Scotland and Sharks, and Shags.

I’m currently on the stunningly gorgeous west coast of Scotland with my family, exploring by car and boat, and very nearly by seaplane, which would have been a first for me.

It’s never great looking at someone else’s holiday pics, let alone when the main feature is a big hairy bugger so I thought I’d try to sneak them in by letting you know how I’m running the business from Scotland.

Before we went I set up ‘internet tethering’ on my iphone, which has worked fairly well, even in some bloody remote spots, and means I can plug my iphone into my laptop to access the internet. The tethering facility costs £30 (about $50) a month on top of my iphone usual bill so it’s a bit steep but it’s been well worth it for me.


We’re staying around Oban mostly, because it’s a good place to get out on the water and to explore the islands around the west cost, and because it’s one of the few Scottish names I can pronounce and spell.

We’d heard about a Seal colony on a tiny little outcrop of rock between the mainland and the island of Mull that we could sail very close to and not risk running aground, so we set off to find it a few days ago – here’s what happened.

As we left Oban – maybe a half mile or so from the port, and still very close to the surrounding land – in fact there were people in canoes around (glad I wasn;t one of them as you’re about to find out) my daughter said, with a very casual tone…

‘Oh Daddy look, there’s a big shark’

I smiled gently and started to explain that it’s very rare to see sharks in this part of ……..

Then stopped dead as a bloody big shark swam past us, about 20 feet off the starboard side.

My missus – always the professional – grabbed boatsharkher camera and took this picture.

We thought that would be the last we saw of it, but it then went under the boat and came up very close on the other side.

I knew, and was also told that it was a Basking Shark and completely harmless.

But I’ve never been as close to one before and fifteen feet is quite long I reckon.

I know they’re vegetarian but I personally KNOW a few vegetarians and let me tell you, when they’re bugged about something the last thing they are is harmless!

If you’ve ever been whacked with a Peruvian lentil spoon you’ll know exactly what I mean.


We continued on to the seal colony and it was well worth it – we managed to get up really close and they seemed very interested in us, although not frightened.

There were also a lot of sea birds on the same ‘island’, and while I’m not expert I now know the difference between a cormorant and a shag.



My internet tethering – would I recommend it? Well it  worked very well and the signal from some places was better than I got at home in Yorkshire when I tested it before we set off.

It did throw up some funny things though. For almost a whole week I couldn’t access my Aweber account which meant that a promo I was going to do for another marketer didn’t come off.

Apart from that everything works OK and I watch money come into the accounts and subscribers join the lists as I travel round the Highlands.

I’d recommend it if you’re going to make your money back from using it – and probably as usual with the ‘technology rip off’ industry, if you wait for 12 months it won’t be so expensive. Personally it does the trick for me.

I brought my laptop with me because my new SAMSUNG NC10 (name and shame) netbook decided to crash, and despite mucking about with it for almost a day before we came up here, couldn’t get the damn thing to connect to any sort of internet connection, although I did manage to install the Windows XP System it came with.

Despite this I didn’t trust it to work and so I left it at home. I’ll have another go when I’m back in the real world.

The first thing I did when I got here was to find the nearest internet cafe (yes there’s one everywhere these days) so if anything goes wrong I can still keep in touch. Although I only seem to log on now and again, usually in the evenings, and once the booze had been opened.

Speaking of such things…….

………I bought some 12 year old malt this afternoon so it’s time to sample a wee dram, so I’m off to sample it.

Best wishes.

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23 responses to “Scotland and Sharks, and Shags.

  1. The Highlands are possibly my favourite place to go on holiday. Oban is a lovely town – you really need to visit Mallaig and Ullapool, the scenery is truly breathtaking. Glad the internet connection is working lol!

  2. Hi Tony!
    What a treat to see Scotland, a basking shark and seals, I have never been to this part of the world, although I am born in London and reside in the Caribbean.
    Not to long ago I had a meeting with Whale Shark, who I met face to face while sailing in my little 6.5 mini-transat sailing yacht off Tintamare island. He was as surprised as I was and swerved slowly away, it was then I realized that he was around 50 feet long or 3 to 4 times the size of my yacht, (I was feeling really small!) I was puzzled that his swerve was so slow…I learned later that they are gentle vegetarians! Thanks for sharing your holidays! best Victoria

  3. Welcome to Scotland Tony – again… Boats and Scotland seem to figure in your holiday trips a fair bit.

    Had an interesting time on the Isle of Bute recently, via my “Three Mobile Broadband Thingy”, attempting (with a degree of success) to access my Aweber account.

    Not desperately important, but evidently I couldn’t wait to get home to check my stats after an email ad swap.

    And sharks off the Scottish coast are a revelation to me too!

  4. Hi Tony – glad you’re having a good break and glad you didn’t get eaten by the Shark. I can’t say I would have been too happy in a small boat seeing that…

    A few weeks ago I was swimming in the sea and something brushed past my leg – I thought it was my girlfriends leg – but she was about 50 yards away from me. So I decided to get out!

    Good to know you can still get online even in the remotest of places. That reminds me I need to upgrade my iPhone.

    Best wishes – Dave

  5. Eloy

    thanks for the beautiful pics, I enjoyed them, have any more?

  6. Nice to hear some positive views on Scotland this week. Don’t worry Tony as a “big hairy bugger” you will fit right in. Sorry about the weather. Enjoy your dram.

  7. Chris Collings

    Hi Tony,

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying the West coast, it’s amazing how much wildlife you come across up here. Enjoy the rest of your week, and your dram.

