Packing up and Moving to Barra - The Road to Barra nearly Completed!

OOOOft! We’ve gone and done it, all our worldly good are now on the Rock and we couldn’t be happier. It has been such a busy time for us, selling and buying our houses and working out what exactly we need to bring to the island in the hired van. Rembering of course we just can’t nip out to B & Q, Plumb Centre, IKEA on a whime to shop, this move is a whole different ball game from our previous ELEVEN house moves!! The gypsies have arrived on #Barradise. And here’s a couple reminders why we’ve moved here!

Gateway to Vatersay beach

Gateway to Vatersay beach

There’s nowhere on earth with beaches with white sand like this!

There’s nowhere on earth with beaches with white sand like this!

Can’t believe it is nearly two months since I last updated my Blog and here was I thinking this would be a weekly affair when I started back in July last year! Time just flies past on this island and now we are at the eleventh month of my #Barragapyear which of course has now become #Barrralife. So this will be a whirlwind race through what has been happening since the last Blog on 21st April. Of course there’s been an array of visitors, to be honest this has been a bit exhausting for us as we have been juggling filming in Mull, editing, organising the Capturing the Hebridean Spirit exhibition, calls to lawyer and estate agent, my work at Garadh, Jackson doing odd jobs on the island and of course celebrating my birthday!! Phew, so here’s a flavour of the above!! (Apologies to Jackson’s brother Jim and his wife Shirley but I can’t find my pictures of your visit in the 100s on file)

Robert and my sister Linda came to visit In beg May

Robert and my sister Linda came to visit In beg May

Me and my wee sister Linda

Me and my wee sister Linda

Ros from Tartan Jigsaw whistlestop visit

Ros from Tartan Jigsaw whistlestop visit

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Jackson’s friend from away back Martin Walker and his wife Alison

Jackson’s friend from away back Martin Walker and his wife Alison

It was also lovely to briefly catch up with actress Maureen Carr (Still Game and Craigland’s finest Edith!) and her daughter Erin. They were blessed with some lovely weather for their short trip to Barra, Maureen don’t take so long to come back (35 years since you’re last visit is just wrong!!). Please bring Martin next time too.

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Fortunately, in between the manic flurry of visitors we did find time to chill by getting out and about whenever there was a break in the weather and these pictures don’t tell the true story of how cold it has been in April and May. It is however still absolutely stunning provided you have fifteen layers of clothing on!! or not as in the case for one rare warm day where we thought summer had arrived.

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There was even the rare occasion when I had to go in for a paddle because the water looked so inviting, so off came the trousers and in I waded in my knickers! So look away anyone with a delicate disposition as this is proof that the best way to photograph seaweed is from above and in the water. Jackson on the otherhand remained on the shore, total woose…

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Circle of seaweed in our clear clear waters

Circle of seaweed in our clear clear waters

No sooner was Martin off on the ferry then we had our friends Archie & Irene joining us with their car loaded with all things art and creative for the Capturing the Hebridean Exhibition. Fortunately we had a couple of days to chill before setting up in the Castlebay Hall just to remind them why they love these islands so much.

Blue rope matching the waters between Barra and Vatersay, breathtaking!

Blue rope matching the waters between Barra and Vatersay, breathtaking!

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We absolutely loved having our artwork, photography and films at our Capturing the Hebridean Spirit exhibition and we can’t thank all the people of Barra enough for all their support during our days in Castlebay Hall. We also had many visitors to the islands popping in to see the exhibition. The hall looked fabulous with Kathyn’s Little Boats too which had sailed over on the Thursday before the opening.

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It was great to bring to Castlebay Hall all my beautiful shells, stones, sea glass etc that I have collected over my eleven months on the islands. I think it showed off my obsession on a grand scale!!

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We were really lucky to have artwork from the pupils of Castlebay Community School to include in the exhibtion, what talented youngsters. Thanks Cheryl for organising for us.

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We were delighted to showcase our latest music video at the the exhibition too and this was edited around a beautiful track composed and played by Ayrshire’s Alistair McCulloch and shows Irene at work in her studio, at Culzean (gallery) and on Barra/Vatersay. Enjoy!

So as I mentioned we have been busy busy busy and we haven’t been on Barra all this time. We did venture to Mull to film for Sense in Mind Scotland which meant a 5 hour ferry to Oban and then back out along the same stretch of water for another hour long ferry to Craignure. We were blessed with lovely weather that weekend and it was great to spend our second ever visit to this island in the sunshine and with old and new friends.

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So I think I have rambled on enough and I hope you have got a sense of our life over the past 4/5 weeks since I last posted. Here’s some of my favourite memories to close off this Blog. Next and probably final Blog will update you on our move and new house, and that will end our Road to Barra journey. Thank you all for reading and hope you have enjoyed the road trip!

the new marina filling up nicely!

the new marina filling up nicely!

the colours of Barra!

the colours of Barra!

The new NEIGH..bours!

The new NEIGH..bours!

Helen’s Hebridean Sheep and Lambs

Helen’s Hebridean Sheep and Lambs

Assorted Footprints

Assorted Footprints

And not forgetting this character on the day of the EU elections!! Made me smile….

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Plus the other character roaming the island, Archie the Highland Bull!

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Thai watching for us to return!

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We’re all exhausted!!!

We’re all exhausted!!!

LIFE IS GOOD!

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Another THREE weeks of the #Barragapyear; where do I start?

I don’t think I could have crammed any more adventures into the last three weeks if I tried. It has been a whirlwind of work - our first Barra wedding, hordes of visitors, heather burning, broken ferries and not forgetting Barra’s new born lambs!

“Jackson stop, stop the car, there’s another lamb I need to photograph, there’s one on the hillside, there’s one sleeping on the road, there’s one resting its head resting on a rock - yes STOP the car again!”

Wee lambikins overload! but more about them later. It has been bitterly cold brought to us by the northerly winds, there was glorious blue skies right enough so it didn’t stop us going out but the wood burner has been on most nights.

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Now I have mentioned before about our ferry The Isle of Lewis and she has been up to her old tricks again, firstly we have had a few wild days where the winds were over 50mph which meant she didn’t sail. then she got a rope tangled up in her rudder, finally she sprung a leak and had water in the car deck. This meant that we never knew whether or not our guests were arriving or not!! Fortunately the Whites came down from Stornaway and managed to continue their Barra holiday which was cut short last October. They did however have an extra day staying with us due to ‘ferry’ issues! Their bonus day was glorious…

Elise, Emma and Fabienne on Vatersay

Elise, Emma and Fabienne on Vatersay

Emma was over for a flying visit to help us film our first Barra wedding video, we were so honoured to be asked to film John Lawrence and Cheryl’s wedding, and what a wonderful highland wedding it was! We were treated like guests and thoroughly enjoyed our day. Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs MacNeill xxx

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The wedding took place at Our Lady, Star of the Sea Church followed by the reception in Castlebay Hall, a huge community affair with everyone helping out to decorate the hall and church. We just loved being part of it. Check out the church, one of the best location for a wedding we have filmed at….

