Wayfarer Column- The incredible story of the Eagle Babies

It is amazing what you can pick up if you keep your eyes and ears open . I was listening to the radio the other day when up came the story of the ‘Eagle Babies’.

It all apparently started many years ago when in the Shetlands some women were laying out their washing in a nearby field, with one of the ladies having placed her new born babe fast asleep and smothered in swaddling clothes on the ground nearby whilst she worked.

A sea eagle swooped down picking up the baby complete with clothing and flew off to its nest in the nearby island of Fetlar. The ladies were of course appalled at this with the mother totally distraught. A message was immediately sent to Fetlar asking for help in retrieving the baby. The Fetlar men knew exactly where the nest was and were pleased to put their expertise at navigating the cliffs to good use. They roped up one of their young lads and lowered him down to the nest. Fortunately the eagle was away at the time and there in the nest lay this bundle being looked at in askance by two eaglets. No doubt the swaddling clothes had confused them plus any crying emitting from it, and they were awaiting their parent’s return. The young lad gathered up the bundle and was hauled up by the islanders. The mother was delighted to have her infant returned without a scratch. The swaddling clothes had protected her and she was none the worse for her experience. The young baby lived a fruitful life growing up to marry, bearing many children who in turn bore her many grandchildren. Because of her escape she became known as the ‘Eagle Baby’ and her offspring likewise. Apparently throughout the world there are families who are recorded as being the descendants of the ‘Eagle Baby’. A lovely tale with a happy ending.

Any visitors to the Famous Grouse Whisky Distillery in Crieff will have seen a bronze stature to a cat named Towser. This female cat was born in April 1963 and lived until March 1987 in which time she had caught an incredible total of 28,899 mice all devotedly recorded by sales manager Peter Fairlie. One can only assume that the distillery was previously infested by mice and now thanks to Towser is mice free, but we all know that nature always leaves a pregnant mouse behind as the Pied Piper on Hamlyn will attest to. However it was enough to achieve Towser a place in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’ 1996. See you next week with more tales.