We're into March already and although the weather is coming at us with its usual vigour, we are slightly encouraged by the stretching day length - at long last - though there's still plenty of the winter to come.

I often wonder how people coped in winter hundreds of years back, living in the rough stone huts, the ruins of which now cover Mull in their hundreds. However wet and cold we get, you always know that once you are home, it will be warm, dry and dinner will be ready. It's always very humbling to walk the silent deserted glens, passing by the ruined townships that once were homes of so many hardy people, victims of an agricultural and economic disaster on a massive scale, when things were so bad that to leave, or being forced to leave, was the only option for most.

Back in real time, there's still plenty to keep everyone busy, and thankfully some undercover jobs for the worst days. The mussel ropes will need reconditioned, this is a task that occupies every bad weather day through our winter months, on better days we've got boats to overhaul, moorings to replace and mussel sites to inspect for storm damage. This week we have one boat on the slipway for a new shaft bearing and a paint-up. With any luck we will be starting the first harvest next week - fingers crossed...

inverlussa sunrise

The autumn is with us now on Mull, the red deer are rutting and the roaring of the stags carries for miles, echoing through the mountain glens. And to our relief it’s been exceptional weather, so far we’ve had six weeks of more or less calm dry days and on the better ones, sunrises worth getting up in the dark for.


Our harvesting of marketable mussels has all but finished for present and the rest of the year will be occupied with mussel husbandry, machinery repairs, overhauling boats and reconditioning mussel ropes for next year. On top of this, some of the older moorings on the mussel lines are around 20 years old now, and we really need to replace some of them. Plenty to do guys!

Although the shortening days and disappearing plankton which the mussels feed on will slow down the growth of mussels and also most other filter feeding shellfish, we always hope that as least it may slow down the growth of the other unwelcome shellfish visitors, which the mussels are host to.  The barnacles and tube worms which can grow on the mussel shells don’t cause any harm, however they do give the cooks more work in preparing, and we are always trying to find some clever way of avoiding them when we grow the crop. Or, if they do appear we’re always on the lookout for a new machine which can remove them, sadly that machine is yet to be invented, so we can only ask for patience please, and hope that what is inside the shell is more than worthwhile compensation for the odd barnacle on the outside!