Island at the Edge

Island at the Edge
The Gathering, Cable Bay, Colonsay

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Home Sweet Home...

We have found it! Our new home for the next 2 years or so.
With a huge amount of searching - the whole of the UK to be exact, we found a suitably sized caravan. We were contacted about a rather ‘individual’ second hand static caravan for sale. The only problem was that the 35 feet x 12 feet mobile home was situated in Dumfries and Galloway. But the young chap, affectionately known as JJ, said he could organise the transportation of our new abode. Little did we know at this point that the delivery wagon would require an ‘escort’ due to the width and length of the load, but that wasn't a problem for JJ.
K.Lee Plant, the owner John who is a dab hand with a digger, was then contacted to excavate a suitable, flat, area to site the caravan. He duly arrived with an even bigger digger and this time he brought along his sidekick – Wullie. What these boys can’t do with a digger, isn't worth knowing about.

The even bigger digger.

Once again we also needed to enlist the help of Magnus. When he isn’t fencing, he will help with any kind of ‘land’ work, we can add strimming and cutting down trees to his portfolio of skills.
In the meantime, I have been pining! Yes fretting for my 3 boys – No, not some ‘hunky’ chaps, but my 3 handsome Tups who were still on Colonsay!
So, how do you get 3 Tups from Colonsay to Skye?
It started with a flight with my favourite airline – Hebridean Air Services, the plane was piloted by Julie, it was fantastic to see everyone, especially Dixie, and have a good ‘natter’ with Julie on the fabulous flight over.
My favourite plane

Our dear friend Annie collected me from Colonsay International Airport and we went to find the Tups. They remembered me (well ish) but they were running with another 3 tups who are renowned for being mischievous. They didn’t disappoint us, it took Graham, Joe (with his two dogs) and me to get the tups into a secure corner of the field so we could grab my 3 and put them into the trailer to take them to the pier.
Graham with the Tups at the pier.

Kapitein in the meantime had put our unaccompanied trailer onto my other favourite mode of transport, the Calmac ferry LOTI. The tups were safe and sound down at the pier which gave me a wee while to catch up with Annie and of course visit GavalusGavalar in the Pantry. ‘Nice coffee Gav’! Meanwhile, Kapitein was enjoying himself in Oban, he’s grand at shopping, he even bought me some presents! Some fabulous Jura whisky and a bottle of ‘dog’!
The ferry duly arrived and with the help of Phil on the Hill and Will, our trailer was hastily towed off the ferry, backed up to the holding pens, tups loaded and then re-loaded back onto the ferry. With fond farewells my tups and I sailed onward to Oban, all in a mornings work!
The 'Big Fella' quite happy in the trailer

Kapitein collected me and the trailer and we headed home to Skye. We offloaded the tups safe and well in their new field all within the regulated time for transporting animals.
Meanwhile, Magnus had started with the chain saw and the strimmer to clear a path through the undergrowth, cutting down an abundance of Bog Myrtle. Bog Myrtle is reputed to repel the dreaded Midgey but in my experience, the Midgey seems to thrive in the Bog Myrtle bushes! These ‘wee beasties’ have a nasty habit of getting into small places, especially eyes and ears and for such a small insect, it has a nasty bite. So the less bushes we have, the better it might be!
Following Magnus’s run in with the Midgey, the Bernisdale boys began to excavate for the caravan, the area was covered with years and year’s growth of weeds and grass. Then, low and behold, on a balmy summer evening, we came to the croft and a ‘site’ had appeared!

Amidst all of these jobs, we have had little time to go out and explore Skye, but we heard news that some friends of ours were coming to the island for a wee stopover before heading out over the Minch to Harris. They were due on the Friday evening and would travel, the next day on the early morning Calmac ferry from Uig to Tarbert. They duly arrived and we had a wonderful time catching up on all of our news.

I digress…
We finally got word from JJ, that our caravan could be delivered, complete with escort. Ironically, it would arrive exactly 6 months to the day after we had left Colonsay.
We headed up to the croft to see how progress was coming along with the site, and what a surprise, everything was ready, including a protective bund (a miniature man made hill to protect the caravan from the prevailing southerly winds)
The excavated site ready to take delivery of the caravan

On the day of delivery, we received a phone call to say the transport was running late, their estimated time of arrival was 11 pm! But the weather was on our side and it stays light until late in the evening during the summer months.
At exactly 11.15pm, the wagon and escort vehicle with JJ duly arrived with our new home.

The caravan being offloaded from the wagon.
At precisely midnight our caravan ‘touched down’ onto our land a very significant and emotional moment – we had our new home, at last.
The following morning John came to help Kapitein to site the caravan, quite a difficult task to get a 35ft long and 12ft wide caravan turned and positioned exactly where we needed it to be. But they both did a magnificent job, I was so proud of both of them.

With the aid of Kapitein’s landrover, the caravan was sited.

We had only seen photographs of the caravan, so we were very excited to see the inside! It was all JJ said it was – very purple, but in splendid condition, a much loved caravan indeed, we are so grateful to the previous owners who obviously took good care of it.

In the meantime, I have sent off my remaining Hebridean fleeces to the mill for processing and expect the wool back during October. I will be producing fabric this time with the help of Andrea and Roger from Skye Weavers – I can hardly contain myself - and will keep you informed of some rather exciting new designs which will be made here on Skye during the coming months.

Now then, the next thing on our list was to install services to the caravan, in-between preparing it for the winter. We installed a wood burning stove (our thanks go to Neil from Skye Finishing Touches – well done) anchors and chains – to stop it blowing away in the gales, skirting, to protect the chassis and add much needed insulation in the form of thick carpets – courtesy of Paul & Tasha at Harris Home Furnishings
The boys enjoying the comforts of the caravan.

Water was eventually connected, BT finally put a pole up and Kapitein and I trenched in over 200 metres of phone cable – it’s brilliant when communications are up and running, then Billy came to connect the gas for my new oven and hob! But, no electric! SSE tried their utmost to get the wayleaves signed so mains electric could be brought into the site, but to no avail – Ian was marvelous, he tried everything, but no was still the answer. So we have had to re-think how we can live and work here without mains electricity. But aha! It’s solved… We will be going ‘off grid’. I will tell you all about Kapitein and I becoming ‘eco-friendly’ (no not hippies) in my next post.
So that's me off up the croft to see how the Tups are and how other vital work is progressing, I will report back very soon.


  1. Wonderful oh how I love to read your blog. X

  2. Oh how I love to read your blog

  3. Just love reading your blog. X

  4. I love reading your blog