Makka Pakka Stones

We’ve obviously had a famous children’s character on the beach below the cottage this week. Two carefully balanced piles of stones have appeared on the rocks.

Slanting beams

After a rather unspectacular day – we were treated to an amazing light-show this evening. The rocks, on the beach below the cottage were caught in slanting beams of beautiful straw-coloured light. Mull, Bac Mor and Staffa are just visible in the distance.

Toasted Marshmallows

We’ve had some amazing days and evenings recently – warm and clear until after 10 o’clock – perfect weather for a beach fire and barbecue. I’ve been looking at good sites – somewhere sheltered but with spectacular views. I’ve earmarked a couple of places just below the cottage – perfect locations for when our family visit. Sausages and toasted marshmallows – can’t wait! It’s good to remember that fires should always be on the sand and all traces removed once the embers have cooled.

Flying Visit

We had a lovely visit from Leslie Evans yesterday. Leslie is the permanent secretary to the Scottish Government – the head of the civil service in Scotland. As such, she is the principal policy advisor to the First Minister and secretary to the Scottish cabinet. She was on Tiree meeting folk to find out about island life and the joys and hardships associated with living in a remote community. In the few hours she was on the island she met over thirty people. A flying visit but hugely appreciated by those who met her.

Sea of Tranquility

After a glorious sunny day on the island we enjoyed a tranquil evening. The lowering sun picked out, and highlighted, different elements in the landscape and along the shoreline just below the cottage. What a delight it is to live in such a beautiful place.

Long Shadows

An evening walk on the beach below the cottage is a perfect time to enjoy the intense colours of the land, sea and sky. As the sun falls in the sky towards the horizon it casts long, languid shadows across the landscape.


New Roof

We’ve had very mixed weather in the last couple of weeks. Long warm, sunny days with amazing skies in the morning and evening – alongside grey, misty days with little visibility and short, sharp showers. The new roof on the cottage is taking the mixed weather conditions in its stride, and guests are warm and dry on the coldest and wettest days.

Raising the Roof

In 2002 we put a new roof on the gallery. Over the last 15 years it’s served us well. It’s resisted some ferocious winter storms – and despite a couple of wobbles – when the lead flashing rolled back and some panels started vibrating during 100mph winds – it’s maintained a waterproof skin over the building. We’re now fitting a new fibreglass roof with Velux windows – making the cottage even lighter and warmer for our guests. We’ve been told this roof will last 50 years – it’s unlikely I’ll be here to check on that claim!

Record Breaker

A record breaking 2,270 black-tailed godwits arrived on the island this spring, the highest number thought to have ever been counted in Scotland at one time. These large wading birds often stop off in the Hebrides in April and May to refuel during their long migration to Iceland, where they breed.

The island typically only sees a few hundred godwits, in their brick-red finery, dropping in to feed around the well-grazed loch edges and wet grasslands. The previous record was 1,320 birds back in 2013. Let’s hope the Corncrake numbers this year are just as strong. Photo by John Bowler.

Looking East

“From the edge of my country, as far as you see, looking east.” Jackson Browne

In May we often get spectacular sunrises – even if later, the morning and afternoon, are rather grey and disappointing. The low, slanting light often picks out the topography of the eastern skyline with intense clarity. In the background Beinn na Dreise, Ulva, Beinn Fhada, Ben More and Ben Buie are clearly seen with the darker silhouettes of Lunga and the Dutchman’s Cap in the foreground. We’re fortunate to have this view as a backdrop to our lives every day.