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Emma and I had a great time with quality Mummy and daughter time and I even persuaded her to go for a wee paddle in the Hebridean Sea! She is my very own mermaid xx

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In no time at all it was time for Emma to leave and I really miss her. Emma now has a 10 year plan in place to move over to join us on Barra, how perfect would that be? Woosh and she’s Away…..

Other news, once again the heather was set alight in the middle of the island and this was causing concern as the winds picked up. Jackson of course was fasinated, as to be honest, I think he is an arsonist at heart. So we headed out to watch the flames flickering and reflected in the lochs.

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From our back door it was beautiful to see Ben Heavel with a pink glow behind it as the heat of the flames could be seen in the distance. Jackson took this picture and I think it is really beautiful.

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Another visitor was Ross who was returning for his second visit to The Rock, this time he experienced the chill and force of our winds! Whilst out on the hills on Vatersay we could hardly stand upright, also it was change to see waves on my lovely beaches as the waters there are generally calm with only the gentlest of ripples. There a good show of white froth!

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Having a great fun working at the Garadh and last week I was promoted!! I was allowed in the kitchen as as many will know that’s not a place you find me very often. In fact when Jackson arrived for his lunch he burst out laughing when he saw me in my whites and cap. Soup dragon for the day. What a great team we made!

Joan, Audrey, Me, Jamie and the boss Peigi…..#Dreamteam

Joan, Audrey, Me, Jamie and the boss Peigi…..#Dreamteam

Last night after an 10 hour shift editing Jackson and I headed out to look at the sea mist that had descended on Castlebay and we sat on the east side waiting on the ferry arriving. We were delighted to catch a quick glimpse of an otter just in front of us as we heard the loud blasts of horn of the Isle of Lewis as she warned us she was making her way through the mist to the harbour. It was like a ghost ship arriving….

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Another thing that caught my eye whilst sitting on the rocks watching and waiting was the colours of the seaweed in front of us. With the strange light it just seemed to enhance the colours….

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Our final visitors of the past 3 weeks was my friend Andy, my licensed drone operator for aerial film shots, arrvied with his family. Several days late due to the pesky ferry breakdown but they were so lucky with the weather! A win win to be honest., Andy got to see Barra at its finest and I got some lovely aerial footage of Barra beaches!

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Andy brought over his chunky electric bike and they also hired another one from Tony of Barra Bike Hire for the rest of the gang. They had a couple of great days touring the islands and took to the hills with ease!

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Now to the wee lambs, we have an abundance of twins, many triplets and apparently we have two sets of quadruplets! C’Mon the Barra lambs!! Been looking forward to their arrivals and they didn’t disappoint. Absolutely love the black Hebridean lambs, well done to Helen on Vatersay, her very first year with the herd and she’s the proud owner of 13 wee cute black lambs.

No wave films this time but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the lambs instead!

We did have one glorious evening and Jackson and I got the picnic packed including the chilled wine. We sat for ages watching the gentle ripples and the colours of the water. The dug, Jackson’s slippers on, a unicorn blanket, what more do you need, totally priceless! x

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A few more pictures of rust, primroses, sea glass and some sand shifting on beaches! All just part and parcel of living on #Barradise.

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Thanks for reading everyone, there’s not many more Blogs left for my Gap year so enjoy the final batch of ramblings. Luv from the Fraters xx

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Eileen FraterComment
Spring on Barra - New Beginnings and New Horizons

Today, Mother’s Day Sunday, has been absolutely stunning here on the island and after all the phone calls - my Mum and the weans - it was time to head to the hills on Vatersay and revisit my lovely wee beaches!

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We normally walk round the coastline to get to them but this time we decided to head up for some height and this meant we walked on drier ground. It was just magical to get back across to walk on these beaches and of course off came trousers, sock n shoes for a paddle….yip just as cold as I remember but you just have to!

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What a busy week it has been and I’ve had to make a wee list of things to write about so I don’t forget the highlights. Firstly the big news is that we have bought a house on Barra, in the Glen and we are just so honoured to have been chosen to stay in this lovely house (totally blessed in so many ways). We have wonderful views front and back with a really great plot of land, the garden will keep us busy for a good few years! Also a very large basement, so he’d better behave. We’re so excited, keep driving past and smiling!!

View from Living Room

View from Living Room

View from Kitchen

View from Kitchen

Back/Front Door

Back/Front Door

Now the funny story about the house news is that on Thursday I was working at the Garadh and I was congratulated on getting the house by a lovely Barra lady! I was confused because we had only just put the offer in so laughed and thought nothing of it! Two hours later my lawyer phoned with a message to let me know we had indeed got our house in The Glen. He was a bit late to the party, the island knew hours beforehand!

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As I mentioned earlier Spring is beginning to show its face on the island, from the beautiful wee lambs appearing in the fields to the primroses on this hillside.

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There’s definitely not enough hours in the day and now that the days are getting longer we are not long back in the house when we look out our window and decide to head back out again to take in the final rays of dyalight. Tonight we stopped by the roadside so that Jackson could test the waters and look for fish. Now this is indeed a sign he is settling into life on Barra, he was out fishing with his slippers on!!

A man at peace with the world

A man at peace with the world

Man with Slippers looking for Fish!

Man with Slippers looking for Fish!

He is so glad to be on Barra, although on Friday we really thought he wasn’t going to land as the weather and visability were making it touch and go! I knew he wouldn’t have been a happy man on that plane and the cloud was just like a very smooth and thick white blanket.

Thick cloud band, where’s the beach runway?

Thick cloud band, where’s the beach runway?

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On the second attempt they made it, C’mon the Loganair!

Fortunately my friends, Alison and Carol, from Ayrshire Business Women has less to worry about and they had a lovely flight into Barra. During their visit, they had a mixture of beautiful but chilly weather and wild n windy! It was great to have their company and enjoy a wee glass of gin or two with them.

Caturing the views…

Caturing the views…

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It always pays to look at absolutely everything, including where you are about to sit on and this piece of driftwood had beautiful sand and shell formations on it. Such pretty colours!

