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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Chris Jupp

The Bay at the Back of the Ocean/Camus Cul an Taibh

It’s a short walk across the Isle of Iona to what maps and islanders call, in the native Gaelic, A’ Mhachair and, in English, The Machair. Referred to thus also by geographers and ecologists, it exemplifies a distinctive form of dune grassland found on the Hebrides, the mainland west coast of Scotland and Ireland. Iona’s machair is typical of this ecology in being made up of blown shell sand and fertilized by grazing sheep and cattle. Following a single track road past the crofts, I pass through a gate. Here, the vista across the machair opens out from the bay onto the expanse of the Atlantic. On one day of the year – cattle willing – the machair plays host to the modestly attended Iona Open. Today, there is not a club in sight. All but the sea and the sheep are still.

golf course . . . one rabbit poop rolling beetle’s perch