Rude not to

What a difference a day makes. This is how I always think of February on the West Coast: Crisp, clear and bright. Frosty mornings with a hint of warmth in the sun, almost coats-off weather in the middle of the day.

February hasn’t really played the game this year with a succession of storms, named and unnamed, pushing through, past and over us. We haven’t had a power cut – I can’t imagine they’d want to miss out on the £££ they’re charging us these days – but we have had lots of small lakes where usually are puddles. So how fabulous it was to wake up to blue skies this morning. It was also flat calm and high tide, which can mean only one thing: the kayak’s first outing of 2023, and course work be damned.

All was so quiet in the bay; there are very few seabirds about at the moment after the avian flu epidemic has ripped through them, though I did see several shags and a fair few gulls. Let’s hope the numbers will begin to recover and that it doesn’t continue the way it did last summer.

Swaddled in duvet jacket and woolly scarf I soon got hot, so stopped on a tiny stretch of beach on the edge of Strathan Bay and disrobed for a glorious few minutes on a sunny rock. The recent storms have washed up the usual debris which blows up above the high tide mark or gets entangled in the seaweed. Much of it is from fish farms. If you must eat fish, guys, make sure it’s not farmed. The amount of pollution is simply not justified. I found a large, orange fish-food sack so I stuffed it with all the bits I could find: rope from fishing boats); assorted plastic items and one or two bits that could just as easily be from tourists (or even locals) – coke cans, plastic cups, a margarine tub – and paddled them back in the kayak. It’s a drop in the ocean – literally. As one of my heroes, Sir David, says, humans really are a plague on Earth.

It is difficult not to be cheerful, though, when the sun returns after a long absence and it’s set to stay good all week. I’ll be paddling to work tomorrow morning, which I haven’t managed to do for some time. Hello, spring!