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And more colours in the form of some the sea glass we collected whilst out on our walks. There’s a few pieces now making their home in Ayrshire.

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As always you can never have enough colour and I just love this display of shells we collected on Saturday at Eoligarry.

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The previous Saturday we had Women’s Day on the island, with a huge slection of activities as I mentioned in my previous Blog. Brilliantly organised and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the line dancing workshop, maybe we will start a wee class next winter…..watch this space! I also loved learning the accordion with John James, although I was hopeless, you can’t make a note unless you open or shut the bellows and you can’t open and shut if you don’t have your fingure on a key or button. Talk about patting your heads and rubbing your belly!! It was great fun and lovely to have Lesley Riddoch with us too! The film showing in the evening was really well supported and plenty of food for thought for everyone.

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So as I haven’t fiven you a wave or water video for a long while I put together this short video this evening just to remind you that I love waves and the colour of the water here. Also there’s proof I was in the water at the end!

Finally here’s some roadside photographs taken as we drive around our beautiful island.

Mist and Blue!

Mist and Blue!

Soay Sheep

Soay Sheep

Driving down to Vatersay Causeway

Driving down to Vatersay Causeway

Finally for this Blog, love this picture of The Duchess who was so glad to see her Daddy back home on The Rock. I was also pleased to see him but just can’t master the puppy dog eyes!

Thai and her Dad!

Thai and her Dad!

Two Happy Barra folks!!

Two Happy Barra folks!!

Over EIGHT months (3/4 of our #Barragapyear) has disappeared in the blink of any eye....

It has been a month since I last wrote my last Blog and it is really lovely to see the signs of spring on the island. As well as longer days! We are not through winter by any manner of means and last week Barra saw gusts of over 70mph winds brought over by Storm Gareth, however we didn’t experience any of this as we were on the mainland moving our son into his first house. 11 days on the mainland, we were a pair of wee stressed people and we missed oor wee island every day. Don’t get me wrong it was lovely to catch up with family and of course meet my great nephew Avery but it was definitely even lovelier getting back on the ferry on Sunday, even though it was a little bouncy at times!

There have been very few blue skies days over the past month but fortunately on Jackson’s birthday we got wrapped up and headed out to Vatersay. We are just so grateful to have these walks on our doorstep and they really do take your breath away (or is that the blustery winds!! in your face?)

Vatersay Bay in all its splender

Vatersay Bay in all its splender

We have always been commenting that we head to the west often for the waves and beaches and that when we drive round the east side we keep saying we need to find somewhere to stop so that we can do more exploring on the rocky outcrops that form on that side. So recently we did park up at Brevig on a bitterly cold day to explore the abandoned lookout building. It meant sitting watching waves of course!

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Brevig

Brevig

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And with winds, as always, we head over to our wave beach on Vatersay, there may be grey skies but the water is always spectacular. How many photographs can one mobile phone hold!!? Generally I keep snapping until the battery runs out which is very quick in the cold!

Waves on Vatersay

Waves on Vatersay

Another reason for the lack of updates on my Blog is that I have been busy working at Garadh a Bhagha a Tuath (Northbay Garden) and we have been spending time in the polytunnels planting out seedlings and potting up shrubs whilst passing the time of day blethering with all the volunteers. Bruce and Helen, the horticulturists, keep us right with techniques on getting the right amount of soil in the pot and how to handle delicate seedlings. There is nothing better than working with earth and getting your hands dirty! Lunchtime comes round really quickly and we all sit round the table in the An Bothan catching up on the news around the island. In particular for me, asking if there are any houses coming on the market!!

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With colours starting to appear all over the island I don’t think I have ever been as excited for Spring to come and can’t wait to see all the wee lambs. The countdown begins…..

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A wee brave Primrose!

A wee brave Primrose!

Primroses are my favourite flower and they remind me so much of my wee gran Harvey (nee McLeod) and I think she would have loved the life and community here. I remember when we came on holiday in May last year we couldn’t believe the amount of these flowers were growing on the hillside. More yellow than green!

Winter has been a very different experience from that on the mainland, we have had plenty of wild days and some days you just have to stay safe indoors. However, during the winter there is plenty to do and we have both tried to support as many of the events that have been organised on the island. In particular, I had a great afternoon at one of the Developing the Young Workforce days in Castlebay School (one of top 50 state schools in Scotland - 2019) meeting up with pupils interested in media/film. It was like being interviewed for a job!!

So from coffee mornings, open evenings looking through old photographs at the Heritage Centre and Car Boot Sales to this weekend where we have Barra Women’s Day! So on Saturday we have the choice of taster seasons from Swim/Sauna (Indoor pool!), cookery classes at Kisimul Cafe, patchwork, accordion, pottery and line dancing by yours truly!! It will be nearly 20 years since I last taught a line dance, and I have three dances ‘lined” up!! Watch this space…. 5,6,7,8!

It is really difficult to believe I have been living on Barra for over EIGHT months and there are so many nooks and crannies, cairns and hills still to climb, there just isn’t enough time in my life to complete all of this!! But we are trying at every opportunity to get out exploring. It is all about juggling my business, Prancing Jack Productions, which has currently TEN projects on the go and making sure we have time to play. We are very excited to be filming on Isle of Mull and Benbecula in coming months. The commute to work will consist of a 5 hour ferry crossing to Oban and then hop on another ferry back along the Sound of Mull for a 55 mintue sail to Craignure on Mull! but it is a magnificent sail especially when there’s a covering of snow of the hilltops.

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Our favourite walk over the past four weeks was parking up at the graveyard on the roadside at Allansdale and walking across the right hand side of the beach at Seal Bay. We approached this beach from a different angle and as it was early in morning (before breakfast in fact) we were blessed beatiful morning light. More emotional moments as we just stood mesmorised by the beauty of seascape and at peace with the world.

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Every day is different and weather makes this island. So whether it is my drive back from work in Northbay with commute has scenes like this:

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Or the weather creates an image that makes Ben Heaval disappear in the mist:

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Or meeting the Eriskay ponies at Cleat:

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Or adding to insane shell collection!

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Or stopping in your tracks to admire the gentle reflections at Nask

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Or the stillness looking out to Kisimul Castle

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So that’s you up to date and with only four months left in our #Barragapyear to find a house before July, the search is on!! Our house in Doonfoot is now on the market so fingers crossed we find a buyer and then the real adventure begins!! So thanks again for reading and if you want to comment on this Blog I would love to hear from you.

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Comings and Goings - February 2019

February has certainly has been the month for comings and goings. Over the past few weeks the island community has lost dear friends, relatives and their well loved Canon Angus (Barra parish priest for over 20 years) and their loss has been felt right across the breadth of the island and beyond.

