Settling into Island Life..... Barra style! #EmbracetheCrazy

I don’t know whether it is because I have moved further west or maybe it is just because island life suits us but Barra is really beginning to feel like home. Is it wrong to say I am not missing anything about Ayrshire or the mainland? I talk to my parents, sister and weans on a regular basis and probably have more meaningful conversations than if I was back in Ayrshire and they are all planning visits next year so everyone seems happy. On the work front, Prancing Jack Productions continues to do well and new film commissions were agreed this week from business and individuals both on the mainland and here on Barra. More about that little gem later..

As we have no-one either living on the island or staying with us from the mainland it is all about getting out and about meeting up with Barra folks or generally passing the time of day with people we have got to know over the past FIVE months! On many of our walks or drive round the island we come across Cath and Bruce the local brid watchers who keep us up to date with which birds are on the island and which ones have just been spotted. Yesterday we walked to Bagh A Deas on Vatersay and met both of them with news that there is a Corn Bunting on the island. This bird was thought to be extinct on the Western Isles so another good news story for the twitchers! On this walk we spotted a pair of Golden Eagles as we headed to the beach……just another day on Barra.

Bagh a Deas with Jackson (Cath in the distance)

Bagh a Deas with Jackson (Cath in the distance)

So we’ve had another good breezy day here on the rock this week, with gusts nearly hitting the 80mph mark and there was a 43ft wave recorded off the shores too! Offt….. The house was a rocking as they say but to be honest the winds blowing up Queens Terrace in Ayr can be just as wild so we are feeling quite at home! The only difference is that you just are desperate to head out and see the waves and capture the light. This can be difficult as standing on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is no mean feat and there’s the restraint of trying to be safety conscious too.

There’s one story I have to relay. On the evening of the storms whilst visiting the Co-op, we met one of the lovely Loganair ground staff in the store wearing her uniform and we were curious to ask why…….surely there was no flights in 70 pmh + winds?????

Her reply is legendary “TWO planes landed today, C’mon the Loganair” with a fist punch in the air!!! Flippin heck, glad I wasn’t on either of them……

This is the only weather I like to fly in.

Picture taken this summer of Loganair’s Twin Otter “Spirit of Eildh”

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Now many will know that we are beginning to look into our options for staying on the island and although we still have 7 more months left to stay in our lovely house in Castlebay we are always on the look out for a house that might be in need of renovation or some TLC. So whilst out walking along the The Birds of Prey walk which btw we never saw a single bird!!, we did spy this little compact and bijou cottage.

A little renovation work required…..

A little renovation work required…..

Maybe it was pushing Jackson’s DIY skills to the limit but there were some lovely views and as always I have my camera at the ready!

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What has been surprising is that even though it is now officially winter and the storms we have seen recently have proved it without a question of a doubt. We continue to find colours in the wildlife, flora and fauna. We spotted these flowers out and about this week and they just brighten up a rather grey and dull day.

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The last two mornings have seen both Jackson and myself heading out before breakfast to catch the soft light and yesterday took us to Bagh Siar which the reflections and colours once again didn’t disappoint. When you walk through these dunes it literally takes your breath away.

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Last night as the light was fading we decided to walk a short distance from the centre of Castlebay and head to Orasaigh. Now I cannot believe it has taken us 5 months to discover this gem of a walk which gives you a lovely view of Kisimul Castle and currently we have the honour of walking beside a wonderful small herd of Highland Castle. I took so many photographs by phone battery died on me!! Here’s the reason why, you’ve just gotta love them and I’ve giving no apologies for the cuteness overload for the next three pictures (pictures 2 & 3 taken by Jackson)

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The island is certainly heating up with festive activities and that includes the heat from the Xmas lights that are lighting up the dark nights…… Las Vegas/Barra style! The radio was playing when I filmed most of these clips so I’ve kept the sound track which kinda gets you in the mood!!

Of course this is the time for daft Christmas jumpers but we never packed any. Thankfully Lorraine told us to look in the loft for Xmas decorations so we picked out some lights and the odd strange stuffed animal which added to our similar collection. We just happened to also spot this jumper!!! So we borrowed it for the Christmas Jumper fundraiser event in Northbay Hall….

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So we are gradually getting to know more people on the island and in particular my lovely art teacher Cheryl. This week we were absolutely delighted to be commissioned to film her wedding next year on Barra, so quickly booked Emma’s flights over so that the full #TeamPJP will be deployed to film this occasion! Well chuffed….

Cheryl, bride to be and Eileen(well chuffed film director)

Cheryl, bride to be and Eileen(well chuffed film director)

Took the above photograph on Saturday afternoon at the local Christmas Fayre held in CAstlebay School, so I came away with a couple of Christmas cards, some Barra hand made soap, a bunny patch, a puffin coaster (photographed by Rosie) and a pot of blue hyacinths. All proceeds were going to Barra and Vatersay Youth Activities. It was so lovely look around and be able to recognise (and in some cases remember names) of loads of people supporting this event and it always great to be met by the youngsters of the Barra Pipes at the door!

Castlebay School Christmas Fayre

Castlebay School Christmas Fayre

More socialising last night took me out to Northbay Hall for our Zumba Christmas Party night, I cannot remember the last time I was out a Christmas do! Games, laughter and dancing (huge selection of music and even the odd Rod Stewart track…), we had loads of great banter and I recon a few sore heads this morning. Thanks Theresa for inviting me and it was great to meet your lovely Mum. As for Marie-Claire, well let’s say several conversations with this woman confirms the mantra “Life is too short, so let’s #EmbracetheCrazy ”.

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On the pet front, Thai has been under the weather today and wasn’t up for any walking or eating so she has been staying close to home on the couch with her blanket. We think it is the bits of pork her Daddy gave her yesterday that’s upset her stomach, omg it is stressful having a no well wee Jack Russell! Jackson captured this picture a couple of days ago which I love so here’s hoping she’s back to normal service soon!

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There’s is so much going on here on Barra, I’ve had to re-edit this Blog several times because I’ve forgotten about events etc which have taken place over the past week, total madness. You’ve just got to go with the flow and embrace the crazy.

My favourite picture of the week was taken last night on Vatersay. Me, My Dug and and my Camera phone (new phone coming as my current 5 year old phone battery is under stress with all the photographs I’m taking). Thanks everyone for reading and sharing xxx night night xx #BARRAGAPYEAR

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Weather, Waiting, Waving and Whalebones!

