Monday 22 January 2018


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…