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The Uist Wolf

After more calls and more typing I stride out across the busy Uist road and stumble onto the beach. It stretches, unbroken, for 22 miles. But I plump for 2 of those miles before dinner, deciding that I don’t want to overdo it. Having had my head in forecast spreadsheets for hours, I am now free on a deserted beach with my binoculars swinging beneath my chins. Scanning for otters, I see instead a vast array of seabirds:- Redshanks, Turnstones, Knots, Oyster catchers, the yellow-billed Whooper Swan, the scatty Ringed Plover. They dart this way and that, scattering before me only to alight a few yards further on. A highpoint is spotting a snipe, which zigzags away across a boggy field, it’s flight pattern designed to evade any troublesome bullet with ease. I disturb the same heron at least four times and get a very disgruntled ‘Squaack!” Wigeon and Tufted Duck patter across a frozen lochen and Rock Pipits flutter up into the air for a second only to disappear again, instantly resuming invisibility a few feet from my position. Then I hear it… A far-off bark. The sound makes my blood freeze and I hesitate. Should I carry on or divert back to the beach? The barking intensifies and I catch a glimpse of the beast. Is it truly of this Earth? It thunders towards me and then stops dead, its jaws dripping long strands of drool. It begins to circle me as I back away and head for the beach. I can always dive into the waves as a last resort, swim, madly, for Barra. It follows me, a deep growl emanating from its bulky frame. I fumble for some trinket, some scrap of chocolate or steak in my pockets. All I find is a chewit wrapper, but this is better than nothing. Carefully, I lay it at my feet and back away. The great wolf of a beast runs at me but then stops… It sniffs my offering giving me the chance I need to bolt. I hear its thundering paws hammering into the headland behind me… The Uist Wolf is upon me! MUMMY!

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