Wednesday 26 September 2012

Travelling south again

On Friday morning, I'm setting out for another trip to visit my friends and family in the south of England. I do these trips three times a year, but always set out with mixed feelings. I really enjoy catching up with people in person, as opposed to on the phone or email, and it is also always a 'reminder' experience to visit the south again - it is just so different to here!

But... the 700 mile drive is something of a trial. I used to do it non-stop (apart from 'comfort breaks'..!!) but these days I take two days over the journey and have an overnight stop in a B&B. It is interesting to see other B&Bs, but it is clear that the Scottish  Borders B&B market is a different one to that on Skye - which I guess is not unreasonable, as the requirements of the visitor will be different. (Skye is more up-market, but more expensive).

And... I sigh with feelings of loss as I cross the Skye Bridge travelling I'm most relieved to see the familiar hills and the Skye Bridge as they loom into view as I make my return. Skye has a peculiarly magnetic attraction!

On Friday night, I will be staying near Ayr, on the west coast of Scotland, south of Glasgow. I'll post pictures and comments here if it seems appropriate to do-so.

Back soon!

Thursday 20 September 2012

The Colour of the Skye

It's now the time of year when the heather flowers are just fading from pastel purple to soft brown. The summer grasses are beginning to die back and the bracken is taking on its autumn gold. Such deciduous trees as we have are putting on their autumn coats. When the sun shines, it's a great time to be outside with a camera - but winter brown can be just as spectacular as summer green. The colour of the landscape here changes so quickly and so completely.

I'll post a selection of Sue's wonderful photos below to illustrate just a few of the multiple Colours of Skye... (As with any pictures in this blog - click on any picture to view it bigger)

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Jobs on Skye

A large number of visitors to this blog are pondering on the possibility of relocating to live on this most magical of islands. And, yes, for the fortunate few, Skye is just a wonderful place to live. Sadly, there are also many residents who would love to be able to live anywhere but the Isle of Skye - but I guess that is the case no matter where you are in the world, and who you ask.

So - if you are planning a move to live on Skye, how easy is it to get a job?

Obviously, a lot will depend on what you are willing to do, and what skills you have. Incomers most likely to find work will be very adaptable. If, for instance, you will only consider jobs as a chimney sweep or a tyre fitter, then you will probably remain jobless for life. But if you are reasonably personable with all-round abilities, there are certainly opportunities to be had.

There is seasonal work in the hotels, bars and cafes - cooking, cleaning and serving. There are also seasonal opportunities in the various shops on the island - but, for example, to get a job in a wool shop, you'll need to know a lot about wool...!! Much of the seasonal work is part time, and doesn't exist at all in winter.

There are permanent jobs in the businesses that support the tourism industry - anything from a laundry to the Visit Scotland office - but the number of such opportunities is very few. Plus, there are the usual service industries (shops, garages, Council services, etc) needed to support the resident population of about 10,000 people. So occasionally a job arises in these areas. The principal industries on Skye are forestry and fish-farming, so there are occasional opportunities here, too. Most jobs on the island are advertised in the West Highland Free Press, by the way - and the paper is available world-wide by post if you subscribe from their website.

Professional jobs are also very few and far between. Skye has just one secondary school and a few primary schools, but new teaching posts are fiercely fought for. There are two tiny hospitals and a few medical centres with employment for a handful of medical staff. Skye has two solicitors practices, an accountant, a surveyors office, two or three banks... but any jobs that come up in any of these or similar professions are more likely to go to long-time residents rather than freshly arrived incomers.

Of course - you could be self-employed. We probably already have enough builders, plumbers, electricians, roofers, TV aerial fitters, dog groomers and beauticians - but you just might hit on an area where there is a need and no-one to fill it. Do your research, you could get lucky!

Finally - you could buy and run a B&B... but I have tried to put you off that idea before.

Tuesday 18 September 2012


Sorry - no new posts for a month...

Excuses? Well, the weather hasn't been too good for taking photographs, and we are still busy looking after visitors...

But I will see if I can come up with something new very soon!