Leuchars -> St. Andrews
8:55-9:16Stagecoach bus #X26, St. Andrews -> Anstruther
10:00Isle of May Ferry to The May, weather permitting

Of course, I got so absorbed in my knitting (and Thomas was asleep) that I missed our train stop at Leuchars and we ended up in Dundee. Somehow, we made it back to Leuchars in enough time to catch the #99, miss the X26 (and take #95 instead) and board the ferry, which amazingly took off, and even landed at the Isle of May. They cancel some trips due to inclement weather.

More or less, despite my complete airheaded-ness, Thomas and I really lucked out.

The Isle of May has been a National Nature Reserve since 1956, and during the month of July is home to about a quarter million sea birds...even though it's only 1.5 kilometres long. I really just wanted to go for the puffins, but it ended up being a gorgeous day on the beautiful island which had lots of paths and all sorts of birds. We ended up seeing: arctic terns, shags, puffins, different sorts of gulls, kittiwakes, gannets, gray seals, and one razorbill.

Gray Seals around the South Horn
Gray seals hanging around the South Horn. The May is also a breeding ground for seals.

Curious seal head
Made curious by the ferry landing, a seal pokes his head above the water and watches us.

Nesting terns
The white specks are all terns. I have never seen so many birds in my entire life.


Flying Puffins

Puffins sitting on a roof

Two puffins

Puffins chilling
I think they're awesome.

Cave of baby gulls
This cave was full of baby gulls...and parent gulls flying to and from the feeding grounds.

Nestled amongst the cliffside of the cave of baby gulls were these three shags. I think they're shags, anyways.

A scene from The May
After the sun showed up, the Isle of May was quite beautiful


Modern Lighthouse
Modern castle-style lighthouse

Baby gulls
Note the baby gulls in the lower-right corner. They didn't like us standing so close.

Me on the undercut cliff
That's me standing on a path that goes over/near an undercut cliff. The fabulous silly purple hat I'm wearing is what I was making on the made an appearance in the previous SnB post.

Attacking Terns

By far the best moment of the whole trip was being attacked by nesting Arctic Terns (which is actually why I made/wore a hat). They attack the highest point on your body, so we avoided this by holding rolled up posters in the air, and allowing the terns to attack that. The following photo is Thomas being attacked by two Arctic Terns. They actually pulled some of his hair!!

Thomas being attacked by Arctic Terns
This scene still makes me laugh hysterically.

After three hours on the isle, we went back to Anstruther. A ranger released a baby puffin onto the water once we were far enough from other birds (that would likely try to eat it). Baby puffins live in burrows in the ground, and when they've had enough, they leave in the middle of the night and go out to sea for three years. Sometimes they get a bit lost and the rangers help them out.

Isle of May
The Isle of May from the Ferry


Anstruther, just another cute fishing village in Fife...with Scottish Tablet ice cream (mmmm...). The weather was nice, so naturally the town was full of old people just off a tour bus.

Anstruther from the ferry


Anstruther Harbour

Colorful cottages in Anstruther

We returned to St. Andrews and walked along the Old Course for a bit, and then back along the shore. The International Students trip went to St. Andrews last weekend, so I'm not going to put up too many photos of there. Next weekend, the Women's British Open is in St. Andrews Old Course. This weekend the Carnoustie Open was up in...Carnoustie.

St. Andrews Old Course
St. Andrews Old Course

My hostel was like, half a mile away from town which is somewhat annoying, but I only had to walk there and back twice, so I'm not too upset. £25 did get me my own room though, which is nice.

St. Andrews

After breakfast Thomas and I couldn't resist a chance to play on St. Andrews Women's Course (don't worry, I'm fluent in pompous-ass-ish; "women's course" translates to "miniature golf").

St. Andrews Womens Course

Me playing St. Andrews Womens Course
Action shot!

Once I got accustomed to the natural greens, I stopped sucking so much and ended up beating Thomas. It was an easy course.

I find it kinda amusing, the way all golfers' wives dress identically.

We eventually did make it back to Edinburgh, and now I am exhausted. Good night.

1 comment:

rainmelon said...

Your pictures are making me so incredibly jealous. And just so pretty.
Yay miniature golf. And puffins. They are cute.