The weather dominates the week, with excess of 70 mph winds blasting the island it has been an exciting few days. Firstly we have been waiting for the ferry to bring fresh supplies to the island and our Amazon deliveries (new board games!), the ferry sailed on Monday and it was Saturday (3.15am sailing) before it left the harbour again. Needless to say Saturday night at the Co-op was a very social event, we could have held a ceilidh inside with the amount of people we met and blethered to.

Even though it has been windy the light some days has been wonderful and we headed out at every opportunity to capture it with Irene and Archie. This was their last week (five weeks staying at Gerry’s Crannag Cottage) so every minute counted! The weather app may have stated dark clouds, sunny periods with high chance of rain, we still were able to capture views like this at Eoligarry.

It just doesn’t seem real!

It just doesn’t seem real!

And of course with sunshine and rain you get rainbows, and as always this island doesn’t disappoint, you can spot them everywhere. Capturing them is often difficult with mobile phones but using the panorama option it can sometime work well.

Barra Double Rainbows

Barra Double Rainbows

It is lovely to still see the animals outside and roaming across the sand dunes and beaches. I rather liked this picture of them up on the hillside with the clouds reflecting on the water, a really magical scene on a bitterly cold November day.

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Earlier this year we had a whale beached on this stretch of sand and from the Facebook posts it was confirmed by the Scottish Marine as a deep sea dwelling - Cuvier Beaked Whale. We knew roughly where it had landed and when walking back to car Jackson spotted what seemed to be one of the bones standing upright in the dunes. So this large bone is back home with us, cleaned with bleach and once it totally dries out will no doubt join the other bones I’ve collected over the past four months! The photograph however, tells a story, with the dark clouds heading towards us Jackson was determined to get us back to the car before we got soaked, so the taking of a mometo photograph wasn’t high on his list of priorities!!! #grumpyoldman

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So in between caturing the wonderful Barra light, collecting stones and whale bones, rock formations are still a fasination and the white quartz in particular just sparkles in the light.

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So even though the skies are looking very ominous some days, catch a glimmer of sunlight and you can still be amazed at the colours of the water and sands.

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But this week it hasn’t just been about colours outside, our art class has also been caturing the colours of the sea with watercolours and then adding bright acrylic colours for the jellyfish! We also covered stomry skies but didn’t have time to take a pictures of those masterpieces (they’ll be finished next week so you might get a wee preview of them in the next Blog!). The class is a wonderful eclectic array of Barra and Vatersay folks and every single one of them just makes me smile with their stories. Cheryl our art teacher is lovely too, she came to Barra for her probationery teaching year, eight years later is still here and is marrying a Barra man next April!

Colourful artwork for our Thursday night class

Colourful artwork for our Thursday night class

Now wildlife spotting is easy here, especially for the Jack Russell who can be seen often with her head stuck down a rabbit’s burrow and this week I thought she was going to disappear competely down this one. This was a dog on a mission! No rabbit was harmed btw….

Thai on a rabbit mission!

Thai on a rabbit mission!

Yesterday we said goodbye to Irene and Archie as their five week visit to Barra came to an end yesterday, thankfully they had a gentle sail back home todaywith a normal ferry departure time of 8am. So our last day we did a bit of blue sky and storm chasing and we weren’t disappointed. Here’s a few clips to give you a flavour of the power of nature (there’s a gentler clip midway through to fit the music tempo and it was filmed today on Vatersay)

I’m a real believer that things happen for a reason, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, so after we left Vatersay’s waves we headed back to Barra to see the waves on the West coast when Irene cried out she had lost her phone. Now this is not an easy phone to lose as it is bright pink. So with Archie in the back having to hold back on the usual husband’s comments, Jackson happily turned the car back to see if we could find it and, lo and behold, it was thankfully just at our parking spot - safe and sound! On the way back to Barra, on the single track road out of Vatersay, we had travelled three times already, Jackson stopped the car and right at the road side was a beautiful grey seal pup just watching us pass by! What lovely markings this younster had and how we managed to miss it, is beyond me, once again we all should get along to Specsavers!

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What a lovely find for irene and Archie’s last adventure this year on Barra! We hope to see them back again in the New Year for further nature walks and adventures. Irene has a book full of sketches and a memory card full of photographs to keep here painting Barra scapes over the coming months. #Barrartventures

Our final beach walk with them took us to the north of island past Eoligarry and I noticed a lovely shaped branch that had been blown up onto the rocks. Jackson was having none of it but Irene and Archie happily squeezed into the back of our car and we got the branch into position so that it held them both firmly in their car seats. Eileen 1 : Jackson 0.

Thanks guys, you’ll be glad to note it was all worth it!! The Christmas season has kicked off, as we now have it covered with fairy lights in the hall!

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So with Irene & Archie on their way home, looking out to an exteremly dreech day, after a couple of hours of editing interviews I persuaded Jackson that it was time to head out and blow the cobwebs away. So a short walk along a Vatersay beach did the trick and although the skies are grey the colours of the sea just light up the seascape.

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Now before we climbed over the dunes to this beach we stood for several minutes watching a Sea Eagle gently glide about 200 metres above us, always aware of the fact we have a small animal that might look like lunch to them! It just looked huge with its white tail catching the light and then it took off as it was being spooked by a blizzard. Magnificient moment, no photographs just memories stored away in our heads. However I did manage successfully, although just on my mobile phone, to capture a young seal playing in the wateredge as we were about to leave Vatersay. So cute!

Finally three last picture’s for this week’s Blog:

  1. Rock formations leading towards the sea at Eoligarry

  2. One of the many rusting items to be found on the beaches here on Barra

  3. Ferry at night time in Castlebay with a glimmer of light in the sky

Thanks agaign for reading and sharing my Blog, it is loads of fun to write and the hours fly in as I plan/try to remember everything that might be of interest to readers! It certainly helps keep the old brain cells active!

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There's been mystical forces at work......Barra has got us!

After the emotional previous week there’s been a change in the air with the realisation that Barra has truly got under our skin and that maybe we might just stay here after our #Barragapyear. With that in mind it has been so much easier to just chill and enjoy every single moment on this island, whether that’s out climbing the hills (and there’s been many this week), working/editing, filming the young people at Barra Youth Cafe or at their badminton coaching session or just the absolute joy of eating round a table with our new Barra friends then playing Liar Dice until midnight.

The only sad thing is that Irene and Archie 5 weeks staying at Crannag cottage is about to come to an end on Sunday, it has been lovely sharing the walks, photography and the creativity with them. We’re going to miss popping into their wee cottage to see them when we’re up in the north of the island.

