Slip slidin’ away

Several times this winter high tides have coincided with storm force winds and re-arranged the topography of the beach and shingle coves at Ardivachar. Nothing too serious and although it has happened more frequently than hitherto, the coastal erosion has been minor. So although the Spring equinox gales are still on the horizon, I was beginning to think that the worst was over.
Since December we have had 472mm of rain, and although there is standing water in most of the machair fields we have had no serious flooding. On the sandy west coast the water just slowly percolates away, but this winter we have had so much rain that the fields have become waterlogged.

The torrential rain over the last few days and the subsequent run-off was responsible for this landslip on the edge of one of my fields yesterday. This area is quite fragile and we’ve been working hard to stabilise the bank for the last 3 years. So its back to square one. Fortunately there are probably more JCBs, tractors and trailers per capita on this island than anywhere else in the UK, so with a little help we should be able to at least bridge the gap.

Apart from this little civil engineering problem, it was a lovely sunny morning and we were serenaded by a skylark as we inspected the damage.

P.S. This area is not near the cottage or the house.

11 thoughts on “Slip slidin’ away

  1. Ah – just saw this before I switched off. What a shame – although in the overall scheme of things perhaps it is ‘only’ a minor setback. What have you been doing to stabilise it – planting?

    • The plan is too fill the base with rock and top with a thick layer of sods of tussock grass. Fortunately we had just finished taking the top layer of grass and earth of an area by the house, so this will form a good infill and the tough grass should help knit it together. That’s the plan, we just hope that the rock will help the drainage at the lower levels to stop further collapse.
      Our shore edge in the southern half of the croft is a sand bank, originally it would have been a dune edge but this has eroded away. Normally the damage is done by the sea and the wind, so reinforcing the bank with stone and covering any exposed areas with grass normally effective. We also have to keep off stray sheep – so I’m a part time sheep dog in the winter (barks replaced by an assortment of incoherent shouts and curses). This is the first time we’ve seen damage from water drainage, although there is some similar damage further down the beach beyond the croft.
      There’s a big tide this weekend so we’re hoping that we’re not in for more unpleasant surprises!

  2. The positive is you had sky larks to serenade you and a beautiful day

  3. First time I have visited your blog and intend to follow. It must be very difficult to sustain things at the western edge of the known universe. My mother, who is still going at the age of 87 comes from Stornoway where her family lived for many generations and I have taken her back a few times although I must say she was not too impressed. Look forward to more inspirational stuff in the future.

    • Thank you for visiting, you’re welcome to drop in any time. Sadly Stornoway does not have too much to recommend it to anyone. A great pity it could be stunning.

  4. Just ‘liked’ this and decided that didn’t seem quite right! Sorry about the damage, glad you’ve got help to sort it out. I’d also be interested to know how you stabilise the ground…Around me, things like willows get used to stabilise river banks but it doesn’t look like the right sort of spot for that!!

  5. It’s sad to see, especially if you have been working hard to protect it. The weather may sometimes be harsh, but it must be a wonderful place to live.

    • There are times when life is so frustrating, especially when the weather destroys all your hard work. It is “character building” but not terribly good for the blood pressure. It is a fantastic place to live, you just take the weather as part of the package!

  6. Awful about the erosion but how beautiful it is round there. And skylarks , how lovely. They always take me straight back to childhood when they were such a familiar sight and sound. Alas no longer.
    I hope you don’t get any more storms this spring.

  7. When Mother Nature decides to shift things about, we mere mortals must simply get out of her way! Water is an awesome force. Glad it is not near your abode. Hang in there! Diane
    PS Best make my soup recipe posted just now on my site…;-)

    • It is quite disturbing when you see the effects of the weather on our coastline.

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