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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Eileen Frater8 Comments