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16 October 2014

Irishman Abroad

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Walking the dog.....

I walked himself this morning in the pouring rain. In many ways it's good to get back to a good old Uist summer, howling gales, rain etc., less people about. I got absolutely soaked but the dog was as happy as a pig in the proverbial and his coat is so much softer after being washed by the pure Uist rain.

I passed a couple of tourists on their bicycles as I drove to where I was going to walk the dog. They were struggling against the elements and I thought at least I'll be going back to a nice warm house and a nice cup of tea.

Aren't tourists funny, some seem to be looking for a glorified theme park, picnic tables, ice cream stalls, kiss-me-quick hats etc. Others seem to expect a community preserved in aspic. I remember a couple of years ago, a letter in the Gazette from a tourist moaning about seeing abandoned cars on crofts. What an eyesore, you'd never see such a thing in towns and cities would you. But I suppose the countryside should be in pristine condition ready for the tourists, we should all be there in our traditional dress and tugging our forelocks.

I appreciate it's all about balance, we are increasingly reliant on tourism, but at the end of the day this is a living vibrant community with most of the problems that all societies face. I believe that tourists should be encouraged to come here and appreciate the uniqueness of these beautiful islands whilst also realising that we live here all the year round and face much the same issues that the rest of Britain has to deal with.

And remember, all you tourists, "Passing Place" is not Gaelic for "Parking Place", it's English for the bit in the road where you stop to have a craic with your mates.

And just when you thought this was a piece of serious social comment.....
Posted on Irishman Abroad at 22:26


I'm not long back from spending a week in Bruernish on Barra and me and partner had fine week, she drew & painted, I attempted to take photographs with a DSLR that i had not used in a while. We did behave ourselves and not park in any of the passing places. I thought the few scrap cars/vans were rusting away quite gracefully and not a particular eyesore. In fact, when i was in the hotel bar in Northbay catching up on Euro 2008, it was a couple of locals that were complaining about a lorry trailer piled high with scrap vehicles that had been sitting at the ferry terminal in Castlebay for a few weeks. They said what an eyesore it was & some welcome to the island for visitors. Saw plenty of cyclists & a few tandems as well, it always gets me when you see a couple on a tandem, I just don't get it, or see what the enjoyment would be?!? It was our intention to have a day on Eriskay but ran out of time. It was very much a beach holiday though, and none better than the ones on Vatersay. As for the Scallop pakora, mmmmm

Duncan from Livvy

There's nothing like the weather to keep people indoors apart from a few hardy souls.

Carol from IBHQ

Someone was telling me about a slightly disgruntled visitor. They last came to Coll 40 years ago and were irritated to find so many people had since died!!

Nic from Coll

IA, what are the essential characteristics of a kiss me quick hat? A broad rim or no rim at all? etc.?

mjc from NM,USA

Oh Irishman Abroad, I left Coll on Sunday for a few days camping on Tiree, tried to erect the tent in galeforce wind and its not stopped raining for 72 solid hours. Needless to say, the tent has been dumped in the Landfill site, never to be used again and I am snug as a bug in a rug in a B and B. I passed through the Uists camping a few years ago with two kids, Benbecula, Eriskay, Barra, Vatersay, the works ! Loved it !!

Squidgy the Otter from Isle of Tiree in the Pouring Rain

You have to wonder at the sanity of anyone who goes to Benbecula expecting a kiss-me-quick hat!

Jill from EK

Yes the sun is shining as I speak/type. mjc: Kiss-me-quick hats, I would say, resemble a cheap plastic trilby with a band going round with the words "Kiss-me-quick" on it and occasionaly "Squeeze-me-slow", racy stuff eh! They're usually worn by fat women the colour of cooked lobsters. Squidgy: The great thing about living here is no camping, I get to come home every night and sleep in my own bed.

Irishman from the sunshine Island

I have made a vow never to camp again after this week's fiasco, can you believe this? it was so windy here, that a bird flew inside my car and took up residence under the steering column and sat there for hours quite enjoying the tour of Tiree. Cheeky birdy !!

Squidgy the Otter from writing from a cosy B and B

Hope you're going to recount your travels on Tiree in a blog Squidgy; over-friendly birdlife included.

Carol from IBHQ

loved the story keep them coming

lyn pidd from lincoln

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