A whole summer of fun...
31 October 2011
Gosh. I can’t believe we haven’t written a news story since May, and now it’s nearly November! It’s not as if there haven’t been many news-worthy happenings on the Island... but sometimes there’s not much time to write about it.
The leaves have now turned and the clocks have gone back; the season is most certainly over. But it’s been a happy one. I couldn’t cover it all just now, but here are a few of the highlights...
We had an astonishing spring: dry, sunny and warm. This miraculous spell of weather culminated in the wedding of our friends Isla and Pete on the Island. Many of their friends and family had travelled from New Zealand, so it was kind of the weather to show off the area at its loveliest. In all our months of planning we never dreamt we would be using our umbrellas to protect the Bride from sunstroke!
The luck was not to hold for the inaugural Coigach Coastal Rowing Regatta, however. Wild wet weather prevented the planned Sunday leisurely row over to Tanera from the mainland, but some brave boatmen (my dad and husband) ferried lots of brave boaters over to the Island for some well deserved hot grub and good banter in the cafe.
May also saw the arrival of the reprinted books by Frank Fraser Darling: ‘Island Years’ and ‘Island Farm’, together in one volume. This lovely edition has a foreword by Iain Stewart and an introduction by Frank’s son Alasdair, and various new photos of the time the pioneering naturalist and conservationist spent on Tanera Mòr, Priest Island and other islands in the 1930s and ‘40s. The books have sold well, and we have been privileged to be visited by various Fraser Darlings this summer: Alasdair with his daughter and grandson, and Alasdair’s half-brother Richard. They both gave us fascinating insights into what must have been an amazing and hard life here for Frank and his wife Bobby.
We had lots of happy residential courses this summer. Some have been going for a while – Eleanor White of Bridge House Art has been running a very successful course for 8 years now, no one knows how long Jane and Derry have been teaching us willow weaving, and the NorWest Sea Kayaking courses had a good 2nd year. We also added a few new ones; Kitty Jones ran another Bridge House Art course, Mandy Haggith facilitated a Creative Retreat, and Patricia and Rowena Birkett Jones tutored a Sketchbook course. We have had great feedback from participants of all the courses, about the standard of tuition, the accommodation and the food, which makes all the hard work very worthwhile. Have a look on our courses page for our many plans for next year!
Talking of hard work, we’ve had some great workers this summer. Our system of Working Holidays (‘Whols’ for short) has been a great success again, with pairs of people (or even families) running the cafe and post office for us in return for the use of a house. I won’t list all our wonderful Whols here – perhaps I should write a whole news story about them - but we feel extremely lucky to have such happy, helpful and competent helpers again this summer.
And of course there have been lots of lovely visitors – some for just a day, others for a week, or even three! It gives us so much pleasure to see families relaxing and unwinding as the days go by, and going away at the end of their holiday happy and refreshed. Lots of families have already booked for 2012, so don't delay if you would like to come and join the fun!
Well, that’s just a quick snapshot of our summer; I’ll try not to leave it too long until the next update from Tanera. Five months until visitors return ... but I’m sure we’ll find plenty to do in the meantime...
[You can read more about the Island and various happenings throughout the year in my Scottish Island Explorer magazine column; see the Tanera in the Press page.]
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