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The Spark of Spring
Posted on: 23rd March, 2018
This week brought the Vernal Equinox to the northern hemisphere, marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring here in the Outer Hebrides. The current weather conditions may beg to differ, but we’re looking forward to longer and better days nonetheless.
The new season brings with it new life across the island. Seabirds are beginning to appear, arriving on our shores from their winter migrations. Suddenly, the cliffs and off-shore breeding colonies are full of Fulmars, Kittewakes, Puffins, Gannets, Great Skuas, Guillemots and Terns…
Shoals of sand-eels fill the sea, helping feed all the migrants as they prepare to nest in their favourite places like nearby St Kilda and the Shiants, while under the waves, our key Isle of Harris Gin botanical, Sugar Kelp, is putting on a growth spurt. These wonderful green-gold fronds are enjoying the slowly warming sea water and extra hours of sunlight, creating a safe haven on the seabed for juvenile crabs, lobster and fish.
On the land there is new life too, as the first lambs begin to appear, born to proud Blackface mothers. They quickly find their feet, feeding on colostrum and milk as they grow. Soon, they’ll be seen running and bounding in gangs across our crofts with unbridled glee.
Here at the distillery in Tarbert, there is a sense of renewal also as we prepare for a fresh influx of visitors. With the new season comes the first tourists to travel the long roads and seas northward to our door.
We welcome their arrival and the opportunity to share our story with more new friends once more. Our tours begin again in April and in the Canteen our spring menu introduces new dishes using fresh, local produce including smoked mackerel, salmon, cheeses and pates.
To toast the turn of the seasons we'll have a spring-themed Martini recipe to share with you next week. Created by James and Neil at Edinburgh’s 56 North bar, the forthcoming Tarbert Sunset is a fresh and exceptionally tasty homage to the brighter island evenings which lie ahead.
Join us then!
All Images © Lewis Mackenzie.
Please visit his website for great charter trips and wildlife photography. www.hebridesfishntrips.co.uk
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