Corncrakes. That was I was thinking about earlier this morning, not that I could hear any for they nest not in these parts. My mind drifted to islands at the thought of the corncrake. The link was tenuous for what I could hear were skylarks and, like the corncrake, I could never see them. But they sang as I pedalled, an early outing under clear skies, a welcome change from the putrid pewter of recent days. There was still ice on the cars though and the thought of waking under canvas in just a week’s time is a little short of appealing at the moment. But the sun shone, and there is hope. Then I saw the forecast for the weekend.
There is excitement too, and a date in the diary to draw us through the next six months. Paris – a place I’ve never visited, other than to change planes. But I have to go for a few days, for The Urchins are to be dragged there kicking and screaming, with Disney passes. I might escape the parks but parents are required, for sole responsibility is a step too far, both for children and auntie. We didn’t have aunts and uncles like that in my day. Wow.
Back to islands though. I heard an article yesterday about Eilean Ban, which is up for sale. It is one of my favourite spots, for reasons of otters and Maxwell and Stevenson. The name might not mean much, but it is the little lump of rock on which rests the leg of the Skye Bridge. It was the sanctuary of Gavin Maxwell and his entourage after the fire at Camusfearna, and his cottage and much memorabilia is open to view. It also hosts a Stevenson lighthouse, also under threat and in need of funds.
The island was acquired for the purpose of ensuring that the brige project could go ahead. The trust that maintains the Maxwell legacy was granted a lease to 2015, which is suddenly very close. Now Transport Scotland has decided to seek a buyer for the island, leaving uncertainty. One of the other lighthouse cottages is available for holiday lets and I’ve often thought of a wee escape, to spend time seeking otters and dolphins, to reach for inspiration in penning the odd note or two. It hasn’t happened yet, but I still hope it will one day. I’d like the facility to be there for me, and for everyone else.
Now birds again, for the house martins are due back any day now. And that takes me to nests, and moths and larvae, more of which I found yesterday, in a wardrobe. The kilt is in the dry cleaners, with the Prince Charlie and other tweeds. And the more I read about the perils of the moth the more distressed I become. But there is hope, and the postie has just dropped off another parcel of sprays and other things I never thought I’d need. There must be hope, pleeeease.
In my very humble opinion we have a legacy from Maxwell that has National Treasure status. Have a look at the Eilean Ban Trust, and give your support. Drop an email to the minister in charge and give him food for thought. And if you happen to be in the area don’t just hurry over the bridge, head down to the Bright Water Visitor Centre in Kyleakin and arrange a tour. You won’t be disappointed.