    All The Best


  8. Tony Shepherd

    Dan – thanks for posting mate – you’re the second person who mentioned Mallaig this week! Think I’llhave to check it out.

  9. Tony Shepherd

    Victoria – brave lady!

    Whale sharks are seriously big I believe. I think I’d have needed to clean the boat out after that experience 🙂

    Thanks for posting!


  10. Tony Shepherd


    Thanks for posting bud – looks like you have more success with accessing Aweber than me – kept saying ‘session expired’ and booting me out!

    ..and thanks for the welcome – you lot north of the border are a seriously good bunch of people!

  11. BarbaraBrooke

    Hi Tony,
    Glad you are enjoying what must be a well earned holiday. I
    expect you have left Sara holding the fort. If I had seen a
    shark when I was in a small boat I would have been frightened
    and it wouldn’t have been a bit of use telling me it was
    vegetarian. I have only been to Scotland once and that was to
    Edinburgh but I know that the scenery is spectacular. Just
    need the rain to ease off. My husband would no doubt also
    enjoy helping you to see off the malt. He is very partialled to
    it himself. Nice to know you can keep in touch as they have
    internet cafes everywhere these days. When I go away I
    just switch off entirely and don’t take a laptop or anything at
    all to keep in touch. I have a total break. When I get home I
    have hundreds of emails but you probably get hundreds
    every day. Me, I just delete them without bothering to read
    them. It would take too long. Enjoy yourself, don’t drink so
    much malt that you fall overboard! Can’t be having that.
    Cheers Barbara.

  12. Tony Shepherd


    Thanks for leaving a comment.

    I think everyone who’s been swimming in the sea has had a ‘what the Hell’s down there?’ moment, although the slight ‘touch on the leg’ is how the film Jaws started.

    I’d have been out like a shot too 🙂


  13. Tony Shepherd

    Eloy – thank you for posting

  14. Tony Shepherd


    Scotland is all positive in my book.

    Anyone who boycots visiting because of the decision taken by politicians is missing out on a cracking experience.

    Thanks for posting


  15. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Barbara

    Thanks for posting.

    The malt is already, errrr, diminishing a little 🙂

    It’s good stuff, although I’m ashamed to say I chose one from the distillery on Tobermory on the Isle of Mull not the Oban one.



  16. John Boyd

    Hi Tony

    Glad you’re enjoying Oban, Mallaig and Tobermory. Just remember if it rains during your hols that you can’t have the glorious scenery without it.

    I remember one superb summer’s day (about a hundred years ago) at Tobermory when I used to run on the Highland Games circuit. The scenery across the bay from above the town was jawdroppingly stunning – that’s always stayed with me.

    Next time in Scotland you might want to try the Scottish Borders (God’s Own Country) where I come from originally. Rolling hills, ancient abbeys, stately homes, small picturesque towns, friendly locals.

    This advert was brought to you by the Scottish Borders Tourist Board!

    Enjoy your hols.


  17. Janet

    Hi Tony,

    Nice pictures, seriously, whilst you are up there, don’t miss out on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
    Head out to Fort William and then look for the signposts to Mallaig.
    When you get to Morah stop and be in awe! (Silver Sands)
    seriously to die for.

    Have a safe journey home.


  18. Hi Tony,

    My son is a Tony – great name!

    Thanks for sharing your vacation. Glad you are resting and enjoying. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland. I don’t suppose you spotted ‘Nessie’…..

    Take care.


  19. Richard McQuain

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for the great pictures of your trip to Scotland. I live in the US but my dads side of the family came here from Scotland in the mid to late 1700s. I would love to go there someday. It’s been a dream of mine for many years.

  20. Tony,

    Thank you so very much for your words and pics. I’d venture to guess you have an audience here that is hungry for travel. There is no way in Hell you could bore us with your Scottish Tales. 🙂 Events that may seem most mundane to you may be rather exotic to your readers scattered about the planet. So write on, dear sojourner! We savor your words!

    Now about the boat… and the seaplane! And lest we forget, young daughters on holiday do have a tendency to establish some rather famous quotes to be remembered for a lifetime. Find that quiet space after all are asleep, pour yourself a beverage and please tell us more!

    Best Wishes Always,


    P.S. Perhaps you and Sara will consider a Travel Niche PLR membership!

  21. Hi Tony,

    I’m glad you love Scotland so much- it’s such a fantastic place to live! The West Coast of Scotland is my favourite part of the world no question, and Oban is my favorite town. The scenery looking over to the Isles is amazing.

    I’m planning on moving (from the East Coast) to the West Coast as soon as my internet business allows. It’s going real slow but I’ll get there. I can’t wait!

    You have to tour the West Coast of Mull – absolutely breathtaking scenery that you’ll never forget! Oh and if you get the chance try some of Eric Soave’s Scottish Tablet Ice Cream- I would travel a hundred miles just to get some – it’s that good!

    Enjoy the rest of your stay

  22. Ed

    Hi Tony,

    Great blog, man those basking sharks are huge its a good job they`re harmless to us, and i must say that from them pics it seemed pretty much like paradise!


  23. Great to see you in Scotland Tony, next time you fancy jaunting around the UK maybe Wales would be a good place to stop off, fantastic once you get past Swansea onto the Gower coast, trust me some of the best scenery and beaches in the UK, shame about the unpredictable weather though lol.

    Anyway great to see you are having fun and keeping the internet biz going at the same time.

    All the best

    John Robbins

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