Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Sparkling Skye

Most of the UK is basking in glorious summer sunshine at the moment - and for once, so are we, here on Skye! The island is just stunning right now. The vegetation has benefited from the warm, dry weather and gale-free spring, and the tall grasses and wild flowers are better than ever. The sea is impossibly blue, while the hills and moors are as green as they ever get.

Thankfully, we are not roasting in the 30C+ temperatures being experienced in some parts. Our northerly latitude, and a gentle breeze off the Atlantic keeps things sensible here, but we are becoming accustomed to going out without a waterproof jacket, and seldom need a fleece either...!!!

I've taken a few photos around our garden and allotment today, and also took Puss out for a stretch of her wheels...







Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Midges - dos and don'ts

I'm offering a few words in this post about our teeny flying friends...


Midge Season in the Highlands is usually mid-May to late September. Even in this period – sometimes, there are none at all. Other times, there are zillions.

Highland midges are teeny-weeny flying insects (wingspan >2mm) and can occur in swarms. They are attracted to mammals by the CO2 that we exhale. At their worst, they can get into your eyes, nose, ears and hair. They feed on blood, and a bite on a human can leave a small red spot which is VERY itchy for two or three days. If you are aware you have been bitten, rubbing Anthisan cream into the bitten area as soon as possible will lessen the irritation.

If badly bitten (this is, you have a lot of bites), over-the-counter anti-histamine tablets such as Piriton may help reduce the itching – but these tablets can cause drowsiness or dizziness in some people, so beware if driving.

In midge season…

DO…

·         Stay indoors on calm and damp (or humid) mornings and evenings.
·         Keep doors and windows closed. It is better to be a bit warm and stuffy than to invite a swarm of midges into your house…!!!

If you HAVE to go out…

·         Use midge repellent on all exposed skin. I favour ‘Jungle Formula’ which comes as a spray, roll-on or lotion, in ‘normal’ or ‘extra’ strength. The ‘extra’ can sting a bit when applying, but it is VERY effective, and remains so for many hours. I understand a product called ‘Smidge’ is also very effective, but I haven’t used it myself. Some people swear by Avon ‘Skin So Soft’ – I am not convinced!
·         Wear long-sleeved tops and long trousers. Tuck your trousers into your socks and keep your collar buttoned up tight. You won’t look silly – everyone else will look the same… If you are going to be outside for a long time, get yourself a midge hood or midge jacket.
·         Keep moving. Midges have a maximum flying speed of about 2mph, so if you keep walking briskly, they can’t keep up with you!
·         Only go out when there is a breeze. Midges can only fly if the wind speed is under about 5mph, so where there is a breeze, you will not be troubled by midges.
·         Keep a can of fly-spray in the car. After getting into your car on a midgy morning/evening, you may find several hundred of them have come in with you. A few puffs of fly spray will eradicate most of them – and they are so tiny, you will never find the bodies.

DON’T…

·         Sit about outside when there is no breeze, especially under trees or close to bushy vegetation.
·         Wear loose clothing – especially a kilt….!!!
·         Leave the bedroom window open overnight.
·         Even THINK about having a BBQ on that warm, quiet evening…

·         And don’t hate midges – they were on the planet before humans!

Monday, 28 May 2018

Man-Caves…


I’ve recently been working in my shed – I refer to the BIG shed at Summer Cottage. (I’m a bit of a shed collector - I also have a scattering of smaller sheds – one at Summer, three at the Barn…)

The BIG shed is brilliant. It was built as an agricultural building. It is very sturdily constructed with a timber frame, externally clad with weatherproofed timber and having a corrugated composite pitched roof. The floor is concrete, which I have covered with recycled carpet.

Internally, it is about 18 feet square. It has a pedestrian door and window to one side, and 7ft wide barn doors to the front. There are a couple of clear plastic panels in the roof which provide internal daylight. The roof leaks a bit in a storm when rainwater is driven upwards by the wind and then drips from inside the ridge. In spite of installing eaves filler and expanding foam, I have never completely cured the leak problem, so now, some strategically placed corrugated plastic panels inside the roof direct any internal drips to non-important places. Otherwise, the shed is dry and well-ventilated.

This shed has a proper electricity supply, with its own consumer unit, several power sockets and plenty of lights. It also has a mains water supply, with an outside tap, and inside, a little ‘ensuite’, with WC and wash basin. (!!!!)  There’s no hot water though….

