Sheep can’t tell whether I’m friend or foe. Or maybe just mistakenly think I have some food on me. I’m looking forward to visiting them again when their bellies have reduced in size. Can’t be long now. Come on lambs, I’m waiting!
It’s been quiet round these parts. I recently had the good fortune to spend a short while on some of the Small Isles, notably Eigg and Muck. The trip to Eigg is deserving of a post in itself – an incredibly inspirational place where the islanders have taken their future into their own hands to ensure the island can survive – and thrive – in a responsible, sustainable manner. More on this anon. Firstly though, the neighbouring island of Muck. This is a small island in a literal sense – just a few miles long by barely a couple wide; the population isn’t much more than a few dozen. Nevertheless, it is packed with gems. There’s remarkable flora and fauna, excellent archaeological remains, incredible scenery and great use of local resources. This was epitomised for me by the tea room just a hop skip and a jump from the ferry terminal.
Inside there is not only the veritable feast of food and cakes but also an incredible section of local crafts. The best of this, for me, was the locally produced yarns.
Walking west across the island from Port Mor to Gallanach you pass fields full of the most beautiful sheep, with a remarkably large variety of breeds. Happily, it’s these same sheep that provide the wool on sale in the tea shop.
Some of it is locally spun, others sent elsewhere to be spun, and it is all beautiful. I’m still trying to decide what to make to show off the best of the wool, and will be keeping it until I have something in mind. I think some swatching is required first but any suggestions welcome. Utilisation of local resources like this pleases me greatly. I don’t have a huge interest in luxury unicorn yarns (see this succinct blog post) but much rather instead going somewhere, seeing the animals in front of me and having a product that is both directly benefitting the community and not wasting such a wonderful resource. It’s a beautiful landscape, not unlike other areas of the Western Isles and west Highlands, but unique in its own right. Unfortunately time ran out and the ferry beckoned. I didn’t even get a chance to ask anyone what on earth these saddle and rotary querns were doing in a storage area next to the loos…
I can forsee another trip to Muck to explore the island further (the hills! cliffs! beaches! archaeology! aretefacts in unusual places!)…