A pleasant green scene greeted my arrival, as I winged in on the helicopter to start my new job as this season’s NTS Ranger.
All the buildings on the Base have been painted dark green over the winter, replacing the battleship grey. The only exception is the Trust’s ablutions block which is plonked outside the old Factor’s House where I am living.
I’ve been here two weeks now and am quickly getting to know the people, what the job entails and the whole island. The weather has been a real bonus; sun and blue sky every day but with a bitingly cold wind. I can sunbathe but still need the thermals on!
The easterly winds have blown in some unexpected bird visitors; a grey heron, a robin and a woodpigeon. They must be feeling out of place with no frogs to eat (there are no amphibians on the islands), no spades to perch on and no trees!
The Soay Sheep Project has five fieldworkers here at present. They are all armed with walkie talkies and shepherds crooks used in the precision operation to capture and tag all the new lambs. Hard work as they are wild animals and fast! I helped out one morning with my fresh legs and caught two. That earned me two gold stars to wear with pride!
The wrecked trawler Spinningdale is still a prominent feature in Village Bay.
No evidence of rats has been found 12 weeks after it ran aground so I’ve collected up all the traps. What fate awaits the wreck is still under discussion.
While quietly reading in the office one day I got my first sighting of the unique St. Kilda field mouse. They moved into the houses when the house mouse became extinct shortly after the 1930 evacuation. Two came out bold as brass and eyed up my shoes for chewing.
Apparently they’re all over the house, going on the large piles of droppings that were hoovered up from round the radiators after the winter!
It’s been a brilliant first fortnight and I’m now looking forward to meeting all the visitors who are due to start arriving in earnest next week. Angus Campbell has bought a new boat, the ‘Orca II’, and is doing three day trips a week throughout the season. His old boat has been bought by Seamus ? and renamed the ‘Island Princess’. He’s doing day trips over as well. Crikey, hope I don’t come down with laryngitis.