What a week we have had with the weather, chilly but check out the blue blue skies, November at its finest on beautiful Barra!

Cleat

Cleat

We took the DSLR camera out on a hike up to Cnoc an Fhithich just past the golf course and Irene got out her sketch book and quickly captured the stunning views with her pencil. We filmed her at work as part of the music vide we mentioned previously.

The sun was so bright and of course we were on the wrong side of Seal Bay to capture photographs without sun flair but it was just too amazing not to try our best!

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The artist at work #Barrartventure

The artist at work #Barrartventure

As Irene and Archie hadn’t seen any of the Duns (local term for cairns or ancient settlements) we climbed up to see two of Barra very own Duns, the first is one we have been to before at Dun Ban which is along from the stunning beach at Tangasdale.

Tangasdale

Tangasdale

What a difference it was from the last time Jackson & I visited this area, when the waves were crashing and rolling up over the outcrops and small islands along this coastline. This week it was like a millpond!

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Walking along the terrain, it was a bit wet underfoot but ever so often your eye catches the bright green (well moss green if you’re being technically correct) of the moss which spreads over the rocks like a thick soft blanket. I don’t know how many times I dropped to the ground to photograph it but here’s what I’m talking about…. never seen anything quite like it.

Moss green blanket

Moss green blanket

On the final leg on the walk home we stopped at the pebble beach at Aird na Greagaig as I noticed some colourful stones that could just add to my collection. I washed them in the sea before popping them into my jacket pocket and they just look beautiful in the water.

Colourful Stones of Barra

Colourful Stones of Barra

So we eventually got ourselves almost back to Tangasdale and were about to open the gate that takes you to the beach, when Irene nearly gave us a heart attack by crying out “there’s a baby seal under the gate”. Thai, the Jack Russell, was the last to notice and in fact totally ignored its gorgeous wee face!! I was totally mesmerised by this little creature, left safely at high tide by her mum and it had obviously decided to go exploring! I have to share two photographs as I love them both…. nature at its very best and a perfect way to end our day.

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Now getting back to the mystical forces at work, I think we are beginning to get noticed on the island and for our first four months we have been pretending to be a nice normal couple, the disguise has worked as it was lovely to be invited out for dinner on Saturday night. We joined Katie & Chris in their lovely home overlooking the bay, along with their lodger (sorry forgotten his name) & Rebecca (both work with K & C’s Barra Surf and Coastal Adventures company), the lovely badminton coaches Laura and Bruce and not forgetting their family (Plus two dogs and two cats!!). The night ended with plenty of wine and games of liar dice…a wonderful combination of fun and competition.

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This sums up the magical forces of life on Barra, it is all about friends, family and our fur babies! (of course real weans as well, although Jackson has remarked that Ben (Katie & Chris’ son) is a marked man since he beat Jackson at badminton - in fact Ben nearly broke him!!)


Yesterday, Sunday, was a day for a short walk as I was out in the morning filming at the Barra Youth Cafe and interviewing Fiona Manford for a short film to present as part of a funding bid. The young people on Barra are so lucky that there’s so many parents and volunteers willing to give up their time to run youth cafes, organise badminton coaching sessions and take them off on trips to go surfing, coasteering and all sorts of crazy adventures! The island buzzs with it…….

We headed up to discover another Dun this time overlooking Traigh Eais at the Dun Scurrival ruins up in the very north of the island. The views were spectacular from every angle and over every ridge, here’s a very rough cut video of the views and the waves from the beach (video shot by Irene earlier in November)

It is all about just sitting and taking it all in. It isn’t about rushing up the hill just to tick the box, well to be honest it is just too beautiful to rush anywhere. The perfectly formed seat shaped rocks just make you want to sit and be in the moment and Irene and I put the world to right looking out across these views.

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and not to be content with just looking at the views, we have to share the photographs of the views with each other as we take them!!! Here’s the huddle of weans around their phones/cameras looking across the Dun to Traigh Sgurabhal…..

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Traigh Sgurachal

Traigh Sgurachal

After four weeks of hill walking traing for Irene & Archie it was time this morning to go big and venture up Barra’s highest hill, Ben Heaval! As the weather is looking like it is about to turn wild again and today could be their last chance to head up this hill. So with flasks filled and sandwiches made…. we were off!

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There’s just so much to talk about/observe and I don’t want to bore everyone to death but I just have to mention again the rocks here on Barra. Where else can you see colours and shapes like them?

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There are three photographs with Irene and Archie that sums up the great fun we have had over the past four weeks. It has been really wonderful to share our advenures on Barra with these creative and like minded folks. #Barragapyear

Finally, a huge thanks to everyone across the world who have been reading and sharing my Blog and I hope I make you all smile as I emerse myself in island life. It is both mystical and magical, and that very force means that there could be the chance of wonderful future life spent on #Barradise.

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Good night folks xx

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Eileen Frater
Emotional Rollercoaster of a Flight back to Barra

So back on Barra after a really lovely time, meeting with old and new clients, spending time with my parents and weans and with every minute scheduled - the four days just flew in. To the point I began to think maybe I could actually live on the island after my #Barragapyear and still keep Prancing Jack Productions going, after all it has worked for over four months now!

Tangasdale

Tangasdale

Time for a reality check because when I got back on the island absolutely shattered, the very thought of not living here was too much for this wee wummin and I spent the first two days back an emotional wreck! It is very difficult to explain but the idea of NOT travelling back to Barra after a frantic few days working on the mainland is incomprehensible. The emotion of returning by plane, seeing the island appearing in the window, Jackson picking me up at the beach airport, driving home along the coast, seeing the waves, the hills and changing colours…. it is something I never ever imagined I would experience. It is for me, the total and absolute contentment of being somewhere you feel safe and loved xx

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Enough of the ‘rose-coloured’ glasses talk, my return flight to and from Glasgow was something else! It is without doubt one of the most beautiful flights I have ever flown on but it is still scary. Big planes are fine because once I’m up in the air above the clouds I can settle down to watch a movie, have a wee drink and generally forget about the fact you’re up in the air without a parachute! On the twin otter, there is NO getting away from the fact that you’re flying and throughout the flight you keep getting a glimpe of the pilot regularly twiddling his knobs and engine noise is deafening (thankfully there was engine noise!). However, this will not stop me from using this method to get to the mainland as it was great just to pop off the plane after an hour, be picked up my son and drive straight home to Ayr. Door to door in less than 2 hours, not a bad commute!

