Posted by: tobermoryotterfund | September 4, 2020

World Otter Day

Happy World Otter Day 2020!

(originally posted on TOF Facebook page 27 May 2020)

It seems like an appropriate day for a brief update, and perhaps this image of an otter heading home is also appropriate and may resonate with some.

You won’t be surprised to read that like just about everything else, the Tobermory Otter Fund sculpture project has been put on hold and with luck will now be progressed through the latter part of 2020 with completion in 2021, a year later than planned.

As ever, the sculpture funds are alive and well invested, accruing an above-inflation rate of interest. Funds are also always available for urgent welfare or conservation needs.

Please spend a few minutes today considering the plight of the many species of otters around the world. A great starting point is the website of the instigators of this World Otter Day, our friends and very close neighbours on Skye, the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) –

And our very own Mull Otter Group of course –

I hope you are all well and I wish you good health and happiness in these trying times.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Posted by: tobermoryotterfund | January 9, 2020

Our 2020 vision!

_D1_6975 New otter in Tobermory crop

Tobermory Otter Fund – 2020 vision!

Well, it’s been yet another year. I’m glad to say, in spite of not posting updates through the year, further progress has been made. I managed to track down the owners of the desired sculpture site and they are fully behind the project and have offered the site free of charge. This happened too late to push to the next stage in 2019.

The sculptor is also still keen to progress and the existing fund is gathering healthy interest above inflation and is worth more in real terms now than this time last year.

For those unfamiliar with the primary goal, the aim is to put in place a sculpture that will gather coin donations from the many visitors to Tobermory, funds which will support wildlife conservation (primarily otters to begin with) on Mull and beyond. The success of my long-dead ‘otter van’ proved this should work.

OK, so all’s good? Well, mostly.

The project is now far more ambitious than when I started this, and to some extent my “vision” and enthusiasm has created a rod for my own back. I have yet to find any organisation or individual willing to put up the matched funding for the project and it seems we are falling between two or three funding stools.

Efforts will of course continue and one way or another, the sculpture aspect of the project will be completed in 2020, even if the final development of the overall site might be delayed.

Once again, if anyone has any contacts (particularly personal contacts) that they think might be worth pursuing for funding, please do get in touch via my email:

For those who have donated outwith the sculpture project, rest assured, your funds are called upon from time to time to assist in day-to-day otter conservation, and thanks again for your support.

(photo: a new otter foraging in Tobermory Bay in 2018. Although I have given up otter photography in order to set an example regarding disturbance of wildlife by photographers, I do use it when necessary for conservation reasons. We were trying to establish whether an entangled otter seen in Tobermory had managed to free itself. We matched up dated photos from various photographers and managed to identify the particular otter concerned from its markings and established that it had indeed freed itself.)

Posted by: tobermoryotterfund | December 11, 2018

2018 project update.

TOF Xmas 2014 card MASTER FINAL crop

Well, it’s been a year! I hope you’ve had a good one. I haven’t been blogging because for most of 2018 there has been very little to report and I have also cleaned up this website and removed some of the outdated blogs, keeping one or two for reference. However, I do now feel a little like a swan, calm above the water but paddling furiously underwater.

To summarise progress in 2018:

A new sculptor has been found and he is very enthusiastic about the project and new concept for the otter sculpture (watch this space). If things go absolutely to plan, I’m hoping to commission the work in Summer 2019.

A perfect sculpture site in Tobermory has been identified and I am doing my best to verify who owns it. The organisation that thinks they own the land aren’t sure! I’m currently in their hands but hope to have made progress by early Spring.

The Fund is growing nicely and above the rate of inflation. It now stands in excess of £16,750. I’m progressing a matched funding application and hope to have an indication before Xmas whether it is worth pursuing.

I’m reasonably confident that I have a workable PR plan ready to go once I have confirmed the site availability, funding and commission timing. We’ve a great story to tell and I think the public will be interested.

