I have recently moved North (or even further North )to the beautiful Northern coast of Scotland ,to Skerray in Sutherland .
I am a long way now from Yorkshire ,my friends and my family ,it took 24 hours and 5 trains including the amazing Caledonian sleeper to arrive here ,so I think its safe to say I am “a long way from home” Yet I have never felt more at home and more among friends .
I took the house because on a property listing I saw the view from its windows ,which is now my view
I had been very happy with incredible neighbours in Leeds and was sad to leave those friends behind and my friends from Station road ,but I have always felt a tug back to the countryside ,I missed the landmarks of the year,Lambs appearing first in the lowland fields then sometimes weeks later up on the moor farms echoing the arrival of spring and the banishment of the snows, l missed seeing spring creep across the land as the daffodils which would flower first in the sheltered road edges then lastly in the high villages.I missed heather its rusty rich browns that for a few brief weeks would be replaced by swathes of purple that swept slowly upland .Even better than the purple heather flowers were their predecessors , the hidden gems of the moors ,the whinberry or bilberry tiny little black fruits hidden in the heath .Always on walks there where the sweeping views and wide skies.
,I missed even the decline inot autumn and winter ,chilly nights and ultimatly the snow
and sheep that had been my almost constant (if distant) companions on walks over the moor come snow or rain or the hottest sunny day.
I took my new home without a prior visit I felt somehow it was a place I could be happy and make home and that has proven to be the case.From quite literally the moment I arrived I have been made to feel incredibly welcome and met with unerring kindness.
Skerray is a beautiful place.From its rocky coastline
to sheltered harbour.
to inland and its rugged hills where heather and grass struggle to cloth the bare rocks and where croft houses sit perched in hollows or on hilltops
Rich in wildlife Skerray has Otters ,Pine Martens ,porpoises and over three hundred seals come each year to breed in the safety of Island Roan (seal Island)
Island Roan itself is a magical place, only a mile or so offshore ,but impossible to reach ,its deserted houses seem from a distance as though their owners have just closed the door and left for a walk yet they have been empty decades ,the last of the Islanders leaving in late 1930s ,now only wild sheep walk the roads or sleep in the rooms.
The full history of Island Roan can be found here on the Skerray webpage
The weather can be windy
and theres the odd grey day and patch or rain ,but so far on every rainy day theres been a rainbow even during the rain itself on one occasion
I have only been here three weeks and so much of Skerray is still waiting to be discovered ,I am sure to add more posts ,,Skerray is part of what is often called Europe last great wilderness ,the very utmost North of Scotland ,somewhere I now feel very privileged to call my home.
For anyone wishing to visit Skerray ,you will always find a warm welcome .
Skerray was recently featured in a post about its amazing fundraising and its kind gesture .
But then, thank God, there is the north-coast village of Skerray.
Local organiser Elizabeth Mackay tells me that they made £830 at last Saturday’s charity lunch in the village hall in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support.
This was a splendid achievement for such a small and remote community. But what really struck me about the lunch was something that I read in the online edition of the Northern Times – that it had been decided that the MacMillan event should also be held in memory of the murdered Yorkshire MP Jo Cox.
Birstall is a very long way from Skerray.
I should imagine that few on the north coast would have been familiar with the west Yorkshire village – and it might well be the case that Jo Cox was relatively unacquainted with Skerray. And yet last Saturday’s gesture was important.
It symbolised simple decency. It symbolised that, even far away, good people abhorred what had happened and grieved for Jo Cox’s family. It was a small gesture but a noble one.
(I found this incredibly moving as Jo Cox had been from the next ward to ours ,we had all been shocked and horrified by her murder)
For its tardis Library
and it has a small part in Titanic websites as it lost one of its sons in that tragedy ,his grave stands overlooking the sands and waters of Torrisdale
If you would like to visit Skerray ,there is a caravan club campsite and if you prefer more comfort there is an excellent B and B in Skerray called between the rocks and the sea.
and higher on the hill another excellent home with a room
and a croft house