So after resting up for a few days, giving myself a good talking to and with the sun splitting the skies it was time to get out into the hills! It was lovely to head out with Irene and her daughter Katie who was over for a few days visiting Barra for the first time. So it was off to walk along Traigh Bharlais on Vatersay, and I may have collected a few stones that day as part of my therapy!

Traigh Bharlais

Traigh Bharlais

It was very strange to see the sea so still, although it was very cold there was hardly a whisper and virtually no waves. It was really like a beautiful spring day.

Jackson, Irene, Katie & Thai

Jackson, Irene, Katie & Thai

I love to see the colours of the creels and nets abandoned on the beach and the shapes formed by the moving sands. Not to mentioned the blue blue skies!

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Along the way we were watched by the cows and I just loved the colours of rust on this gate. Also check out the lovely bit of blanket stitch at the bottom holding up the plank of wood.

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I think my love of the outdoors comes from my Dad as he is never inside and can be found pottering about in the woods beside his house in all weathers. His latest adventures are keeping his woodland tidy by taking the hand saw to all the lower down fine twigs of the trees. Although some of the scars he showed me looked more like large branches than twigs. Also the little pair of white step ladders and garden chair made my health & safety warning light flash. Farmers (now full time beekeeper) they never change and they never stop looking after their land. At 80 he is thriving on it! His wood is looking great plus he bundles all the cutting into nice tidy piles so that the beasties can live in them and the wee birds have a good source of food. The wonderful circle of life. Leslie Morton you are a legend. x

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Back on Barra, it is all about juggling work time and play time because the weather as I mentioned is cold but this is also a not to be missed glorious spell of sunshine. So it is up early to get as much work at my desk as is required until I return later in the day, afterall the daylight hours are shorter so just want to make the most of them. Joining Irene and Katie again for walks on Tangasdale and Katie really wanted to see seals so of course Seal Bay is the place to be for that. The bird life on the island is still magnificent, there’s still some field fares flying around, curlews, snipes, stonechats, whooper swans and lapwings. When crossing the fields to Seal Bay it was lovely to watching the greylag geese rising in front of us.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

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Now of course we weren’t disappointed and we spotted several cute and curious seals in the bay. So Katie got to tick that off her list of things to do and see on the island!

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It was great to just sit and chat and of course put the world to right. Three bobble hats sitting on the rocks and that wee strange dug nestling in beside us to keep warm

Thai, Eileen, Irene & Katie

Thai, Eileen, Irene & Katie

Now talking about our Jack Russell, Thai she is definitely not a water dog and will even walk round puddles to avoid getting her feet wet. We were all standing watching the seals coming in really close and bobbing in the bay. Thai must have spotted one because whilst I was filming the seal on my phone I looked down to see her very gingerly stepping into the water to check it out…..it must have been flippin’ freezing, I couldnt’ believe it. So here’s the evidence:

Another subject matter we are currently filming and that is Irene’s art journey on Barra as part of a music video, with music composed by Alistair McCulloch. #Barrartventure. Here’s a flavour of some of her artwork, the blues are stunning and do you recognise where they are?

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Finally what a brilliant concert last night in Northbay Hall kicking off with the Barra Pipes and then Heela & Sian gave us an evening of music. Two groups of beautiful and talented young women. Spellbinding and when the pipes start up, you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck rise…

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Eileen Frater
Four months on Barra, a Third of my #Barragapyear completed....

Yesterday was my FOUR month anniversary and I honestly can’t believe it! This morning had me rushing about in the morning because I just wanted to get out and onto a Barra beach so that I can breath in the air before I fly back to the mainland for 4 days of Prancing Jack Productions madness. Now I’ve spent four months watching friends and family arrive and leave from the Barra beach on the Loganair Twin Otter this will be my FIRST time! Rather be looking for otters than flying in one.

Fly back, ooft, this is going to be interesting, I’m not the bravest person in the air so deep breath Eileen - it is going to be fine! Yea right…..

ONE - I don’t want to be on a plane back to the Glasgow

TWO - I don’t want to be leaving Barra! and this is why- scenes of the high tide on Vatersay and the magnificent stones this morning!

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Somebody is really happy to spending time home alone on Barra for the first time!! Sometimes I just can’t remember why I married him!!??

Bad bad husband!!

Bad bad husband!!

So in a few hours I’ll be racing down the M77 towards Ayrshire and somehow it will not feel the same…..

This morning’s drive back from Vatersay…not exactly the M8/M77!

This morning’s drive back from Vatersay…not exactly the M8/M77!

Now this photograph isn’t from today but I love it. Took it when out with my walk with Sarah on Cleat last week and it just needs to be added to my Blog! Love the colours and energy…..I’m going to miss it for the next 4 days (roll on Saturday) xx

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Well Jackson got back safe to Barra on Sunday, you should have seen his wee face when he stepped off the plane, he was one happy man! So was the dug. She was sitting on the blue fence waiting for him and of course he whistled to attract her attention. She leapt out my arms, bolted off to greet him, and we got a few stern faces as she ran across the sand towards the plane to be with him!!! Sorry guys, unconditional love knows no boundaries or airport regulations.

Daddy’s Home…..

Daddy’s Home…..

It was good to have him home, and he was quick to get his feet up. It was a busy few days filming on the mainland and he was kean to get out and capture the beautiful skies. So we headed out and spent the evening out on Seal Bay watching the seals, watching us….. they are everywhere just bobbing about. Cheeky wee monkeys!

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Thai hardly noticed the seals, so when she wasn’t looking up and idolising her Daddy, she was searching for those pesky rabbits. All you can see of course his her rearend peaking out from the burrows!!

there’s a rabbit in here somewhere!

there’s a rabbit in here somewhere!

It has been lovely having all our visitors coming to stay with us on the island and we are now on our own in the house until Christmas. Of course in the north of the island, it has been great to having Irene and Archie staying at Crannag Cottage, for five weeks, and for them. too, the time is flying past as they have been with us now for over two weeks. Irene is absolutely loving her time painting and fully embracing the elements! #Barrartventure

Irene and I both agree that living here is like walking on clouds and she just made me smile when last night she sent me over this picture of her painting of us walking in the reflections on Vatersay. Can you spot Thai? It absolutely captures the past FOUR months……

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So as I said earlier, I’m heading off back to the mainland and actually getting to stay in our new house in Doonfoot, Ayr. It is ONE whole month since the removal men deposited our worldly possessions there under the guidence of my son Adam. I’ve never stepped inside it before, I’ve only seen pictures on Rightmove so here’s hoping I like it! It will also be great to catch up with Adam and play some board games. Although I do seem to have more quality time talking to him on Facebook Messenger than when I actually lived with him. That’s the joys of having a geek for a son!

