We reached Scourie without incidents, and we dropped off Roland at the B&B. Tasha, Antony and I pitched our tents on the camping site only a stone's throw away. And in a whiffy we were ready for a Scottish snifter and a pre-fieldwork meeting in the local and depressing hotel pub.
The campsite that evening, with our three tents and the rental car in the foreground
Three pints of beer allowed me to check it was a beautiful early morning. A bit later in the morning we got up, and gathered at the stove for coffee, tea, and jam sandwiches by means of breakfast. And not much later we got our first view of the marsh of our choice. Upon reaching it, Tasha inserted a benchmark, and placed the GPS on top of it to find out where exactly it was, while Antony showed Roland and me around. A beautiful landscape with beautiful marshes in beautiful weather! What more could one ask for. But we had to get moving. We only had two field days!
The first view on our marsh - on the other side of the water
The men cored a transect while the girls started taking surface samples. And we moved like the wind! By lunchtime (oatcakes with tuna and cheese!) we had finished the sample bags, and the men had cored all the way to the other side of the horizon. We decided that the best thing to do now was try the local shop for more sample bags, while the others would search for basal peat. I was the designated driver, so I enjoyed a walk over the sandflats, as tide had dropped by now. I cleared the shop of any remotely suitable bag and returned to see amazing progress. We were nailing it! But there we also signs of wear and tear; we had not expected this while planning this trip, but it was thirst, sunburn and overheating that drained our powers. I was scurrying around in shorts and a T-shirt!
The surroundings with low tide
Our marsh with some surveying kit on it
For some reason we found several bands of washed-up crab cadavers on the marsh. None of us saw even one live one! No idea what had caused that.
We would not finish that day. But no need for that. We went back to the village for a shower, a meal in the hotel pub, and another snifter. This was my chance to try haggis! And I like it. After the food Roland wisely retired, and I intended to follow that example, but that honourable intention was thwarted by Antony who felt like a game of darts or pool or whatever Brits like to do in pubs; accompanied by several pints of course. I tried to resist but he shamelessly threw in all his merciless masculine charm. Do I need to mention I was chanceless, and we went from pub to pub while the sunset outside was stunning? The camping site had a pub too; even more soulless than the previous one, and inhabited by a.o. a bloke from Durham (from a rival college!) and a woman that struck fear into all that came close.
My haggis, neeps and tatties! And a very pleased Roland behind it.