Once we got off the speedboat at Puffin Island, my mother rode up the little hill with our hostess while my dad, husband and I walked. Puffins were flying around and I could barely contain myself. We were there because of my obsession with puffins, so I couldn’t wait to get inside and settled a little bit so that I could go out and attempt to take pictures. Once we got inside with all our things, we were more formally introduced to our hostess Louise. She had a lovely accent and very friendly demeanor. She explained the ins and outs of how things would work. First, we were asked to remain on the paths so as to not disturb or possibly harm the puffins’ nesting areas. Also, she would be staying in the house with us. We’d all be sharing a bathroom. Not something I’m too fond of, but it was necessary and I figured I could deal with it for a couple days to see puffins. ­čśÇ The toilet was a composting toilet which I was admittedly afraid of. I have my standards! But again, I was willing to deal with it because I knew I’d be rewarded with the opportunity to observe puffins in real life. And it turns out it wasn’t as scary as expected. Our bedrooms were upstairs, steep stairs. So, we all decided that we didn’t need to take our bags up. We simply took what we needed as we needed.

Since we were basically settled in, I wasted no time and I went out. The weather was perfect. I heard that it had been miserable the day before. So we lucked out. I was shutter happy. “Shutter happy” is an adjective used to describe an individual who, when in the midst of a photo opportunity, can’t control┬áthe urge to push the shutter release button. I was like a kid in the toy store, grabbing every chance I could to snap. And, it probably comes as no surprise, but I was not always so successful. My heart raced from the excitement. Who gets that excited about such things? Well, I guess I do. They are magnificent little creatures, and I enjoyed seeing them more than they enjoyed seeing me.

I also got a few pictures of guillemots that were also hanging out on the cliffs with the puffins. But let’s face it, they weren’t my real interest though I appreciated the added bonus.

Later my husband came looking for me. As if I could go anywhere. We were on a teeny tiny island in the middle of the water. And, I had no intentions of swimming for it. He walked with me as I continued to chase puffins with my camera, and then it started raining. We stayed out as long as we could without melting and then went inside. Louise was preparing dinner, so we all sat at the table looking out the window. Even in the rain, it was a beautiful scene.┬áThe rain didn’t last long, so I went out again.

Because we were caught up in the scenery, the weather, and the birds, we opted to wait a little while for dinner. The sun was setting and it was absolutely breathtaking. It’s not that I’ve never seen a sunset, but this was one I was able to truly revel in. There were no loud noises, except the sounds of the water and seabirds. There were no street lights. No cars going by. Nothing getting in the way of the view.


Eventually, we would have to go inside. And soon we were surrounded by darkness. Dinner was ready, and we sat down to a lovely table setting. We started with fish soup. Yuck! I am not a fish person. When Louise wasn’t looking, I swapped my husband’s empty bowl with mine. She saw me. Oops! We were then served grilled chicken bruschetta and vegetables which included broccoli, my favorite. ­čÖé For dessert, we had strawberry mousse and there was something else chocolate, but I didn’t eat it.

Puffin Island really agreed with me so far!


Isle of Mull: A Dawn Delight

Rise and not shine. We got up before dawn with a plan to shoot morning colors in the sky. I couldn’t wait because I knew we’d see something special. I was bundled up in my coat with several layers underneath and my Wellington boots. This would be my first time wearing them and I was excited about the possibilities.

As we headed down the road, I could see the large loch on the right and rolling hills on the left. At one point I saw a waterfall on the left and hoped we’d be able to go there. Strangely enough, the highlight was not the loch or the waterfall or the sun. In fact, the sun was hiding behind mountains, only setting free a few rays to show it was there. So instead the highlight for me was the Highland cows we saw grazing. I’ve never seen a more stylish and mellow animal as these. I call them stylish because of their hair/fur. Their eyes were hidden at times as they grazed and curiously watched the paparazzi snapping photos everywhere.

I watched them, too. They may have looked calm and mellow, but you can never be too sure, especially if you’re a chicken like me. Look at those horns. Can you imagine the damage they could do to a person? In any case, I got as close as I could without invading their space though someone suggested I get down to eye level. I would suggest that that someone keep his/her suggestions to him/herself. I mean, this was serious progress for me. I don’t normally get up close and personal with animals of any kind.

Moving on, we headed to another location farther down. Snow capped mountains and sparkles on the water. ┬áThat was the scene of our next stop. I got out, teeth chattering and eyes watering. It was beautiful. But, it needed to get closer to the water to really get some nice shots. I started walking and heard my toes breaking into many pieces. I’m guessing they were frozen. Just a little. Or a lot. Not only that, but there was a great deal do seaweed, slippery seaweed lining the entire way down. Under that, slippery rocks. I took a few steps and decided to cut my losses and turn around. The possibilities played out in my head and they all ended with me hitting the ground, landing on my back while looking up at a magnificent sky and unable to reach my camera to take a shot of it. I pictured the headlines: Photography Fail: Crazy American Falls While Attempting to Take Photos in Scotland. So going back to the van seemed to be a more dignified choice.

At least I saw the cows, right?

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