Litir Dhachaigh

The following is an installment of my column in the Loch a’ Tuath News – Litir Dhachaigh.

This is one of the many photos I took on my recent summer holiday. It’s certainly not the most interesting snap that I’ve ever taken. It’s especially dull when I tell you there are no stunning vistas or azure seas to be seen if I’d shifted my lens just a fraction. It gets even less exciting when I tell you that I’m actually standing in a car park.

As with many photos, there is more to this than meets the eye. Below my feet lies Adolf Hitler’s bunker.
Berlin 5

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Litir Dhachaigh

The following is an installment of my column in the Loch a’ Tuath News – Litir Dhachaigh.

The curious absence of sunshine and unwelcome lashings of rain have, if nothing else, provided great talking points this summer season. What better way to greet an acquaintance than by rolling your eyes and sighing, “can you believe what this weather is doing?!”. I’m certain that many a long-lasting friendship began with a comment on the unique Scottish climate that we all love to hate. Continue reading

Litir Dhachaigh

The following is an article I wrote for the Loch a’ Tuath News when I joined as a contributor this year. I decided to call my wee space in the paper Litir Dhachaigh, which means A Letter Home. If you’re anything like me, you can’t remember the last time you received a letter that was about something other than bills or deals at the local supermarket.

But there is something really special about a letter. Perhaps it’s the fact that you know the author took time out of their day to think about you. Or that you know that someone carefully crafted their words in order to make the sort of connection only words on paper can allow. Being asked to contribute to my local newspaper was a lovely honour and I’m glad that I can let everyone back home know that, even in the noise and clamour of the Big City, I think of them often.


Where I’m from depends on who’s asking. I’m a Scot, a Gael, an islander, a Leòdhasach. The need for a swift change of identity is not an unfamiliar experience for those of us who live away from the island. Regardless of which hat I have to wear though, there’s one title I’m always proud to use: Bacach.

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World Book Day 2015

I won a writing competition when I was in secondary school. I had a collection of silver and bronze badges sitting in my cupboard at home so coming first was an exciting development. To win, I had to write one sentence to sum up why I thought people should read (NB: how many words do you have to write to make it a legitimate writing competition?).
My prize was any book of my choice. I can’t remember which I chose. But I can still remember the essence of what I wrote to win it: “People should read books because they can transport us to a world that we didn’t know could exist”.

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Treasure in the Barn

It struck me that if the summons I just received had been offered in a city context, I might not have been so willing to acquiesce to its demands. “Come and see my new chainsaw!” was the invitation. Winter storms had ravaged much of the Western Isles in January 2015 and the trees surrounding my parent’s house were badly damaged. The chainsaw was being put to good use, massacring the remnants of what remained standing.

It was all a ruse though. “Trobhad agus clearaig na craobhan a tha seo dhomh”. Which basically translates to, “I’ve pretended that I was going to show off my chainsaw, when what I actually want is for you to come and carry this huge stack of trees away.”

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