Life is so precious and with every moment we spend on Barra we continue to count our blessings. We are so lucky to enjoy every blustery day, every crashing wave, every beautiful rainbow and every cup of tea shared with our friends on this island.

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but there was also new arrivals on the island and Jackson managed to capture this newly born wee calf, isn’t she a proud Mum. No gas and air for pain relief needed here…….

Mum and baby doing well….

Mum and baby doing well….

We have now booked our ferry to head back to Ayrshire on 6th March to help our son Adam move into his first new home in Kilmarnock. This is definitely going to be the empty nest syndrome because no sooner are we getting him moved out, we are literally going to empty the nest!! Hand the keys into the estate agent and begin the house searching on Barra in ernest…..

Vatersay Bay at its finest

Vatersay Bay at its finest

We have been informed of the potential of a few houses coming on the market and we are really excited to start looking at each of them as they come onto the market (or not!). Sometimes many houses are just sold prviately and will never reach an estate agent’s window and we are hopeful that people will be looking out for us. Fingers crossed….

I’m settling into my new role as relief special carer and have loved all my days at the Garadh a Bhagha a Tuath (Northbay Gardens) planting out and seeding for this year’s cash crops. I have completed loads of training already for the role, both in workshops and on the council’s LearnPro online training. However online training only works when you can get online!! This weekend saw a complete outage of our internet service across Vatersay, Barra, Eriskay and some of South Uist and we eventually got back online on Monday. So what’s wrong with a few days off grid at the weekend, well firstly you can’t use your cards to buy food at the Coop and you can’t use your card to get cash out of the bank to buy goods etc. ooofftt….

Fortunately I had completed my film for the Sunday deadline for Scotland’s Urban Past on Friday so the files went sucessfully to the client in plenty of time. Note to self: remember to bring forward all deadlines by a couple of days in the future!

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We’ve also had a fair few blustery days which meant the ferry was cancelled for several days which is actually normal for this time of year but our Isle of Lewis was also in dry dock for her annual maintenance so the smaller Hebridean Isles was her replacement. To make matters worse the Isle of Lewis was no sooner out of dry dock when she was out of commission and didn’t return to Castlebay on the day of the scheduled switch over at Oban. So I honestly have no idea what is going on with the current sailing schedule but she did arrive at 00:15 via Lochboisdale this morning.

It was really fortunate that a couple of weeks ago, for both Thai and I, the sailings to Eriskay were running because we had a trip to the vet. The nearest one to Barra is on the Isle of Benbecula which is an 84 mile round trip with a ferry crossing in between…

No welll wee dug!

No welll wee dug!

When over on Eriskay/South Uist it is always lovely to nip out to see the wild Erisaky ponies to cheer you up when you’re not feeling well. Although I don’t think Thai was particularly impressed..

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Or for that matter the ponies weren’t that bothered with us, only a quick glance back as we drove away.

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The views on Eriskay/South Uist are stunning and it will not be long before Jackson will be heading over when the fishing season starts in April. I think I’m going to be home alone again soon…..

Views out towards the lightly dusted snow capped hills……

Views out towards the lightly dusted snow capped hills……

It seems that Thai might have had an infection which made her miserable, off her food and just totally out of sorts. So the lovely vet gave her an anti inflammatory injection and a course of anti-botics and we were reassured that all was well with this wee dog’s world.

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We walked along the beach at the ferry terminal before heading back in the late afternoon to watch the sun going down as we sailed into Ardmhor. It was good to be home.

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You will be glad to note that Thai is back to her old self and to prove it….

So the comings and going have been my friend Irene who popped over to join us for Lesley' Riddoch’s film screening of Nation: Norway & Faroes and sadly because of the weather the ferry was cancelled from Eriskay so we have postponed this event to 23rd March. Let’s hope for better weather then as Lesley will be attempting to arrive by plane!

The weather today, Tuesday, was relatively clear and we had a whistle stop afternoon visit from my friend Linda Hill (past president of Ayrshire Business Women and owner of LAH Travel) along with some of her travel/tourism friends. This was their first visit to Barra and I’m certain it will not be their last!

A quick stop at Cleat!

A quick stop at Cleat!

The week Irene was here wasn’t hindered by the weather so we got out and about whenever we caught a glimpse of blue skies. Jackson joined us on our walks after he returned back from the mainland. He had been filming two different projects - Parkour and Whole Class Strings - for East Ayrshire Council.

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Beach Combing for stuff!

Beach Combing for stuff!

What has been lovely to see in February, is the snow on top of the hills here on Barra. A very unusually cold spell brought in by winds from the North, meant that we have slightly different scenes to photograph.

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Irene did get almost caught up on a rogue wave, which had me in stiches……thank goodness for wellies. It will not be long until you are back on the island and we will have longer days to go our walks. Archie of cousre will be joining Jackson on fishing trips to South Uist!

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To finish off this blog, on Sunday Jackson and I headed out for a wee walk when the weather cleared up and we were delighted to have the opportunity to watch about between 30 to 40 seals playing as the tide came in at Seal Bay. They are really curious creatures and continue to make us laugh and smile in equal measures.

So as I mentioned at the beginning it is all about savouring every precious moment with friends, your partner and of course the Jack Russell. Here’s a few of my favourite pictures from the last three weeks - rainbows, waves, beaches and snow #Barragapyear ….enjoy!

Eoligarry

Eoligarry

Commute to work

Commute to work

Oyster Beds

Oyster Beds

Finds from the beaches…..

Finds from the beaches…..

Crashing Waves

Crashing Waves

Shape shifting Sands

Shape shifting Sands

Sandpipers

Sandpipers

Oyster Catchers

Oyster Catchers

and another favourite photograph taken by Jackson!

Oyster Catchers in Flight

Oyster Catchers in Flight

One happy Barra woman

One happy Barra woman

Eileen Frater
There's a Chilly Wind blowing through....

Oofft it is chilly, thank goodness for the Gulf Stream, as it could be a lot worse as Jackson reminded me that in Canada last week he had temperatures of -25oC. There’s definitely not enough layers for that kinda weather! This week has been the coldest yet for the #Barragapyear team and the next couple of days will be even colder if the forcasts are to be believed. It hasn’t stopped us from getting out and about, Jackson arrived back on Saturday and on Sunday we wrapped up well to enjoy the stunning beach at Eoligarry. It was certainly chilly and breezy and we even had ripples of waves on this beach as it was a Northerly wind. Generally we would normally have Southerly winds prevailing on Barra and as the afternoon progressed it fairly picked up. I did however manage to capture a few calm seascapes early on.