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I’m going to so miss the island, Jackson and of course Thai.

One armed bandit…..

One armed bandit…..

Well the diary is full and overflowing for the next four days! Meetings in Ayr and Glasgow with five clients and I’m out on two film shoots for South Ayrshire Council - Active Schools, it is going to be manic but I’m sure time will fly. Now talking about flying it is time to get to the airpor, put on my big girl pants and bravely climb aboard…..eeek! Thankfully Archie will be joining me as he need to get back for 10 days for visitors, grand children and club meetings. Get ready to hold my hand!

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Eileen Frater
Wild Storms, Outside Art and a Stranger Encounter....

The crazy wild Barra weather had us storm chasing and searching for waves earlier this week.. This was the day before Jackson headed back to the mainland to film for our company Prancing Jack Productions and also with my daughter, Emma’s company Bat and Eye Productions. A husband’s work is never done…

Catching the wave!

Catching the wave!

It is great to be living within a community where events are really supported both by the lovely Barra folks and in particular local business Padula’s Island Stores. Fireworks with free soup and sausage rolls…… fab! A wet n wild night…

It was really exciting to see Jackson leave Barra because we got to watch him fly off from Barra Airport’s control tower. It was also really lovely to meet Angela and her HIA team. This was all possible because my friend, fellow Ayrshire Businesswoman, Sarah Plant, (she flew in on the earlier Twin Otter) had got permissions for us to go up into the control tower. Before Sarah set up her company Sarah’s Creative Occasions she had worked as an engineer with NATS (National Air Traffic Services) so obviously had the right contacts to organise this for us.

Sarah and Eileen in charge of Control Tower!!

Sarah and Eileen in charge of Control Tower!!

Information gleamed from our visit. Barra has THREE runways, communications between Glasgow and Barra are by phone and communication between pilot and control tower is by radio microphone. They know the plane is about to land when they SEE it. On a good day you can see the mainland from the control tower, however, we could just about see Archie & Irene’s cottage across the beach!! We heard lots of funny stories many of which are not repeatable!!

And in future should you find yourself without internet, electricity or any of modern day gadgets , here’s how you signal the airport using morse code!

Barra airport - Morse Code

Barra airport - Morse Code

It was really lovely to have Sarah on the island, and we had great fun walking, laughing and eating! It was also great that Irene and Archie joined us out on the hills for some of our adventures. Our first day out, we headed out to Vatersay and walked up Beinn Chuidhir where we saw three different beaches and coastlines as well as across to Castelbay. It was breezy…..

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Sarah and I also had our storm chasing day as we got up early on Thursday so that we could catch the best of the day, well at least according to BBC weather app which in this instance was relatively accurate.

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It has been a few weeks since I’ve walked along to my swim beach at Eilean Carragraigh on Vatersay and it was strange to see how much my beach has changed since my last visit. After the recent heavy rain, rocks have now appeared where a sandy beaches used to be and there was evidence of several river ways having formed heading to the sea.

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Art has featured in the past week, Sarah joined me for my pottery class and Sarah & I sat outside Crannog Cottage sketching the ever chancing light and landscapes in front of us. Irene has several canvases now painted of scenes from Barra and Vatersay. Can’t wait to share them #barrartvenure

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My attention span is very very short, and after working on only one sketch I spotted the amazing colours of the seaweed at the cottage as well as sea glass and pottery! Firstly here’s the treasure trove, together with a wee sea monster!

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And then there was the colours from the shells……. mesmerising!

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And as always I got down low and photographed the colours on the rocks on Vatersay, and with the exposure of the more of the rocks after the heavy rain it was great to look at new features on one of my favourite beaches.

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Of course the another things I keep mentioning is the amazing light here on the island, together with reflections, cloud formations, waves and getting down low to take photographs! So here’s a selection of my favourite photographs from the week…

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Sarah, Archie, Irene and the dug and her lugs!

Sarah, Archie, Irene and the dug and her lugs!

Today was Sarah’s last day and this morning we headed out to the Barra Golf Course. We climbed up alongside Cnoc an Fhithich and spotted a little cottage not that far from the Chain Home Radar Station (no photograph of this but here’s the view across the hill). Thank you to Barra & Vatersay Appreciation FB page member - Dave Smith for the recommendation of this walk. I will return with Jackson soon….

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Loved the markers on each of the corners of the cottage plot.

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We spent ages looking across the water and from every angle there was magnificient views. We were hoping to see baby seals on the rocks looking over Seal Bay but really we were too high up to distinguish between rocks and pups. That will be another walk on another day!

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Now I mentioned that we had an encounter with a stranger, I was so affected by the meeting that I feel it has to be mentioned on my BLOG. We were all on the Bagh Siar on Vatersay enjoying the reflections, waves and good company. We spotted the gentleman coming towards us and as it is on this island you start up a conversion……”Isn’t this just beautiful?” He agreed. We asked if he stayed on the island or was visiting? His reply was “ I’m back to try and re-kindle my love of the Outer Hebrides” - An odd and intriguing reply!

Thai and our stranger in red

Thai and our stranger in red

He then told us his story.

About six years ago he and his wife came to the Outer Hebrides and fell in love with the islands (well who wouldn’t!??!). His wife then suggested wouldn’t it be lovely to live here. So they went back home and were delighted to find a plot of land for sale on Harris. So after many months planning and dealing with builders, the parts came from Norway and builders from SW mainland Scotland.

Finally they moved into their house on Harris and after only 3 weeks his wife had to return to south of England to help her Mum who had fallen ill. As soon as she returned home she Skype called to tell him she wanted a Divorce! His dream was shattered, he had to sell his Harris home and ended up having a breakdown.

We just felt so shocked that someone who came to live in the beautiful Outer Hebrides, had to give it up and it has taken him six years to come back. He was such a lovely man and we just couldn’t get him out of our minds for the rest of the day. He was about to make his way back up the north and is going to visit his house on Harris. Heartbreaking…..

I’m really hoping that he regains his love of these islands and we wish him all the very best xx

Finally bye bye Sarah…. Look out for a quick glimpse of Crannag Cottage as Sarah films her take off. (Irene and Archie's home for November)

Eileen Frater
Ciamar a tha thu? 'S toil leam Bharraigh ach tha i trang!