I met with a long-term celebrity TOF supporter recently in Tobermory and he has offered to use his best endeavours to promote the project as and when required. Publicly anonymous for the moment but I’m very grateful for his generous support.

In spite of his significant age, the great conservationist Dr Sidney Holt also continues to support TOF from his home in Italy, encouragement that means a lot to me as Sidney is one of my conservation heroes. I was fortunate enough to catch up with him for a few days last April.

THA continue to be very supportive and helpful but have many of their own projects in the pipeline to which they must direct the bulk of their energies.

So that’s it for now. I will update both this website and Facebook page as and when significant developments occur. For general Mull otter news, please check out Mull Otter Group’s social media. I can be contacted anytime via the contacts detailed on this website.

I hope your festivities will be as quiet or rip-roaring as you wish them to be. I suspect mine will be up a mountain somewhere with a camera.

Take care, Nic

Posted by: tobermoryotterfund | March 20, 2014

2014 – New season, old van, fresh approach….

2014 – New season, old van, fresh approach…

A big “thank you” to local police officer Donald McCuish, who, following the attempted theft of the wee TOF collecting box from my van a couple of years ago, suggested that same van, being not the most pristine example of motor engineering excellence, might BECOME the collecting tin.

I thought it was a brilliant idea back then, didn’t get a chance to implement it last year because the van had to be taken off the road, but this year I’ve finally plucked up the courage to cut a coin slot on both side panels to accept donations. This means the van can collect donations 24/7, with the security of locked doors all round. I will of course be emptying it every day.

EVERY Pound or Euro, penny or cent donated will support otters here on the Isle of Mull and all across the Hebrides through the following means:

Otter conservation measures
Welfare of individual otters
Public education and awareness
Long-term otter research

The collecting boxes suspended from the side of the van on both sides are just props to attract attention and it’s not possible to put money into them.

And before anyone complains (and there will be some!) about where the money is coming from for all these van costs (tax, insurance etc), I’m paying for it all out of my own pocket, just as I have always done, with NOTHING taken from the Fund.

So, be assured that when you visit Tobermory, and pop a couple of pennies in the new slots, EVERY penny will go to help otters, just as it always has.

If you want to find the TOF van, it will be spending the season on Main Street, close to the world-famous Mishnish Hotel/pub that I live next door to. Come and give it a stroke :¬)

New coin slots cut into both sides of the TOF van allow donations to be taken 24/7.

New coin slots cut into both sides of the TOF van allow donations to be taken 24/7.

Posted by: tobermoryotterfund | June 24, 2013

New otter group for Mull

It’s official! Mull Otter Group is now up and running as a constituted organisation. With the as yet unexplained death of our very own celebrity otter right here in Tobermory, it’s not before time!

On 26 May, a gathering of otter enthusiasts met at An Roth in Craignure and thrashed through all the boring procedural matters required to put the organisation on a proper footing. Key committee Officers were appointed; so welcome to Jane Stevens (Chair), Debby Thorne (Secretary), Ian Dickinson (Treasurer), together with press officer Barbara Macfarlane. All have been incredibly busy since being appointed.

The intention is that as the Tobermory Otter Fund is wound down as the sculpture project nears completion (see previous blog), its online presence and bank account etc will pass, seamlessly of course (!), to the new Mull Otter Group. Then the real otter conservation work can start in earnest, with lots of exciting and important projects being discussed.

As ever, if you would like to support the work of the new group, please donate via the Tobermory Otter Fund website donations page, and indicate that you wish your donation to be used for MOG’s work.

As for the rest, watch this space :¬)

Posted by: tobermoryotterfund | May 8, 2012

Welcome to our website!

This is a new website designed to promote and support the work of the Tobermory Otter Fund.  You may have arrived here because you’ve seen one of our flyers asking for donations to support the purchase of a bronze otter statue to commemorate Elvis, the Tobermory otter.  Check out the “About us” page for more details.

For more information we can be contacted by email at