Traigh Scurabhal

Traigh Scurabhal

Every direction takes your breath away!

Every direction takes your breath away!

Now I often talk about shape shifting and this beach was intriguing as every shell, stone and piece of seaweed created a pinnacle sandscape because of the different wind direction catching on everything low lying on it. Thai spent most of the time flattening them by rolling everywhere, it took several attempts to take a photograph without her in shot!

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Earlier in the week, looking out towards Tangasdale beside the Isle of Barra Beach Hotel, Thai and I walked along the rocks and were once again mesmerised by the crashing waves (although the dug gets fed up quickly when sitting about). I have to keep checking myself not go too near to the edge as it only would take one rogue wave to wash me away.!! It is difficult because I get hypnotised by the force and colours!

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It was lovely to see a slight dusting of snow on the hills on Beinn Tangabhal and of course our hilly neighbour Beinn Heaval. It didn’t stay around long though and by the afternoon it was gone.

View from the Kitchen Window

View from the Kitchen Window

It is always great to have big fluffy clouds for your reflection shots and they were in beautiful abundance this week. So much so that my mobile phone batttery run out twice whilst out taking photographs. Partly down to the low temperatures but also with the photographs taken and Slo Mo video.

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Now to recap on all of the above, I’m rather pleased with this video incorporating waves, sand storms and of course Thai the Jack Russell …..all in a variety of film speeds!

You will be glad to know that we will have a new selection of music for our films starting from next week, huge thanks to my friend Texan Meredith McCrindle, Rock and Classical Harp Player. Downloading them now!! Here’s a wee taster of one of my daughter’s music videos of Meredith playing two contrasting harps, Bat an Eye Productions rocking with pole dancers (you have been warned) and beautifful harp player.

It has been hard 19 days without Jackson, both Thai and I have really missed his company and we’re really glad to have him back on the Rock. It will however only be until Wednesday when he’ll be heading back to film 4 different projects in Ayrshire with Emma for Prancing Jack Productions. Long enough to enjoy celebrating our 33rd belated wedding anniversary. Thanks to Robbie and Alison for the Mumm’s champagne! It didn’t last long.

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Another event Jackson also missed out on was the Burns Supper in Northbay Hall and the rumour got out that maybe I might be willing to stand up and make a toast!! Well never one to refuse a chance to try and entertain, well what would be the point of spending four years on an acting course! So after meeting up with Cllr Donlad Manford to get a rough idea of what he intended mentioning in his Toast to Lassies speech, I sat down to write a poem in reply!

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Well done and thanks to everyone involved, it was a great wee night. After the meal and toasts we were given our song sheets for a Burns themed sing along with Cllr Donald Manford leading us off…… If there’s something I’ve learnt in my six months living on Barra, we all love a community sing-song and a raffle!

Here’s my Reply to the Toast to the Lassies. Thanks to Audrey (nae pressure) for filming this on my phone, much appreciated!

On the topic of men I’m going to try to be kind
Against my better judgement so bear that in mind
So tonight folks try to imagine //if you can
Burns turned oot tae be// a Barra man

As you know Rabbie enjoyed a wee dram or two
So I think he’d had fitted in with Barra’s motely crew
In Castlebay he’d sit bousing at the nappy
Getting fou and unca happy
************
So for every Souter Johnnie
There’s always a lassie bonnie
For every horse that can canter
There’ll be a Tam O Shanter

So for that very reason // I now have to confess
Burns living on Barra would caused him much stress
Very little poetry would’ve been written, I feel
He’d be trying to find words that rhyme with MacNeill

So the next night out will be once again in Northbay Hall as we welcome Lesley Riddoch to talk about and show two of her Nation films: Faroes & Norway. It will be good to have Irene Walker back on Barra, both of us are looking forward to seeing the films and catching up with Lesley. My poster designing skills put to the test!

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There is no doubt our wee Jackson Russell, Thai is a Daddy’s girl and for the past few days she has stuck to him like velcro. Let’s not break the news to her that he’s leaving her again on Wednesday!

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Thanks again to everyone for reading, sharing and for the first time you will actually be able to leave a comment direct on the Blog!! I’ve just worked out how to do this…….Every day is a school day as they say.

“Nothing soothes the Soul like a Walk on the Beach”

“Nothing soothes the Soul like a Walk on the Beach”

Eileen Frater Comment
Alone Again Naturally........

Another week on the island living alone with only a daft Jack Russell to keep me company and we’ve certainly been missing Jackson to keep us warm in the chilly evenings! Not long now until he is back on the rock and there’s a bottle of champagne in the fridge ready to celebrate our belated 33 year wedding anniversary on Saturday. He’ll fly into Glasgow from Toronto in the morning and then fingers crossed weather permitting he’ll board the twin otter for the final lap over to Barra. See what you have missed this week Jackson…..

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Cleat

Cleat

It has been a busy week of planning filming dates for over 10 new film projects on the mainland and organising meetings with all the individuals involved, thankfully “Santa’s Little Helper “my daughter Emma will attend on behalf of Prancing Jack Productions and I can stay here on Barra to look after the dug!. Also this week it was really lovely to catch up with my Barra bride and groom, Cheryl and John Lawrence to chat about their wedding in April. We have now started filming some shots for the beginning of their video and have a few other ideas in mind for their wedding day story video! Can’t wait to see it all coming together….

I’ve also started both my part-time jobs this week and it was lovely to meet up with the Carers Team on Friday for our Manual Handling Workshop in the Northbay Hall. It was a bitter cold day and we sat listening huddled together with every layer of clothing kept on to keep us from chittering!

With chilly weather comes very often some glorious sunshine and clear days. Barra of course didn’t disappoint. So my editing of Irene Walker Art music video ( #barrartventure ) consisted of a couple of hours in the morning before the sun got itself up and shining then working very often into the wee small hours. In between Thai and I were, as always, up and out at the slightest glimmer of brighter daylight. Although grey and wet weather didn’t stop us either as as headed out on a short walk on the Vatersay hills with Jennie-Ann and her wee cutie 6 month old daughter Ivana on her back.

They make the weans tough here on Barra!

They make the weans tough here on Barra!

As I’ve mentioned previously Jackson and I are really looking into the possibility of buying a house on Barra and maybe even taking on a property that requires some work. So even though Jackson is in Canada I thought it would be good to look at one of the houses for sale in Brevig and what an amazing view it had!

