Thursday, 4 March 2021

Is There Anybody There...?

We are used to Skye being quiet in winter. The holiday traffic here is seasonal, and from October to March, there is only ever a thin scattering of visitors on the island, as the majority of accommodation providers gladly close their doors and have a rest. For the most part though, the eating places and shops stay open throughout the year, and are well-patronised by the locals.

However, during the virus lockdowns, 'quiet' has taken on a new completely meaning. All accommodation is obliged to be closed, as are all the hotels, restaurants, cafes and nearly all the shops. Virtually the only traffic is an occasional builder's truck or courier van. It is a novelty to see a human.

I had to make a trip to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness last week (for just a routine check-up). It didn't really occur to me before the trip that the roads would be so deserted. I arrived for my appointment nearly an hour too early. The hospital was strangely quiet, too - lots of staff about, but not many patients in evidence. I ventured on from Inverness to have a walk in the nearby seaside town of Nairn. In spite of the day being bright with blue sky, the promenade and seafront gardens were almost deserted. There were just a few children playing in a playpark - no home schooling for them, then. I stayed the night at our cottage - The Old Bakery - in silent Strathpeffer before making another lonely drive back to Skye.

I have thought about how I feel about the quietness, and I remain uncertain. I hate to see all the closed doors, the dark shops and empty town streets, and I do not like to have our own cottages standing cold and empty when normally they would be busy with excited holidaymakers, eager to explore our beautiful landscape. But the peace and lack of traffic is something I know I will miss when restrictions are eased and a more usual level of life begins to return to the Highlands.

(Footnote: I borrowed the title to this post from the first line of a wonderful poem, 'The Listeners', by Walter de la Mare,  Do have a read of the poem - find it here ).

Central Beach, Nairn - spot the crowds

The Links and Wallace Bandstand, Nairn
Is there anybody there...?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The people of Nairn either hate exercise or are being very good at staying at home! How lovely to have all that beautiful space to yourself! Nairn looks beautiful in the sunshine - much better weather than when we visited there in Nov 2020. Apparently, the beaches near us on the soutb coast are very busy with local walkers and people deciding to drive there for a 'nice walk'. Smack wrist to the latter group as we are supposed to stay local!

It would be interesting to see a blog this summer showing the same photos of Nairn just to see how different it is in the summer months.