Thursday 28 April 2011

Nature Holiday on Islay - Tim, Jo, Alfie and Freddie Madgwick

The Trust was delighted to receive the following email and photographs from the Madgwick family...

We visited Islay for a family holiday last week 16th-23rd April and we wanted to share some of our experiences from our stay.
Watching Bottle Nosed Dolphins off Port Askaig
On Sunday 17th April we were crabbing at Port Askaig harbour, just after the 8pm ferry had cleared its decks of the latest arrivals to the island. It was to our surprise that we spotted 5 dolphin like shapes swimming around in the water close to the ferry. We rushed over for a better look and sure enough they were swimming around enjoying themselves, arching out of the water so that we could see them in all their splendour. We weren't the only people present, another couple were witness to this amazing spectacle. I've attached a photo of the family at Port Askaig with a dolphin fin showing to the right.

Alfie and Freddie Madgwick
The following night, at the same location during another crabbing session we spotted a small head bobbing up and down in the water. It appeared too small to be a seal and it then swam towards us and on to some rocks so that we could clearly see that it was an otter. It was as interested in us as we were in it and appeared to entertain us with his swimming skills. Later the otter (Oscar we named it) ran across the pier right in front of us, having just stolen some clams from a trawler. It then re-appeared a few minutes later from the ramp to the Jura ferry and proceeded to run the length of the pier and disappeared off the end. We shared this incredible show with a gentleman who said he'd waited 55 years to see that sight. He'd spotted the otter from outside the hotel and had run over to enjoy the show.

An action shot of a 'Green Bug' Activity Pack
On a trip to the American Monument the following day, on the advice of the gentleman from the night before, we parked up about a mile short of the car park and after about 10 minutes we spotted in the far distance two huge birds of prey that we soon realised were Golden Eagles. They were enjoying the beautiful day and warm air currents to soar above and around our position. Their size was noticeable from quite a distance and our two boys couldn't believe their luck. This was their 3rd visit to the island and the first definate sighting of a Golden Eagle. The birds gradually disappeared from view as they moved up the valley. It was a very memorable experience.
During our week stay we saw so many amazing wildlife sights, too numerous to list. We'll be back in April 2012 to enjoy the natural beauty of Islay, Jura and Colonsay.
With best wishes
Tim, Jo, Alfie and Freddie Madgwick

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