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