Very stiff and sore, we made a 5.30 a.m. departure, arriving at Caerlaverock at about 1.15 p.m. despite a humungus diversion east, in an enormous loop, off the A17. Don't know why....
Caerlaverock WWT reserve is primarily for a wintering flock of Barnacle Geese, the first returnees arrived in Norway on April 11. Very quiet place to-day in a cold NE wind, overcast sky with occasional heavy showers. A single Whooper Swan remained amongst the large flock of Mute.
We found 3 White Wagtails, a single Sedge Warbler, 1 female Yellowhammer and a small flock of Siskin. No sign of any Avocets this year.
We stayed the night at Dumfries Travelodge, retiring to bed at 9 ready for an early start in the morning.
Another 5.30 departure, re-fuelling the car, buying papers etc at the next door garage before an empty motorway to Glasgow. The latter was easily bypassed, they seem to have built more trunk roads leading to the Loch Lomond road north, we used to have to negotiate a fair bit of the city.
Breakfast beside Loch Lomond was beautiful. Morning sun not strong enough to disperse the mist hanging over the lake and mountains. An extra bonus was a male Goosander, floating in the mist before a small boat put it to flight.
The road to Crianlarich hugs the loch shore, narrow, wet and twisty. The winter frosts have made the surface evn more potholed than usual - but it's very beautiful. As is the road to Oban, fast and undulating through moorland, bogs, rushing streams and brooding mountains. Only a little snow left on the occasional top.
Time to bird en route, picking up our first Common Sandpiper and Raven (me only, oh dear !!). After shopping in Tesco - specially petrol which is exorbitant on Mull - and ticking a Black Guillemot, we queued for the ferry. People seemed to have done so very early and departed for the town, many cars in ront of us, all empty.
Parking on the ferry is sardine tin like, still don't know how I got out and through the cars to climb two flights of steep stairs. We usually climb another two flights and sit on the deck for the crossing. It was raining and cold so we sat at a window seat in the cafe, the others were full.
Mull in the rain..... unusual for us. After leaving Craignure, we still diverted and drove down to Grass Point. Just a calling Cuckoo and Wheatear to-day.
All roads to Fionnphort are single track, very narrow so punctuated by diving into passing places, especially for the coaches returning from Iona. Only three to-day. A couple of handsome Great Northern Divers lit up the journey to Pennyghail PO where we can usually see some birds on the loch and marsh. Greenshank, Golden Plovers and Red -Breasted Merganser to-day.
We arrived at Seaview Guesthouse, Fionnphort, greeted by John and a welcoming Megan (brown Lab) who kept coming to see us. We loved it but John was embarrassed.
Breakfast is booked for 7.30 in the morning, we'll decide where to go when we see the weather.