Lining the insides of the shed I currently have an awful lot of junk, most of which we have accumulated as the result of closing a couple of our holiday lets - and the left-over stuff just came here. My current task is to sort all this out…. Urrrgggh!  Are humans programmed to create and then keep junk…???

Having recently had the kitchen at Lochview replaced, I have recycled the old kitchen, and installed most of the floor and wall units and worktop in the BIG shed. This provides some neat storage space so I can finally untangle the muddled stacks of ‘stuff’, unpack the boxes of junk, get rid of the REALLY useless items, and store the marginally less useless items more tidily, and where they are easily accessible if needed.

There’s still a bit of a way to go, but I feel I am making progress. Even in our busy life – it’s good to have a man-cave!

The BIG shed

BIG shed - side entrance

The ex-Lochview kitchen units in place
I'm not going to re-fit the doors, as it is better to be able to see the contents at a glance

Somewhere to pause when I've had enough of cutting grass...

OK, so the colours don't match -
but how many sheds have a working wc and wash basin...?

Friday, 25 May 2018

Bonkers or brilliant?

As if the weather isn't enough for our gardens and veg plots to cope with - we get a significant number of animal and pest attacks too. I have tried several times to grow brassicas (cabbage-family plants), mostly with poor results due either to a summer storm breaking the plants off at ground level, or root-fly maggots chomping through the roots. And now for good measure, it looks like we have a rabbit or two (or a dozen) moving in... Hmmm...

I chatted the issue through with a keen horticulturalist, who suggested I try plastic bottles. Each brassica seedling is planted with a plastic bottle (with bottom cut off....!!) pushed down over the top. The bottle becomes a mini-greenhouse, and prevents flies or creatures that chew from getting to the young tender plant. The bottle is removed when the plant inside is big and strong enough to (hopefully) resist attacks. Wind will then still be a problem, however.

Indeed, locally, I have been told that if I don't secure the bottles to the ground, I will spend a lot of time gathering them from around the hedgerows...

Anyway - I'm giving it a try. The empty space in the bed is for broccoli. The day before planting-out, a slug took a fancy to my broccoli seedlings and munched its way through every one of them, so I have re-planted seeds, and will hope they come up quickly. We might get good enough weather for them to catch up with everyone else!


Note the bluebells and gorse in my 'wild' garden -
both flowering at their best just now

Monday, 14 May 2018

Contemplating Murder...

It was about half past four this morning, and I was lying in bed having murderous thoughts. No - Sue was quite safe, and so was Cupar. The target of my ire was outside...

Now I'm all for nature, and the dawn chorus is something of a favourite. So being gently woken at the first grey light of the day by what sounds like several thousand birds all chirping and tweeting and melodically singing is really not a problem. Sadly, just one feathered friend stands far apart from the rest, and also seems to be able to drown-out every other tweet, twitter, chirrup and cheep...

CUC-KOO...!!    CUC-KOO...!!    CUC-KOO...!!

I realise this particular species is somewhat musically challenged, and in the interest of being fair, I'd be happy for it to join in the dawn choral performance for a minute or two, but this one went on, and on... and on........ and on.......... for at least an HOUR!

I am happy to report that I did eventually drift back into some kind of sleep, so this particular individual has survived to cuc and koo another day - and the contemplated murder was not committed.

On a brighter note (pun intended) 😉 we are aware of a very strong local population of cuckoos this spring. There have been years when we thought they were in serious decline, but this year, they seem to be everywhere, though conservation-wise, they continue to be a 'red-listed' species. Locally, they favour taking over the nests of the sedge warblers. I hope this doesn't mean we'll have fewer sedge warblers next year, as their song truly is a delight to hear!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Skye vs South – Some Differences


To us, Skye is just ‘Skye’. We love the place for everything that it is, and have done since we first set foot on this magical land. But it is most certainly a very different land to the one we left behind in south east England when we moved here some ten years ago. However, we’ve never felt homesick for the south, and today, only notice the differences when we make trips over the border on our visits to friends and family.

So – what’s different? Short answer – ‘everything’. Longer answer… ermmm...

Kent, SE England

Isle of Skye, NW Scotland

Landscape;  No-where is flat. There are no fields of growing crops here, no hedges and very few big deciduous trees.