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The house has loads of potential but possibly after adding renovation costs it would be a little out of our price range. We are howver keeping our fingers crossed that something comes up before out eviction date at the beginning of August! All we are looking for is a three bedroom house with a view and that shouldn’t be difficult as Barra certainly has a variety of them! And not to be asking too much I would like to see water too..

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One of our walks during the week took us all the way to Am Meall on the peninsular on Vatersay via the beach at Bagh a Deas. I love this beach, wonderful waves, sand, pebbles and alien spaceships!

Bagh a Deas, Vatersay

Bagh a Deas, Vatersay

Crashed spaceship! ???

Crashed spaceship! ???

As well as imaginary spaceships I noticed a face in the rocks too, must begetting too much of the Barra fresh air!! and by face I don’t mean the wee Jack Russell that popped up at the side of the photograph which I didn’t realise was there until I uploaded it onto this page!!

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As we walked towards Am Meall we thought we could see a clear path to the top. After sucessfully climbing over the barb wire fences we thought we were on the home straight but no matter what way we went it just seemed too rocky and steep to be walking along ledges on our own.

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At one point I looked down to see Thai giving me that look that told me I was being stupid so I climbed back down and we sauntered off back to the car along the Vatersay Coastal Walk. It is totally stunning seeing Bagh Bhatarsaigh from a different angle.

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So I’ve also been keeping myself amused by getting the glue out and sticking some of the treasures we’ve collected on the beaches over the past months onto a very roughly painted watercolour. Shells, stones, sea glass and using inspriation from picture taken on Vatersay I tried to create a mixed media 3D picture…..Jackson’s comment was “I’ve glad you couldn’t find the Mateus Rose bottle and made them onto a lamp!!” He is very brave when he’s hundreds of miles away….

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Thai on the other hand is like, are you making something I can eat Mum!!???

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One of the great things about being back on the island alone is that you make more of an effort to get out and about to meet up with some of the lovely women on Barra. In particular it was great to have a wee night visiting Loraine’s Mum Mary and her Nana Mary (Ben Jack), I arrived with lasagne and at the end of the night left with scones, shortbread and eggs. Now not any ordinary eggs, Mary’s own chicken’s eggs and a blue/green one into the bargain……I have never seen the like!

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So spare a wee thought for Jackson who is currently in Canada in chilly minus 15 degree temperatures and thankfully he has his Xmas pressie, from our viking buddy Loraine, keeping his bald head warm! Although here he is pretending to be one of the tough Barra guys!!

T-shirt and Norwegian woollie bunnet…that’s all you need in minus 15 degrees

T-shirt and Norwegian woollie bunnet…that’s all you need in minus 15 degrees

Whereas today we are basking in 6-8 degrees and beautiful sunshine in Barra, it is a hard life!

Shape shifting on Cleat beach - Sunday 20 January

Shape shifting on Cleat beach - Sunday 20 January

Reflections on Cleat

Reflections on Cleat

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Finally, I nearly forgot all about this!, on Monday and Tuesday this week the Screen Machine arrived in Castlebay and got to watch three great films; Mary Poppins Returns, Nae Pasaran! (Scottish Documentary - Edited by Colin Monie - this lovely man taught me how to edit films) and finally we were rocking in the truck to Bohemian Rhapsody (what a performance by Rami Malek!). You know what was so great about going to see films in the Screen Machine all by yourself, is that people come and sit beside you to chat before the film begins and/or as soon as they see you come in offer a seat beside them. In fact I’m beginning to feel so much part of this amazing community it kinda chokes me….. #Barragapyear is turning out to be quite an emotional experience.

so night night folks and thanks for your support in reading and sharing my Blog. It is apparently being read all over the world, why I’ve no idea but great to have you with me on this journey xx

Sunset tonight from my living room window x

Sunset tonight from my living room window x

Eileen Frater
Circle of Life - SIX months on Barra, Life is just too Short

Very difficult to start this Blog tonight, I can’t really get the right words in my head as we’ve had really sad news and really lovely news in 2019. So I don’t want to lead with it but it has certainly dominated my thoughts as I walk out on the Barra hills and beaches this week. I’m now back to being alone on the island, to be honest I am still very content to be on my own on Barra but have got used to Jackson being here. So the thought of him being away for 2 and 1/2 weeks was a bit emotional. So I’ve kept busy, been editing a couple short films for East Ayrshire council, I’ve been out enjoying my Zumba classes, met up with Katie and guys at the wonderful Barra Youth Cafe and next week I’ll start my Opportunities for All Youth Worker p/t post. At every opportunity you will find, Thai and I out and about when the rain stops and there’s a glimmer of that wonderful Hebridean light.

Traigh Tuath looking across to Ben Mhartainn

Traigh Tuath looking across to Ben Mhartainn

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So at the weekend before Jackson headed back to the mainland we did a bit of exploring of the coastline at Bruach Bearnasdale, there were some HUGE stones here, black and ominous…

I headed down into an open cavern surrounded by these rocks and it was quite spectacular looking up and out of it at Jackson and Thai in the distance. It was almost felt like a location setting for Game of Thrones, a dragon flying across wouldn’t have felt out of place!!

Every one of the stones underfoot was well rounded by the waves that obviously crash inside this area when the tides are in and I think I might head back one day when the waves pick up and watch them swirling round this cauldron!

Strangely enough, In amongst the blacks and greys, you can always find some bright colours and stuck in the middle of the crevices of these black rocks were groups of tiny green and orange snail shells.

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It wasn’t just the black rocks in this area that were different it was the way the landscape formed around the rock pools and the coverings of algae and mosses that was everywhere. It was an area that is completely different from other coastline walks that we have covered over the past six months.

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As we were about to head home last Saturday, a flock of Canada geese (normally it is Greylags) rose in front of us, taking our breath away as we just stood there in awe. For us it was a Canada fly pass for our Uncle Willie who passed earlier that morning, just totally beautiful and we’re going to miss him so much.

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Jackson and his brother Jim are flying over to Canada as I type to be with his Auntie Anna and all the Scottish family & friends send over with them our love and thoughts.


As you all know both myself and my daughter Emma both love taking pictures of rust, I don’t have the same obsession but nevertheless I am drawn to it whilst out walking. If you kneel down and get up close and personal with the many vehicles, farm implements etc that are abandoned across the island, it is totally mesmerising when the light catches both the colours of the rust and the variety of moss, algae and green stuff that grows on it!

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Not only is it amazing to see what grows on it but also what wraps around it, gets stuck in it and generally finds itself bonded to the stuctures. Heres’ some of the rusted finds from the beach at Traigh Sgurachal.

