Carol is one of Curlew Country’s dedicated volunteers, who spends time in the season looking for signs of nesting curlew, as well as helping us with headstarting our chicks. Our volunteers are vital to keeping our work moving forward, and we are so grateful for their input!
The mist lifts as the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry navigates into the Harbour. Goat Fell’s jagged summit is just visible in the watery sunshine. This is Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. Puddles on the lanes and lush foliage, indicate its high rainfall, we will be lucky if we can climb its largest hill without getting soaked.
Down from the bay is a campsite, a stones throw from the beach. With waves smashing on the shingle and intermittent squally showers, as soon as the tent is in place, the warmth of the hotel restaurant is too enticing to resist.
Aided by good whisky, a fish supper and a cosy sleeping bag, it is possible to have a few hours rest and when revived sufficiently, to experience dawn: the sea creeping across the shore and the calls of waders. So many waders; redshanks, oystercatchers, dunlins and curlews. All feeding amongst the salty spray, they survive in this place as they have done for years, delighting all who rise early to experience their waking.
That day we climbed Goat Fell, waterproofs were as damp inside as out. Not until we reached the summit did shafts of sunlight illuminate the valleys below for a few minutes, revealing a land of grey rocks and red deer, but my lasting memories of Arran will be the area between the land and sea and the magical calls of the waders.