Views;  From almost everywhere, you can see for miles. There’s a sea-view round every corner (or a mountain view) (or both).

Colour;  Winter is brown. Early spring is brown. Late spring and summer are a riot of colourful wild flowers amid the lush greens of the grasses. Autumn is gloriously golden.

The Air;  Fresh, clean, invigorating.

Light;  Daylight goes on for a very long time every day in mid-June, but a grey gloom descends throughout December. Often, the low sun casts its rays over the (usually brown) landscape to illuminate the shapes of the land and the colours of the vegetation in a way much appreciated by artists and photographers.

Sounds;  Mostly, it’s simply silent. Or you may hear the burbling of a burn. However... during a storm, you will be aware of much howling, wailing and whooshing as the wind does its best to find a way into your roof or through the gaps in your windows. You need to get good at sleeping through storms...

Smells;  The sea, sheep and cattle - not exhaust fumes.

Wildlife;  Seals bob about offshore, while rare white tailed eagles and marsh harriers may be spotted in the sky. Brown hares and three different species of deer and are common, and pine martens are here too. We seldom spot a hedgehog or a fox though.

People;  There’s definitely a Skye-look – I wonder if we have inherited it yet…?  It is friendly, welcoming, relaxed, peaceful, comfortable and happy.

Shops;  There aren't many here.

Traffic;  Even in peak tourist season, we don’t experience traffic jams. In winter, one can frequently drive several miles without seeing any other vehicle.

Gardens;  We don’t really have gardens – just a moss-choked bit of a lawn and a few scraggy shrubs. It’s too wet/cold/windy here for garden flowers which are popular in the south.

Which brings us to… The Weather;  You don’t know anything about the weather until you have lived on the west coast of the Highlands for a few years… I’ll have to break this down into categories…

Wind;  We get a lot of wind. It is very seldom calm. 40mph winds are frequent. Gales of 50 – 60mph occur several times every year. 70 – 80mph storms are not uncommon.

Rain;  We get a lot of rain. Rain does not ‘fall down’ here – it comes at you horizontally. The rain drops are not drops at all, they are tiny needles that sting if they happen to strike any unprotected skin. Skye rain can penetrate most waterproof clothing within minutes.

Drizzle;  Much the same as ‘Rain’ above, except the needles are very much smaller, so don’t sting as much, however, Skye drizzle can penetrate all waterproof clothing within seconds.

Snow;  We don’t get much snow (except on the hills). This surprises many people.

Temperatures; It is quite unusual to see winter night time temperature fall below about -2C. It is quite unusual to see summer maximums above about 18C. Of course - we are talking weather here, so exceptions, in summer and winter, can and do happen.


This is not an exhaustive list. I could go on and on, but I am sure you have the idea. We wouldn't move back to the south east of England for all the tea in China. Could you cope with living here?



Tuesday, 3 April 2018

They're Back...Again !

There's no arguing that Skye is a stunningly beautiful place. The scenery has been used as the location for a number of recent big-budget films. And with snow on the hills and bright spring sunshine... it's just 'wow!' Today, I watched the TV, bemused, as it was announced that Skye is the only place in the UK where dinosaur footprints can be found. So - OK,  it really is not too surprising that many people travel from all corners of the globe to visit our lovely and fascinating island. Of course - Sue and I chose to make Skye our home because we wanted to become part of the network providing self-catering accommodation for visitors. We expected to be able to let our holiday cottages here rather more easily than if we had set up our business in a more remote and little-visited corner of the country.

Skye dinosaur footprint.
The prints are on a tidal shore, and often hidden by sand or seaweed.
I'll bet not many visitors ever find them
So - we must try not to moan when our winter silence is suddenly disturbed by the distant sound of passing traffic, and the Co-op car park is rather more crowded than we have become used to in the past few months. We know the places to avoid in summer, and certainly know any number of places we can go that very few visitors ever discover.

Dunvegan village
I swear the camper vans get bigger every year..
But we may have to alter our dog-walking routines a bit. In winter, we can happily walk on the verges of our local 'main' road, where we are likely to see fewer than half a dozen cars in a two-mile walk. However - this evening, I was jumping out of the road every few seconds as another scenery-gazing visitor in a brand new rental car whooshed past far too close to us. The visitors seem not to offer pedestrians the courtesy of slowing, or giving a bit of space.