Yip I’ve started my Gaelic classes!!

So you move to Barra for a year and think, great it will be time for contemplation and unwinding! We get to the end of October thinking it is time to hunker down and sit quietly drinking the odd wee glass of wine by the wood burner…….yea right!! The temperature may be cooling down but let me tell you the island life is certainly heating up. I’ll get back to that later.

Firstly it may be cold but we have had some truly beautiful days so there’s definitely no excuse for not getting out and about round the island.

Crannag Cottage at Eoligarry

Crannag Cottage at Eoligarry

Great to have the company of Irene & Archie for five weeks and they are staying Gerry’s lovely Crannag cottage overlooking the bay that transforms into our airport runway when the tide goes out! Irene has already started her paintings and is thoroughly enjoying her #Barrartventure

Room with a view!

Room with a view!

Irene, Archie, Thai and Jackson

Irene, Archie, Thai and Jackson

From blue skies to grey, from hail stones to rainbows, we’ve seen it all this week!

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Bach a Deas, Vatersay

Bach a Deas, Vatersay

I know I haven’t mentioned my stone collecting recently but the obsession hasn’t gone away, and last week saw some unusual colours and shapes joining the collection!

The stone and shell obsession…..

The stone and shell obsession…..

So we’ve had Halloween and that of course means pumpkin carving and Jackson was overly keen to get his done that by the time he presented to the competition table 4 days later it was starting to look a bit sorry for itself! Here’s a happy man about to start and the pumpkin newly carved.

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And was great fun to see so many young people out guising on 31st and in the Buth Bharraigh dooking fir apples! We had witches ear wax (treacle tablet) and brew (hot green drink, no idea what was in it, didn’t ask!!)

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Plus of course the crazy women from my Zumba class were joning in the madness, it gets hot a sweaty dancing in a witch’s mask! Love the tutu Theresa….

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Thai has been enjoying the drier days out on the hills and we have to keep remembering that she is twelve years old! (62 years old in human terms - JR dogs x 5 years apparently) She runs back and forward from watching Irene painting, to standing beside the boys discussing the wildlife and finding me lurking in the sand dunes taking photographs!

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This one was taken, lying down across the rock but it works…….heather impersonating a tree!

This one was taken, lying down across the rock but it works…….heather impersonating a tree!

Now WILDLIFE photography….. Frater style!

FAIL One: , so what do you do when you see an otter running across the hillside right in front of you? Of course you gaze in amazement, maybe even hear Irene gives out a wee scream, do we lift our expensive DSLR camera and capture an image to prove to you we saw it? no, no, not a chance. Do we mutter all the way back to the car about the fact we didn’t lift our cameras, yes yes yes mutter yeS!

FAIL Two: So when driving along the bay at Vatersay do you lift you camera to record the seal arching out of the water like a dolphin right in front of you? No you fumble to get the car window down and of course drop your mobile phone on the floor!!

So the best kind of wildlife photography we are obviously only capable of is:

Slow moving or stationery wildlife, like this wee hairy caterpillar:

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Or the starlings in our garden:

Starlings at war!

Starlings at war!

So apologies, we will try to do better capturing the otters and seals next time. A bit like my report card for my Gaelic classes, “Eileen tries hard but could do better” oooofft it is hard language to grasp. There are five of us in the class so no hiding in the back row, twice a week for 90 minutes, it is intense but really very funny! Fortunately after my class on Thursday I nip home for a bite to eat and then back out to chill at the pottery class. Check out some of the handy work already from my classmates!

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As I mentioned in the title (translation - “I love/like Barra but it is busy"), there’s so much going on from dance classes to pottery, from youth club to crochet, from Gaelic classes to badminton (yes Jackson has started the social badminton night and couldn’t walk for two days after. He loved it and I’m sure he’ll be back on Tuesday!!!). We had a really lovely night filming at the Fiday night Youth Cafe where Sarah was getting them all to make amazing Calzones. Jackson my cameraman was much more interested in working with dough than helping me with the cameras!

Sarah in action!

Sarah in action!

Finally you will be glad to know that Thai’s jacket has arrived although we haven’t had a chance to try it out but she looks good posing at the window on top of the radiator!

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She has also taken to sitting at the dining table and it is just at the right height for her to rest her head! She is a daft wee dug!

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Finally once again we have had a week of beautiful rainbows and cloud formations so here’s couple of my favourite pictures from the week! Thanks everyone for your kind comments about my BLOG, it is great to see so many people from all over the world reading my Barra ramblings! Slainte Mhath!

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An editorial update, our Dougie the Goat is not a goat it is a sheep, and he is a she…..A Zwartble Ewe called Hope!

Should have gone to Specsavers……

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Eileen Frater
Reminisces and Reflections! The Gallis have arrived....

From windy days to total calm, the weather just never ceases to amaze and excite us. It really makes you look at different angles and ways to photograph this beautiful island. Yesterday meant that we headed along the road to Garrygall to capture some of the reflections of Castlebay on the water. It was totally spellbinding….. #Barragapyear

Castlebay reflecting….

Castlebay reflecting….

and of course there is the Kisimul Castle that stands in the bay that gives the town its name. I don’t know how many pictures I’ve taken already of this structure but here’s one of my current favourites!

Panorama of Castlebay with Kismul Castle

Panorama of Castlebay with Kismul Castle

So the Galiis didn’t manage to land on their first attempt of getting to Barra but the next day they flew to Benbecula, got a taxi to Eriskay and then the ferry across to Barra. Welcome to Barra Linda & Silvio, glad you made it and thanks for bringing the sunshine!

Their ferry arriving at Ardmhor….

Their ferry arriving at Ardmhor….

So there was no time to lose and we had a fair few beaches to cover in two days….so we all got wrapped up like “a washhoose spicket” and headed out!

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Now the standing joke with Silvio is that when he buys a new house, he likes to get it re-roofed so we found him a wee project on Vatersay that, well it is in need of his loving TLC!

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One of things we try to share with everyone who comes to visit is about feeling that it is good just to ‘be’ in the moment. We stand, look around, take in the colours, listen to the wind/waves and there no need to say anything or do anything……just, well to be honest, just ‘be’ on the island.

