We are back from a lovely ten days in Scotland. Two 35 hour journeys in less than a fortnight has not left me at my most eloquent, so I will save the write-up for another day, but I wanted to share a few photos of our time away.
We were staying in a stunning self-catering house called Croft Cottage, which has views of East Loch Tarbert and across to Skye. On a still night, this is what it looked like…
Lovely Michelle at The American Resident has just started a new linky called Where You Live, and this week’s prompt was ‘If I visited you for a day, where would you take me? One place. And why.’
How could I not take part in that?
In most of the places I’ve lived before, I would have been spoiled for choice with this question.
In Harris I would have wondered whether we should go to the beach, roll our trousers up and shriek as we splashed in the clear, cold waters of the North Atlantic. Or whether we should get fish and chips in the village, which we’d eat sitting on the wall that overlooks the pier – the best spot to watch the ferry come in.
Eventually I would have settled on showing you the big boulder on the hill behind my Dad’s house, right beside the lower loch. With a large flat top like a table, and ledges that stick out like shelves below, that rock was my imaginary childhood teashop. I would put my pretend cakes in to bake in the pretend oven, before serving them up with pretend cups of tea and coffee. There was an indentation in another nearby rock, which would fill with water on rainy days, and that is where I would do my dishes. It made my heart sing when we went to Harris last year and DorkySon ran up the back hill, headed right for the same spot.
I saw today that Taransay – the former home of the Castaways – is up for sale. Unfortunately I don’t have a spare £2million to spend on it, but seeing the news has left me thinking all day about my own childhood, which I spent in the Western Isles.
Although I haven’t lived there for nearly twenty years, the countless days I spent playing on the beaches and walking in the hills were happy ones, and I will always feel a deep connection to the place. I am convinced that growing up somewhere so isolated – where the relationship between the people, the land and the sea is still a strong one, and where there is still a real awareness of the rhythms of nature – has shaped my character in fairly fundamental ways. It also says something about the sense of community on the islands that even having been away for so long, when I go back and visit now I still have people asking when I got ‘home’. Continue reading →