No worries - we can adapt. We have our 'secret spots'...!

Holm
Located about one mile from The Storr - which is one of Skye's most-visited natural features.
Here, on a beautiful day in mid-summer 2014, I walked all day without seeing another person.



Friday, 23 March 2018

A Trip South

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have friends and family in the south of England. I try to get away from Skye at least three times a year to visit them all - though it can be quite a challenge to find a slot when I can take time away and everyone is available to visit. I always drive south - enjoying the drive in my lovely Jaguar...

I had beautiful weather for the first day,
driving through the stunning scenery of the Highlands on mostly deserted roads
However - things didn't quite all go to plan this time. I managed to get to my sister's on the edge of Dartmoor on Saturday 17th, this being the birthday of my niece Hilary, so all the family were in attendance - which was lovely.

Then - who would ever imagine that I would get snowed-in in Torquay - a place where palm trees grow in every garden, and that prides itself on its Mediterranean climate? But, oh boy, did it snow...! All day on the Sunday (my birthday - the 18th), the white stuff fell and fell.

Falling snow blots out the view from Val's flat
There was no getting Puss off that drive!
Torquay is hilly - these were the local roads on Monday
There was even more snow overnight, so Monday it was quite clear I was not going to follow my plan to drive on to Southampton to see friends there. I spent a couple of hours of hard labour clearing the driveway and about eight inches of snow off Puss, in the hope that the roads would be OK to use on Tuesday.

I knew she was under there somewhere...!
Now - my planned itinerary had been to drive on from Southampton to Paisley, near Glasgow, where I was booked for a visit to a Jaguar specialist garage for Puss to have her annual pampering and MoT test. Since I was still in Torquay, I decided the almost 500 miles from there to Paisley was too much to tackle in one day, so I hastily found some ovenight accommodation in Warrington. On Tuesday, I had a trouble-free and snow-free (at least on the roads) drive up to there.

It is worth a mention here that I used Airbnb to find accommodation. Bed and Breakfasts seem to have become very expensive, as are the Travelodge-type motels when booking at short-notice, but through Airbnb, I have been able to find very acceptable self-catering accommodation at a much more reasonable rate.

I drove on to Paisley on Wednesday, where I had booked another self-catering apartment for two nights (through Airbnb) to use as a base while the car was at the garage. At around 200 miles from Warrington to Paisley, this was not an all-day drive, so as I approached the Lake District, I decided to take a chance on calling un-announced on our friends, Ian and Andrea, who moved from Skye to a village near Penrith a couple of months ago. Luckily, they were home, so I had a lovely break in my journey chatting with them and seeing their lovely new (old) home.

Ian and Andrea at their characterful Cumbrian cottage
I spent the day in Paisley - without a car - so wandered about the town a good deal. In common with many once-industrial towns in the UK - it is a town of stark contrasts. There is a modern and smart traffic-free High Street filled with glossy shops, and there are a number of fine historic buildings. I also found a lovely park featuring a fascinating and unique cast iron fountain. But stray into the back-streets (only a stone's throw from the High Street) and much decay and dereliction is all too evident. Empty shops are everywhere, and the streets are not being maintained or cleaned. Wander further from the slick centre of the town, and many tired-looking aged industrial buildings stand alongside more modern units, most of them no doubt providing local employment and essential services.

Grand Central Fountain, Fountain Gardens
The fountain features dolphins, herons, cherubs and four life-size walruses
Former Post Office, now Wetherspoons pub/restaurant
Sheriff Court, St James Street
Back Sneddon Street - just a short walk from the above
Former warehouses of the major Scottish grocery chain - Galbraith Stores Ltd,
Currently disused
Today - Friday - I have driven home from Paisley. For much of the journey, I had the wipers keeping the rain off the screen. But there was little traffic, so I enjoyed giving Puss a stretch of her wheels - she is definitely a Highland cat! As I crossed the Skye bridge, a miracle occurred - blue patches appeared between the grey of the sky, and by the time I approached Roskhill, the sun was shining brightly.

It's good to be home!

Back in her natural Highlands habitat...
Loch Linnhe, near Fort William 

Friday, 23 February 2018

Skye Roads

When Skye was first populated by humans, the sensible residents stayed close to the shores and travelled about by boat. Simple paths were sufficient to get between the scattered farmsteads and crofts in a township.

