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September internship on Mull – Sian Adams

I grew up just across the water in Morvern and have returned home after living in the city. I

spend a lot of my time on Mull and when I saw the opportunity to work with such dedicated

and enthusiastic naturalists, I jumped at the chance and I’m so glad I did!

September was certainly a month of two halves. Starting off scorching and ending wild and

wet. There was also a day of thick, lingering sea fog which made the harbour very

atmospheric but almost cancelled our ferry to Ardnamurchan, thankfully it burned off in just

in time! No matter the weather though there was still wildlife to be seen.

We were very fortunate to have some amazing wildlife daily (thanks to the guy’s excellent

spotting skills!). One day we saw 7 otters and often lost count of the number of eagles!

Sometimes you’d even get multiple species in the same scope view and there are not many

workplaces you stop mid sandwich (or croissant) to look at dolphins or eagles that is for

sure. It’s hard to pick highlights but witnessing kleptoparasitism with a White Tailed Eagle

stealing an otter’s catch, something I’d only ever previously seen on tv and a playful otter

duo snuggling up to snooze in the September sun were pretty special moments.

I also enjoyed assisting on the Sea Life Mull boat being surrounded by Minke Whales and diving

Gannets – I even got to meet the legendary (and lovely) Professor Plankton onboard too!

The guests that came on tours were lovely and it’s good knowing you have that shared love

of wildlife in common from the get go. It was such a pleasure to share Mull’s incredible

wildlife with others and it was great seeing people’s faces when they saw a species they had

never seen before or hearing their exclamations at the sheer size of the WTEs if it was their

first sighting. Perhaps the most humbling was seeing how species that might be overlooked

to those that are used to them (Grey Heron, I’m looking at you) brought genuine joy to

those who aren’t, as it’s easy to forget how lucky we are here sometimes.

It was so interesting to chat with people from all over the World and learn about their

wildlife and the conservation issues they face at the same time as sharing our own. From

talking about overgrazed Scottish hillsides to invasive pythons in the Everglades – amazing!

One of my other passions is hiking and I could talk all day about Mull’s trails so loved when

guests asked for recommendations or advice on routes and I hope they enjoyed them as

much as I do and it reinforced just how special Mull is.

As for the team themselves you couldn’t get kinder, more knowledgeable, passionate

people and I really enjoyed spending time with them as well as learning from them. They

really made me feel included and went out of their way to help if needed, particularly with

lifts – which was really appreciated! While all have a great sense of humour, Jack is

downright hilarious and made every day great fun.

I stayed at Tobermory Campsite in my tent…I know what you’re thinking or perhaps more

wondering what I was thinking.. but I’m a regular camper plus my tent survived the

elements or this would be a very different story! The guys always offered to let me stay if

the weather got too wild which was incredibly thoughtful and kind. After fellow campers

found out what I was doing, I often found myself chatting about wildlife and pointing out

places while ‘off duty’, which I happily did, particularly as tea and biscuits were often

involved and I’m easily bribed. Special shout out to the lovely London couple who gave me

extra tent pegs during the wilder weather too!

Sunny days off were spent hiking Ben Buie with obligatory post hike cake at the Old Post

Office (a must visit!). That now leaves me with Sgurr Dearg as the last Mull 700m+ to bag

but I’ll have to wait until the memory of tussock fades (if you’ve done a Mull hill, you’ll

know). I also went swimming in the turquoise waters of Calgary Bay which was very

refreshing in the 20+ degree heat. Rainer ones were for seeking out waterfalls and foraging


The evenings were a good laugh and a chance to meet even more great and interesting

people, be it in the pub, at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Whaley Ceilidh (good cocktails

but probably had too many) or at a sunset beach BBQ where we played a game which I

don’t think I will be going professional at any time soon.. still don’t fully understand how we

won Ewan, but I’ll take it!

I applied for this internship to learn more about our local wildlife and environment, boost

my confidence, gain experience and meet like-minded people and I did all that and then

some – Thank you Nature Scotland! 

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