Being in the moment

Being in the moment

It isn’t meditation (I’ve no flippin idea how to do that!), it isn’t really religious (I have no religion) but I really think it is more about being spiritual. Now my daughter, Emma, has told me that I’ve been checked into an Asylum and I don’t get off the island until I can prove I’m at least 10% normal so I’ve stopped referring to island as magical because she says that ticks the crazy box! I let slip recently that the faires were out painting the sky last week because everywhere you turned there were rainbows…..please don’t tell her!!

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There was also the full moon this week so we’ll just not go there! But isn’t the light and the lightness of touch in the colours just beautiful at this time of year?

Full moon on Barra

Full moon on Barra

And not only the full moon but with the really cold snap we have had, it was lovely to get out and actually see the stars on a clear clear night. All of us spent time, with our wine glasses in our hand, just standing outside just staring up to the sky. I can’t remember the last time I ever did this. I didn't try to find my star sign Gemini in the sky which is in a straight line from the bottom right star of the “The Plough or Big Dipper” but it was hiding behind Heaval.

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We put Linda to good use whilst here on her short break on the island and as a chocolatier she was freely giving advice to Barra resident John on the best way to make chocolate. Also at Buth Bharraigh, Jackson had picked up his copy of the local newspaper Guth Bharraigh and was doing the weekly Sudoku at the counter. This just feels like a normal day on the island and the Buth is great hub for everyone to get together to share ideas as part of a community.

A normal day at the Buth!

A normal day at the Buth!

The Gallis final day was a truly chilly one and there was even frost/ice on the beach at Tangasdale. There was little ice particles glistening all around, Jackson found a use for his mobile phone at long last! and Thai is like, whatever…..

So it was lovely to catch up with Linda and Silvio and there time was short on the island. At least we had beautiful sunshine for their two days so every minute was spent walking, talking and enjoying each other’s company. Of course, good food and wine make for very sociable nights by the wood burner! Bye bye Linda and Silvio. I haven’t posted a Barra airport flight for a while so just to remind you how spectaluar it is, here’s another one!

I love this picture Jackson took as well of the plane catching the spray as the plane headed off

Twin Otter about to take off!

Twin Otter about to take off!

So with Linda and Silvio heading off to Glasgow and Irene and Archie making there way across to the island by ferry, we took the time to head out to chill (literally) with our cameras to capture some different shots (rather than seascapes) whilst there was still light and the skies were still blue! There are many migratory fieldfares just now on the island, stopping off in their journey from Scandinavian to the warmer climates of the Med/North Africa.

Fieldfare on Barra

Fieldfare on Barra

I’m totally in love with the cows on this island, they seem particularly clean (probably due to the sandy soil) and hairy (probably due to the feezing cold wind!!!). We need to get some pictures of the Highland cows on the island but in the meantime, here’s a wee cutie!

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You also find an amazing array of bones scattered on the island and yesterday we found on Vatersay, hidden beside some disgarded creels, the jawbone and vertibrae of a cow. Of course I had to bring them home and add to the stone/shell/sea glass collection…..

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I also love the abandoned creels, the colours just blend beautifully with the colours of the sea and the shapes that form around them with the sand just call out to be photographed. I am however usually distracted by the seascapes and very often don’t take the time to photograph them. So to rectify this, here’s one of my favourites together with one of oor dug!

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So as we mentioned, Linda & Silvio are off back to Ayrshire and have been replaced by Irene and Archie. They arrived last night (Sunday 28 Oct) and are staying the lovely Crannag Cottage by the airport. They are settling in just nicely and we’re all about to head out to the Halloween Fun event at the Buth Bharraigh. Irene is here for 5 weeks to have her very own #Barrartventure and we’ll post up some of her paintings over the coming weeks. She’ll have loads of inspiration on this island, that’s for sure!

Irene and Archie Walker #Barrartventure

Irene and Archie Walker #Barrartventure

So finally we would like to introduce to you the wee strange goat we have on the island, black with white socks, this wee soul was spotted for the first time when our friend Dougie was on the island, so we’ve named him after Jackson’s pal!! Met Dougie the Goat!

Dougie the only goat on the island! (or at least the only one we’ve seen!)

Dougie the only goat on the island! (or at least the only one we’ve seen!)

Eileen Frater
Time to Hunker down....#Winteriscoming

I have no idea where my time goes, the weather has been dreech and I’ve been working on a couple of films projects but every day before I know it, it is time for bed again!

Great excitement - eek! - I’ve booked my very first flight to Glasgow today for a business meeting in November. To be honest very idea of flying to Glasgow is not without a great deal of trepidation due to recent experiences of the White family being unable to get here for the October school holidays and today my friends, Sylvio and Linda Galli, circled the Barra airport in the Loganair Twin Otter, flying directly over our car twice but sadly they were unable to land so headed back to Glasgow!

No plane today!!

No plane today!!

But this is all part and parcel of the Barra adventure, we’ve had a few ferry cancellations too so the Co-op shelves were looking a little like this.

there’s always plenty of wine!!

there’s always plenty of wine!!

So it is all about hunkering down and joining in with all the classes, activities and generally coming together with the rest of the folks here on Barra. I fully intend to immerse myself in the fun! So this week I’ve been crocheting spider’s web at the Buth Bharraigh, joining Naomi, Mary and Sarah for a relaxing afternoon getting to grips with my old chochet hook! We have a Halloween Party next Monday and Jackson has his pumkin carved ready to enter!

Web made by Sarah MacLean

Web made by Sarah MacLean

Although the rain has never been too far away we have tried to get out and about as much as possible and Jackson was been determined to gather some cockles for his lunch. This activity didn’t appeal to our Jack Russell, Thai, and she sat miserable for the duration. It didn’t help that she caught her dewclaw on something, limped her way theatrically back to the car but by the time she was toasting in front of the wood burner all was well with her foot! But seeing her wee face miserable in rain, we have decided it was time we bought her a wee coat so all we have to wait for is Amazon to deliver and she’ll be all cosy warm out in her winter walks!

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Jackson had a very successful haul in cockles and duly placed them in the pink plastic box as he went along. In Barra that is not as easy as it seems and with one gust of wind, the cockles flew out onto the beach and the box went tumbling along the beach at great speed. To which Jackson shouted to me “ Catch it, catch it” …. so I duly ran off into the wet sand chasing that blessed pink box, muttering under my breath “ I think you should catching your own flippin box” but by this time it was becomming a personal challenge to catch it either that or have a heart attack!! Note to self remember to batten everything down on the island….

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As I’ve mentioned loads of times in my Blogs the seaweed here is amazing and the colours especially when wet, are truly stunning! So whilst the hunter gather was at work I photographed the colours….