Time moved on, and the need for wheeled transport became greater – though it was well into the 20th century before coastal ‘puffer’ boats ceased to visit piers around the island bringing in supplies and taking out produce.

However, rough tracks were built around the shores and over the moors to connect the various coastal communities, and as over time some of the communities grew larger, better surfaced roads were constructed. Many of the older tracks have now disappeared back into the moor. Single track roads are still the only way of getting to the far-flung tips of the island.

Almost gone - a disused gated track leads onto the moor. 
By the middle of the 20th century, Skye had a widespread network of roads, both inland, and around the coast. However, all the roads were single-track, and barely able to cope with local traffic, let alone the cars belonging to the increasing numbers of visitors. It was from the 1960s to the early 2000s that saw significant improvement, with the start of the reconstruction and realignment of many of the single track roads to create two-way modern highways to connect the largest settlements of Broadford, Portree, Dunvegan, Armadale and Uig.

Typical single track road - roads like this provide access to the far tips of Skye.
Good for dog-walking in winter when they are very quiet..
Re-alignment of the single track roads when two-way roads were built
has left sections of old road like this all over the island.
A modern Skye main road
The Skye Bridge opened in 1995, providing a fixed-link from the mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh. Originally a toll bridge, it became free to cross from December 2004.

Today, Skye’s roads are suffering again. A slight increase in the island’s population has led to an increase in building and renovation works, meaning heavy lorries are plying the single track roads more suited to horse and cart. Plus - a continued increase in tourism means that all the roads are busier, especially in summer. For the most part, the main roads don’t go to the most popular tourist destinations, so again many of the old, single-track roads are carrying far more traffic than was ever envisaged.

Add to that, a general lack of maintenance over the years, leading to blocked drainage ditches and cracks in the road surface going unattended, then it has only taken one winter of harsh weather (we’ve had a lot of snow and rain this year) and many of the roads have returned to being little better than rutted and pot-holed cart tracks.

Weather damage this winter is extensive, and is costing £millions to repair.


Saturday, 17 February 2018

The End Of An Era

Sue and I bought Rowan Cottage way back in 2005, some two years before I retired from teaching and we reinvented ourselves and found a new life on Skye. Rowan was the first property we bought on the island, and our first venture into holiday-letting. We soon added Aird View as our second rental property, and somehow managed to let them both while we still lived and worked in Kent. Without a doubt - we were greatly aided by Andrea and Ian. They lived on Skye and ran a small B&B.  We met them when we first came to visit Skye, and Andrea took on the task of our weekly turn-rounds while Ian did occasional 'rescue trips' when some minor disaster had happened in a cottage while a visitor was staying.

A little bit of Aird View, and a little bit of its view...!
We sold Aird View in 2013, when we bought Summer Cottage - which stands much closer to our home at Roskhill. But we have kept going with Rowan over the years in spite of the 60+ mile return trip to visit the cottage for turn-rounds and maintenance.

But now, we have agreed that it is time to slow down a little, and reduce our workload - so Rowan Cottage is for sale. It has been on the market since last autumn, and has attracted a scattering of viewings. Now, it seems we may have a buyer. We have accepted a 'verbal offer' from a young couple, and are awaiting the arrival of their formal offer, which will then begin the achingly slow legal process of selling a property.

And what will we do next...??? More news to follow...!

Rowan Cottage 

Rowan's fabulous view

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Does it Snow on Skye?

Quick answer - yes.

Slightly longer answer - snow at low levels during winter is not that common - maybe one year in three we see 1cm or so at sea level, and it doesn't stay more than a few days. About one year in ten we get a bit more snow, and it can last a bit longer. But there is no 'normal'.

Here's a couple of photos of today's snow at Roskhill...

View from my study window...
View from upstairs window
Just along the road...brrr..
On the hills, snow appears every winter. The Cuillin and Trotternish Ridge can be white, or white-topped for long periods between November to March. The hills then become VERY scenic, but there will still be times in winter when there is no snow there at all.

Here's just a few scenic Skye snowy photos from our archive...

The Cuillin over Loch Caroy from Harlosh

The old bridge at Sligachan -
This is the only time I have ever seen the river completely frozen over.
Christmas Eve, December 2010
One of Sue's pictures - I have to admit, I don't recognise where this was taken!
Loch Fada, December 2010

Friday, 2 February 2018

My Little Weakness...

