Your island dream...



While the project was being developed we had several ‘mad’ moments and during one we decided to have our own private caption competition. The idea was to get some funny captions for a fictional leaflet and whilst most results would detract from our main message of quality and a sincere interest in Scottish culture and heritage here are a few that raised a smile for us. What do you think? :

• An island’s for life not just for Xmas.
• She asks for the earth – now give her some.
• Islands are a girl’s best friend.
• The ultimate stress reliever.
• Whisky Country – you’ve tried the whisky now try the Country.
• For the person who thinks they have everything.

I went into this project with a 40 year dream and often when you live with a dream for that long trying to make it come true can easily end in disappointment with the reality not living up to the dream. Well in this case it certainly did not! In fact, as the project developed the reality just got better and continues to do so. Every time I visit the island I see something new and it’s one of the special moments of a visit to find that missed corner, see a feature in different lighting conditions or see another member of the local wildlife in the sea, in the air, on the shore or on the island itself. No two visits are the same.

On an early visit I found the ruins of a bothy, a rudimentary structure to provide shelter for shepherds tending stock. Two visits later I stumbled over two further bothy sites whilst I was looking at our bird visitors. I’ve seen all manner of birds from our own Cormorants and Shags to Greylag geese, which nest in the South Meadow, passing puffins and aggressive Terns. I’m waiting to see a Sea Eagle as I’m told there have never been more in the islands in modern times than there are now.

I’ve watched my wife sit on the rocks looking out towards Skye and singing to the seals and I’ve watched the seals bob around in the water just off the rocks listening, like an audience in the stalls, to a gentle folk song. I’ve sat on the cliffs watching gulls plunging into the sea for fish and seen views that haven’t changed for 10,000 years… and I’ve been stirred by it all…. the spiritual atmosphere of the island touches your soul.

When you see something wonderful or impressive you want to share the moment just as we share most things in life. We share our time, our resources, our fears and our joys; sharing adds value to an experience. When I first set foot on Sgarabhaigh I had the joy of sharing the moment with a good friend, he is half Scottish half Irish, a true Celt. Just seeing his wonder and joy in the island both inspired me and, if it was possible, increased my own infatuation with the place. We spent a few hours exploring, photographing and reflecting on our first impressions. The scale of the island, the magnificence of the views on and off the island and the pure unadulterated peace and tranquillity hooked us both and I knew the principle of sharing the island with other like-minded people was unquestionably right.

On my wife’s first visit she scrambled onto the rocks and walked up the first hill in front of her. She then proceeded to demonstrate her ‘directional dyslexia’ and got lost for about three quarters of an hour while I busied myself cutting peat for our boxes. Eventually I got a little worried and struck out to find her. After about five minutes we met on the first hill she had climbed. I was worried the experience may have tainted her reaction to the island so I asked her if the island was as good as she expected. She answered by saying it was better, ‘how much better’ I asked to which she replied “a hundred times” …. and that says it all.

We hope that we have developed a package that captures the concept of owning an island and that adds that bit of soul; that bit of magic that underlines your interest in your own island in a special place in a land rich in myth and legend. Bearing in mind that many Associate Owners may rarely, if ever, visit the island we thought they should have a tangible and physical link to the island - hence the peat and the sand. The film brings the whole concept alive in your own home. The seals, the passport, the Associate Owner’s Handbook, the glassware all contained in a solid oak box able to withstand the passage of time, all compliment the holding. The box and its contents personalise the present as well as providing a solid provenance for the ‘Holding’ all under pinning your share in an island dream. It is an heirloom; an island in a box to which if you add a touch of adventure, a pinch of romance and a handful of days you can experience a dream first hand………. and what a dream! The Holding is however much more than a box or a seal or a piece of glass or a film; it’s a lifetimes link to the Western Isles and its people; it’s a connection to nature now and for generations to come; it’s an interest in a romantic little Scottish island with its cliffs, beaches and loch; it’s our unchanging place in a changing world. It’s a present of a lifetime and if you wish a thousand lifetimes.

I hope you share our joy of the island, whether through the box and its contents or by retracing our own footsteps and experiencing a truly remarkable little island – our spiritual Scottish island of Sgarabhaigh.

Here are the responses of two of our early visitors to Sgarabhaigh:

Just had to say how much we enjoyed our visit to Scarabhaigh. Both Hilary and I were completely bowled over by it, and, of course, we
couldn't have wished for, let alone planned, a better time to go.
In case you're interested, I have put a small write-up, from my point of
view, on the Stones Barn forum.
David & Hilary

Sgarabhaigh is even more beautiful than I ever imagined! Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to spend time in such a special place.
The weather was incredible too...we definitely picked the best day! I saw the sea otter....gorgeous. Andrew and his boat were lovely and Chrissie's an absolute sweetheart. It all feels like a dream already. I was very emotional.
Abbie x

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