Volunteering on the Isle of May





Katey Whyte came out to the Isle of May for 2 1/2 weeks in August as a volunteer to help us with the running of the island, this is her view of the island and her time on it:
“As I prepared to head off for the Isle of May I was unsure what to expect of the next few weeks. But after following advice to pack the essentials for island life (waterproofs and a camera of course) I felt I was ready for whatever the island could throw at me!
However, it seemed getting there was not to be so easy! Bad weather meant the boat was cancelled for 5 days in a row! Eventually I did make it across, although slightly damp and bedraggled looking, on an exhilarating RIB ride in heavy rain. Later that day, as I was shown around the island, David continued to assure me that this place has some of the best weather in Scotland due to the rain on the mainland usually bypassing the island. I must admit I was pretty doubtful. (But then again, I was also doubtful of his story about the seals singing to themselves while they lie on the rocks…. Turns out they really do sing!)
Right from the beginning of my stay I was kept busy with a wide variety of jobs. From dry stone walling to wader counts, from meeting the boats to path maintenance, there is always something to be done on the Isle of May! And as the days went by I became more and more at home on the island. Soon life back on the mainland seemed very far away, and sure enough it wasn’t long before I was swapping my rain jacket for suncream and shades as the weather improved dramatically!
One of the many highlights of my stay was getting the unique opportunity to experience the island and its wildlife in all different times of day and weathers. I also enjoyed passing on my enthusiasm for the island to the visitors. It is a great feeling to see people leave on the boat happy and keen to visit again! My personal favourite treat though was getting to sit by the sea for several evenings and watch as minke whales swam back and forth feeding as the sun went down. Simply magical.Low points were few and far between. Although I think the worst day was when we discovered an injured gannet on Pilgrim’s Haven. (See previous blog entry ‘Unlucky Gannet’.) It was amazing to see such an impressive animal up close, but unfortunately we knew that with a badly broken wing there was little hope for it.
It is amazing how such a small place as the Isle of May can be full of so many spectacular sights, smells and sounds to experience. You can never be bored of it, so by the time it came for me to leave I really didn’t want to go! However, after a slight shove onto the boat I was on my way home, and already planning the next time I can make a visit back there again! “

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