Things I found on the island

Most backpacking trips involve a reassuring process of an increasingly lighter pack as the days pass by. Inevitably as food gets eaten, a pack is relieved of a several kilos, making the last few days generally easier going than the first. Our recent trip to Scarba reversed this trend as I left the island with more than I brought.

I would have been happy to bring back an antler as a souvenir so it felt like a lottery win when I found a red deer skull with both antlers intact. The carcass was in a sorry state in a desolate boggy area near the coast, if I hadn’t partially exhumed it, it would have probably remained there for years to come. A bit of elbow grease and treatment with peroxide have given it a new lease of life (as much as a dead thing can have a new lease of life).


The plan is to find a decent place to wall mount the skull, Pete suggested that the done thing is to do away with most of the skull with an angle grinder leaving just the crown and antlers. When mounted this places more emphasis on the antlers and probably is better on an aesthetic level. I’m going to leave it as it is for the time being, it seems like too grand a thing to alter at this moment in time.


There’s some intricately beautiful detail where the fontanels join, they almost look like contour lines on a map or a wildly meandering river. IMG_2753

On the other end of the spectrum I found a mostly intact skull of a seabird, the brittle thread-like bones had survived the elements and had avoided being bashed to bits by an otter. We think it was/is a razorbill.


A twisted stick of driftwood which had been made smooth by the sea caught my eye.


Last but by no means least was a three pointed antler that I found near a cave on the west coast, it’s now living above the fireplace and has been taken into Toby’s school for show and tell. I was going to take the full skull in but figured it would give half the kids nightmares.


Here’s one more photo of Scarba. or rather a few photos stitched together of the bothy sitting in its secluded bay at the base of the glen under a grumpy sky.

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All being well I’ll be taking young Toby for a wander round Gargareth in the Yorkshire Dales tomorrow, fingers crossed for some snow and sunlight.


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