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I really must look up the internet to see if you can eat any of these because they do look extremely tasty. Now talking about tasty, Jackson and I have been working our way through some of our receipe books and in particular the Co-op monthly magazine (that way we know we can get all the ingredients - that’s if the shelves are stocked!!). There’s been spicy pumpkin cake, lasagne soup, the cockles of course and rice pudding with sticky nectarines. Thankfully we are getting plenty of walking on the island, dance classes and next week Jackson hopes to start the badminton club (it is ok there’s a CPR pack thingie on the outside wall of the school, I’ve checked!!) so we are trying not too put too many pounds on our already chunky bodies!

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Another wee bit of exctiement this week, Jackson & I got interviewed for a film proposal being produced by Tern TV based in Glasgow, they were looking to speak to people who have recently moved to a Scottish island and were hoping to run a business on the island. So one of the questions we were asked was - how we came to be on Barra? Our answer- It was by pure chance we saw a Facebook post from Loraine and Jarl stating “Does anyone want to rent a house on Barra for a year?” because up to that point we had only spent 6 hours on the island last May. That was all it had taken to fall in love with it. So it took several months of organsing and working out our finances and about 8 months after the FB post we arrived on the island.

So watch this space, you never know you might get a chance to see us both on a documentary that might be filmed in the New Year following our adventures of running a film production company on the Outer Hebrides. Here’s our make shift set up for the Skpe call!!

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Back to hunkering down for the winter, next week sees the start of my gaelic classes at the Learning Centre and tonight was the start of the art and craft class in Castlebay School with art teacher Cheryl. There was ten of us in the class and four were male! Now that is something I didn’t expect as nearly every single art class I have attended on the mainland has been predominately female, it was just a lovely dynamic for a social class. I wish now that Jackson had enrolled. This week it was pottery and as everyone who knows me knows I love working with clay!!

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So not so many photographs of the island for this Blog as I’ve been working on edits, writing film proposals and arranging meetings with clients on mainland. But I will rectify that in my next Blog as Linda and Sylvio are heroically making there way over to the island tomorrow, with an early morning flight to Benbecula and then the Eriskay-Ardmhor ferry tto Barra. Linda says “We’re going to see you and that’s that!!!” I think that’s how you have to live our life here on the island, it is just a matter of getting on with it, planes get cancelled, ferries get cancelled, fresh food doesn’t get delivered but no-one’s died so we just “get on with it, that’s that!!”.

So finally it is all about watching the changing light and embracing every rain shower and blustery wind as we look forward to the winter months. I can’t wait to get started on all the winter activities on offer (literally on our doorstep) and getting out with Jackson & Thai to photograph every glimmer of the magical light this island produces……. night night folks x

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Eileen Frater
We could get used to this life.....

It really is about the simple pleasures, on the Wet and Wild days I’m working in my cosy office, with Thai sleeping beside me, Jackson making sure I’m fed and watered and then when there’s a tiny wee glimmer of sun …we’re off! This week I’ve been finishing off the accounts for the final time for Queens Guest House and also completing a couple of short edits. Emma has been out filming at several projects and locations this week so the footage has been winging its way to me so far without a glitch!

Jackson and I have had some really wonderful walks this week, with the Jack Russell loving every minute of them too (OK not every minute, the rain seriously pees her off so we think we may have to invest in a wee waterproof jacket for her). Our walk on Friday took us out to the abandoned cottage at Eorasdail on Vatersay.

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It is definitely getting cooler but all it requires is another layer of clothing, a woolly hat and the OSMO camera to record the adventures!

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As you know Jackson is settling in well to island life and there’s less signs of the old Mr Grumpy, well when he has his dug and a fishing rod in his bag there’s no reason for him not to be happy! And here’s a wee video just to prove that a wee walk out with yir dug is all that it takes to make a great day oot!

This film just makes me smile, it is amazing the objects and wildlife we get to observe along the way, from golden eagles/seals to scenes of contemporary art ! - Rusting Farm Machinery

We’re also been trying out some of the tracker apps and it is great to actually see the winding route we often end up taking…..

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A couple of things I enjoy on Barra , one is just sitting watching the views whether it is crashing waves or the view from our living room window. The other thing surprisingly enough is cooking and baking. Both of these are things that I never did on the mainland……EVER! For these special moments, time stands still but every night when we go to bed it is as if we’ve only just got up! As we keep saying to each other, “we can fairly get our day in!!”

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When we were back on the mainland earlier this month we took Thai to her vet for her annual checkup and she was weighed. She has lost 0.6kg and the vet was a little concerned until we told her that she is out walking in the hills and beaches nearly every day. Thai - The lean mean running machine!

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Now as for our cooking, here’s a couple of the latest culinery delights both Jackson and I have made over the past few days. Fortunately we are out walking for hours every day we can or we’ll have to be rolled us off the ferry at the end of our #Barragapyear!

Rice pudding with sticky nectarines!

Rice pudding with sticky nectarines!

Lasagne Soup with home made fennel mini rolls! Wine fae the Coop….

Lasagne Soup with home made fennel mini rolls! Wine fae the Coop….

Today’s Sunday walk was also out on Vatersay and we walked along the rugged rocky coastline at Caolas Bhatarsaigh where we spotted a baby seal all alone on the beach, Mum was watching us from a safe distance out in the water.

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There’s no question to what makes us smile and that’s a day out beside crashing waves. The colours and the noise are just something you need to come and experience for yourself, there’s nothing like in the world!

Stunning waves and colours!

Stunning waves and colours!

Although the leaves have all but left the trees on Barra and we are heading into winter with the steady daily drop in tempreture. There are still colours to be photographed all around, from yellow lichen to bright orange tractors, all of which keeps this wummin busy snapping pictures

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The other great thing about having Jackson on the island is that the job of cutting the grass has been handed over to feed his obsession with keeping it short and tidy! I aim to please so more than happy to let him get on with it!

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And just so you don’t think I keep him working all day he also gets time to play at being Robin Hood (or Friar Tuck!!!) in the garden practicing his archery skills. I just need to remember to be suspicious when he hands me an apple at Halloween!

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Finally in the interest of balance again, the sun isn’t always shining here and some days the castle in the bay disappears! So on days like this it is time to hunker down and toast by the log burner….

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But we have been very lucky as most days, Thai’s view looks a little bit like this.

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Night night folks, from a very happy wee family on Barra. Thanks for reading and I hope I make you smile with our adventures. E, J & T xxx

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Eileen Frater