OK - well, maybe just one of my little weaknesses...

Since a small boy, I have been rather a lot of a car-nut. The living room floor was a constant foot-trap, with my Dinky toys lined up along the edges of the carpet. As a teenager, I became an avid reader of Autocar magazine, and occasionally The Motor. At age 16, I bought my first car, and passed my driving test in it, just 12 weeks after my 17th birthday.

Some 50 years later, a significant number of motor vehicles (and a couple of bikes) have passed through my hands - saloons, estates, 2-seaters, convertibles, hatchbacks and vans - some bought new, some pretty old.

Today, we have three cars in our household. Sue has a very pretty Peugeot 208 GT-Line, which we bought new/pre-registered a few months ago. It's a cracking little car to drive, though I don't get behind the wheel very often.

My 'everyday' drive is my 2011 Land Rover Freelander2, also bought a few months ago, and providing me with a very much nicer driving environment than I have lived with for the last twelve years, when I have driven a van as my everyday transport. I have to add here that the Freelie proved itself to be an astonishingly capable vehicle in the snowy-icy weather we have had recently.

My 'toy' is Puss - my fabulous 2007 Jaguar XK Coupe. What a car! Supremely smooth, cossetingly comfortable, but with the potential to be furiously fast!

Here are the fleet - all photographed today...

Sue's very shiny Pug at Roskhill

Puss and her Freelie Friend at Summer Cott.
(Note the pretty sky...)!



Monday, 22 January 2018

Friends

I feel sad this evening.

In 2004, when Sue and I first came to Skye searching to buy a holiday cottage, we happened by chance to stay at a Bed-and-Breakfast on the island run by a lively and bubbly landlady named Andrea and her husband Ian. They had only been on Skye a couple of years, having moved here from their former lives in Cheshire. I think we only stayed at their B&B for two nights, but by the time we left, we had already become friends.

I’ll cut a long story short, and just say that in the first couple of years of Sue and I owning and operating our holiday cottages on Skye (while we then continued to live in the south of England), Andrea and Ian were life-savers to us on more occasions that I dare to remember.  

It goes without saying that after Sue and I moved to Skye, we became closer friends with Andrea and Ian. There was always loud laughter when we met with A and I. In particular, Sue and Andrea would often go to the cinema together, and took regular two-day ‘girly’ shopping trips to Inverness, staying overnight at the Royal Highland hotel.

But today, we waved them farewell from Skye.

A and I made their decision to leave the island, and bought a cottage in a village near Penrith in Cumbria. They will set off south tomorrow morning. I wonder if they will ever return to Skye? I don’t doubt that we will see them again – just not as often as before. I wish them every happiness in their new home, and look forward to seeing them there.

But, I still feel sad this evening. 


Friday, 12 January 2018

Becoming a 'Local'

On occasions - we are asked; ‘How long do you have to live on Skye before you are no longer an incomer?’ My answer is that we will always be incomers – only those born here have the right to consider themselves to have the true title as ‘local’.

But does the title of ‘Local’ necessarily require a birthright? Hmmm… Yes, I think it does. We have lived here ten years or so now, which is longer than most of those who live nearby to us in Roskhill, and we are getting to know the island pretty well too. But I don’t think that makes us ‘Locals’ – just kind-of ‘Established Incomers’.

There is, of course, another rather major issue… we are English.

There is NO WAY that any proud Scot would ever accept us as Scottish, and I have to say, I totally respect that view, and would never consider myself to be Scottish either. I just happen to have chosen to live in Scotland – and that's a pretty good choice I reckon, though let’s not mention the politics….

OK – so how else do you become a ‘Local’? Here’s a bullet list of my suggestions…

·         Get to know other ‘locals’ (and incomers)!
·         Moan about potholes
·         Join a craft society/yoga class/choir/other niche group
·         Moan about the Co-op
·         Wear thick jumpers and waterproof trousers… all the time
·         Exhibit your best sheep/hen/veg at the village show (this one takes a lot of courage)
·         Know precisely where all the touristy spots are, so you can give directions to a lost visitor without hesitation
·         Moan about foreign visitors - especially those who can’t cope with single-track roads
·         Grow your own neeps and tatties

And lastly…

·        Resist posting even more photographs of fabulous sunsets and sunrises in blogs and on on facebook… oops, couldn’t resist…