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The weather as always dominates life here and there’s been a few good blustery days over the past week and I’m still in awe of the fact that planes can still land at our Barra airport in 60mph winds. Or not as in some cases lately, Jackson was really lucky to get away on Wednesday as the visability was touch and go, his flight left but the following one didn’t! Phew…. A couple of days before his flight we did watch this one coming in and I can tell you if I’d been on either of these flights I would have passed out!

That day we saw another flight up close and personal as we walked along the beach at Traigh Sgurabhal, fifty metres from us a juvenile Golden Eagle (it may have been a Sea Eagle but we’ve settled for GE) landed on the beach. It stood at the water’s edge for ages and eventually I took a few steps towards it with my phone and managed to capture it rising up. Not wonderful quality but you get the jist…. it is a tiny wee clip.

This beach just nevers ceases to amaze us, even in a dull day you can still capture all the colours of the sea, thankfully we do get very wet days here on Barra or I would never ever get any work done!!

There’s just that wee shell that needs picked up…..

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In one corner of the island you can be watching the huge waves rolling in and on the other side it is calm as a millpond. But always the sea is this colour….

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So as my title suggestions, this week has been about the circle of life, and yes I have sadly lost a great uncle I have also gained a great nephew. I would like to introduce you to the absolutely gorgeous Avery James Porter who came into the world at a very healthly 10lb 2 ozs!! Congratulations to Lynsey and her hubbie Gavin, and as they said in the announcement “Look what we have made folks!!”

My nephew uncle Gordon, and my great nephew Avery xxx

My nephew uncle Gordon, and my great nephew Avery xxx

And also a very rare picture of my son Adam, holding the youngest person he has ever met in his life….

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Now I’m not going to fill the rest of this Blog with picture of my grand nephew but you get the message that I’m a very proud great auntie. xx


So other news or events that made me smile for this week was firstly the arrival of our new temporary lawnmower who took up residence in our garden for a day and I’m now hoping and praying she doesn’t tell her pals or I’ll have to shut the gate! Thai was bemused but really didn’t care as she treated the arrival with her usual sheep distain!

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Jackson also tried his hand at making marmalde for the first time although it tastes more like orange jam. Very yummy!!

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Now as I said at the beginning this has been a hard Blog to write because not only did we lose our Uncle Willie, Jackson was also over on the mainland to attend the funeral of his best friend’s daughter Leanne. At the age of 43, his precious daughter died suddenly, it has been a terrible tragedy and I can’t begin to imagine what this family are going through, our thoughts and love are with them too. We were honoured to attend Leanne’s wedding, it just seems like yesterday and it is just so sad to think she is no longer with us. Life is just too dam short for some beautiful souls. RIP Leanne.

Leanne and her Daddy, Douglas

Leanne and her Daddy, Douglas

So there you have it folks, the Circle of Life right enough and I’m going to finish with some stunning views from our beautiful Barra and to remind everyone to keep making memories with your friends and families, take loads of video and pictures because at the end of our time here on earth it will be all that’s left for people to remember us by - Film footage, photographs and memories; so keep getting out there and making them! #Barragapyear

The footprints I made whilst walking this beach yesterday were washed away by the time I walked back…..

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And finally I’ve been saying recently to my weans that when I die I would like a Viking funeral and this poster just made me smile. Hugs everyone and thanks for reading Eileen xxx

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Eileen Frater
Our First Festive Season - Half of the #Barragapyear Completed!!!

This time next week I will have spent SIX months on Barra, it is really strange thinking that one half of the #Barragapyear is over and really hoping the second half is not so quick!! It has been really lovely celebrating both our first Christmas and welcoming in the New Year on the island. Shortly after Christmas we were joined by our friends Robbie and Alison for their first visit to Barra, it was lovely to get back to beaches we hadn’t seen for a few weeks and being tour guides for six days.

Looking across to Castlebay from Vatersay

Looking across to Castlebay from Vatersay

Christmas Day for Jackson, Thai and myself was a wonderfully quiet affair, with none of the extra food we would normally eat at this time of year, in fact we just enjoyed being on the beach walking and chilling. It felt so different after so many years feeding and entertaining our extended family over the past 30 years. Our daughter Emma, eventually caught up with us to wish us Merry Christmas with a Skype call when we were out on Traigh Sgurabhal…… it was fresh but beautiful as always.

Jackson and Thai wrapped up like the proverbial “Wash-hoose spickets”

Jackson and Thai wrapped up like the proverbial “Wash-hoose spickets”

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On the day before our visitors were arriving we headed out in the drizzle to search for different types of sand or stages of the sandmaking process as we had a few of the lovely Fever Tree Tonic bottles (thanks to Jill and Joanne of J J Events xx) no emplty and with their labels removed that I thought they would look lovely filled with out finds! One area in particular just round from the cockle strand that is our Barra aiport you can find a beach full of broken shells. (Traigh Cille Barra) as well as some amazing rusting structures rising up from the sands not to mention the pieces of denim that were wrapped round them!

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So when we got all the collections together, washed out the shells/sand and poured into the tonic bottles, here’s the final display!

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It can be really rewarding when your imagination works overtime and you actually create something from left overs and this was also the case for the secret knitting project. So time to reveal our wool adventures here on Barra, and here we are at work!

Wool Bombing the Castelbay Anchor!

Wool Bombing the Castelbay Anchor!

And here’s a short video of their mission and wool masterpiece. Well done to Sarah and her Buth Bharraidh team for setting this up and for the lovely cup of hot chocolate n mince pies at the end of the evening.

For anyone interested here’s how we set up and filmed the match burning using Jackson’s newly acquired fly tying clamp to give the short film a Mission Impossible type theme:

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I think it looks really cool and wonder where else we could wool bomb on the islands???

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On Friday 28th December Robbie and Alison had a lovely day for their sail over to Castlebay and we also enjoyed the good weather by spending it on Vatersay - Bagh a Deas.

Vatersay - Bagh a Deas

Vatersay - Bagh a Deas

It was great to get back out showing off Barra and Vatersay to our visitors and here’s a selection of the walks we covered over the six days!

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Events we thoroughly enjoyed over the New Year activites was the Annual Community Carol Service at St Barr’s Hall in Northbay on 30th where Alison and I got into the spirit with our version of Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer! Hognamay we spent in the house with a meal prepared by our visitors and my favourite champagne, Mumms! We brought the bells in looking out the living room window as Castlebay lit up with fireworks, flares from the lifeboat and blasts of the horn from the CalMac ferry. Our first footer was Mary from across the road she popped in with a beautiful bunch of flowers……totally magical XX

lights, champagne and flowers to welcome in 2019!

lights, champagne and flowers to welcome in 2019!

