Sunday, 5 August 2012


July was a month of visitors.  I suspect my parents view my move here with some bewilderment and I’m never sure what to do with them when they visit.  They’re not really walkers, birdwatchers or nature enthusiasts, and there’s little else to do here.  I could just let them sit around and read books, but they can do that anywhere and I want to share my lovely island with them and somehow make them  understand why I’m so smitten with it.

A friend and I hitched a lift to Harris & walked to Papadil on the south side of the island.  The sea sparkled blue in the lovely summer weather we’re starting to take for granted, and Papadil was cradled under Sgurr nan Gillean like a little lost world.  I was briefly excited by movement in the bay at Inbhir Gil, primed to look for minke whales by a number of recent sightings, but it was just a seal observing us with typically detached curiosity.

We had a visit from the Minister for Environment & Climate Change, though we were unimpressed by his apparent lack of interest in what we’re doing, and left wondering why he bothered to come at all.  Our Climate Challenge Fund project, Greening Rum, is proceeding with typical slowness – the polytunnel is still not up, the rotor composter hasn’t arrived yet, and when we went to roll out the loft insulation we discovered woodworm which will need to be treated before we cover it with fabulous non-itch ecowool made from recycled bottles.

I’m rueing the day I thought it would be a good plan to apply to the new Coastal Communities Fund.  With only £1.8million for the whole Highlands & Islands, we went for a middling amount to get the Byre redevelopment off the ground and were invited to submit to stage 2; a rare event, by all accounts.  However, the amount we’ve requested is only around 10% of what we need for Phase I now that the Feasibility Study is complete with figures.  I’m stumped about where we’re going to find the rest, but I’m sure we’ll find it somewhere.  I’m thoroughly daunted by the two 38-page forms I have to fill in for what is essentially a teeny tiny amount of money.  Luckily about 10 pages of each form are guidance notes...  Making the Byre project happen feels a lot like standing at the bottom of a very steep mountain & wondering how I’m going to get to the top.

This month I managed to spend 28 straight days on the island, but it was good to get away for a weekend of hillwalking in Perthshire.  Two days felt like two weeks.  Must remember that I don’t need to do everything, and it’s ok to let things evolve in their own time.  I don’t know if it was just being in one place for four whole weeks, but it feels as though the relentless onward march of Time slowed down this month, and July went on for ages.  Not a bad thing.  I’m hoping that August will proceed at a similar leisurely pace.
Rum from Muck

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