The following night was a slightly more manic affair!! We headed to the Vatersay Hall in the evening to listen to and watch the dancers take to the floor as the Vatersay Boys played. I had to laugh as the Danny Bhoy sketch that is doing the rounds on Facebook came to mind as I recalled him stating that the ceilidh is something that is the cross between a dance and a fight!! No fights in the hall but very little space on the dance floor. Absolutely wonderful to watch all ages on the the floor from the very first chord struck!

The 2nd of January took us up to the top of Ben Heavel, my third visit to the summit of this hill and it still isn’t getting any easier!! WE did have the honour of two golden eagles flying overhead as we made the acsent. It was really bitterly cold and damp when we got to the top and Thai even though she had her wee jacket on was not a happy dug. So whilst I was having my hot cuppa I slipped her into my backpack and wrapped her in my towel. She look so warm and compfy in it I decided to take her a bit of the way down the hill still inside it!

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Our nights in with Robbie and Alison generally either involved playing board games or watching films and they just happended to mention that they would like to watch the orginal version of Whiskey Galore by Compton MacKenzie. It was the first time since I was a wee lassie that I’ve seen it and I thoroughly enjoyed spotting the various landmarks on the island. So as a thank you we headed to the graveyard at Cille Bharra (now I have previously quickly looked for his gravestone but never found it) to look for CM’s grave. What a lovely place to be buried!

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Being great wildlife spotters, Robbie and Alison managed to see a good variety of birds and animals on their visit and in particular the glimpse of an otter on rocks just off the coast at Traigh Sgurabhal. WE had spotted loads of their footprints all over the islands and I also learnt to spot them! A very distinctive five small pads…

Otter Footprints

Otter Footprints

So whilst the others were looking outwards for wildlife I still kept my head down to admire the stones, seaweed, flora and fauna, so here’s the final photographs for this rather extended Blog! thanks again to everyone who has got this far and for sharing our adventures too. Here’s to 2019 and our #Barragapyear second half…

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Endnote: Robbie has just had a knee replacement and it was great he was able to get up the hills with us and of course a whirl round the dance floor on New Yea’s Day with Alison.

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Finally was rather chuffed with one of the recipes out the Coop December magazines, Pear Poached in Red wine Tart with orange Creme Fraiche! We have eaten like Kings and Queens this week….ooft!

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Safe journey home Robbie and Alison….

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Eileen Frater
Our First Barra Christmas Eve.....A Year Ago who would have Known!!

With 17 shorts films and full length film edited for South Ayrshire Council (Tam Trail), a Vox Box completed for East Ayrshire Council’s Big Sing! Days and now that I’m feeling better it has been great to be out and about filming on Barra. Of course there was secret knitting project (you’ll hear about that adventure in my next Blog)!! It is really hard to believe it is the end of December and the weather has suddenly turned mild and o so calm!! In fact the seas have been like beautiful mill ponds….

View from the Roadside

View from the Roadside

Vatersay Causeway

Vatersay Causeway

So with calm weather we get no waves to film or photograph so in between the rain showers and editing it has been magical to get out and enjoy the the gentle ripples of the water. Now my project for the week was to capture water but not waves so here’s what we got up to….

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So I have been hanging over rocks, sinking in wet sand and climbing through jaggy brambles bushes to capture the movement of water travelling through the island, whether that is rivers running towards the sea or ones flowing through ruins. All footage taken on my mobile phone!

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Most of the shots were of gentle river ripples but also some lovely small waterfalls which allowed me the chance to work with the Slo Mo on my camera phone. Balancing the phone on rocks was a challenge, so I carried a selection of wee stones to create a level survace.

I think it works well in this short film edited to a classical piano track called “Deep Water”.

Now this week I have certainaly got up close and personal with sand as I’ve slipped and lost my balance a few times ending up with wet knees and elbows. But the sand is fascinating and every beach the sand is different, some so soft and smooth whereas others are coarse and full of tiny little colourful shells. So while I’m filming water ripples Jackson has been photographing sand!!

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Jackson is one happy man here on Barra, he is enjoying his badminton, his photography and thanks to Aamzon he is now set up and enjoying his fly tying pastime! What can I say , it is a man thing….

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To be honest I can’t really say much as I’ve my shell and stone collection and now a considerable sea glass collection which Jackson has also got addicted to! So we have been filling up bottles with our collections and this past week has seen a wonderful hawl of colourful glass.

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This week we also popped into Castlebay School to watch their Christmas show. it was lovely to see the Primary School performing five short theatre pieces which told the Christmas Story. As winners of the 2018 Winter Show Competition, these peices were planned and produced through a funding package which was sponsored by The Scottish Salmon Company and supported by The Nataion Theatre of Scotland. The different acts were performed in either Gaelic or English which fortuantely for Jackson & I we had a rough idea of the story because we definitely hadn’t a clue when it came to understanding the Gaelic.

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Now you will all be glad to know that Thai is fully recovered and continues to still hate the rain. This week we were caught in a heavy shower and once I got myself into Jackson’s waterproof poncho Thai was up in my arms without having to ask her twice. She was just quite happy to ride the shower out in my arms and she’s a heavy wee dug after 20 mintues!

thanks Daddy for your poncho

thanks Daddy for your poncho

With my art classes now finished it was lovely to see that we goot a wee mention in the Lews News (Highland and Island University/Lews Campus) and a few of my photographs credited too

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Flora and fauna still amaze both of us and when you have plenty of time to take it all in, it quite wonderful the colours you spot even in winter.

I need to mention the other spotting we did on the way to the Co-op this morning. We just has to pull over to watch the Golden Eagle hovering close to the town centre, it certainly makes life interesting that’s for sure… no picture of course but you’ll just have to take our work for it.

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As mentioned earlier Jackson was photographing water and I was filming, so here’s one of my favourites from his collection today.

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So after filming every rock and waterfall I turned my attention to the only available talent to film, Thai the dug! It is like taking a teenager out on our walks some days, she just gets in a huff with all the standing about plus the fact she has to keep crossing back and forward the freezing cold burn to get atttention from us. Didn’t make for a particularly happy Barra dug today!

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So we played around with Slo Mo today and here’s a wee edit of the selection of short clips I eventually got Thai to perform for. As you can see she is looking great and jumping about like a young thing.

So all that’s left is to wish all our friends and family both here, on the mainland and abroad a lovely festive season and arra’ very best for 2019! Fae Fraters oan Barra xxxx

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Eileen Frater