Sunday, July 01, 2012

Decades and dozens

I should travel by train more often: I remember to blog :)

I'm just embarking on the last leg home from my fantastic family summer break in the Highlands & Islands. The wee house by the shore of Loch Lochy was amazing, as was the larger house we all shared on Eigg.

As a family we visited Eigg several times - & in various combinations - through the tail end of the 20th century. I was last on Eigg (not counting putting in on the way home from Rum) almost exactly 12 years ago. Passing en-route to & from Eigg's larger neighbour, I'd seen the new ferry, the pier & the improvements harbour side. I've also followed its story in the news over the years.

Going back I was excited to see both the familiar landscape, and the changed community. It's the same place I visited on my teens & early twenties, but at the same time it's totally different.

Playing on singing sands with my niece, standing on the ridge looking over Cleadale with Mum, spotting birds with Dad, walking back from the shop (other side of the island) with my sister... So many moments on the trip could almost have been from earlier visits. I wasn't expecting to have so many fond memories accompanying me for the week.

Contrasting those echoes of past-Eigg were the evidence all around us of present-Eigg. Passing the island's photo-voltaic array, visiting the old shop (now a museum), even just enjoying the total absence of the sound of diesel generators as we explored the island - it felt a substantially different place. More alive somehow, and optimistically, gently, sustainably futuristic in a really enjoyable way.

I liked the island I remember, but I think I prefer the island Eigg has become.

Feels a little sad to be going home to old fashioned mains electricity, although - as evidenced by the number of Hydro schemes & wind farms my niece was spotting as her Mum & I drove south through Scotland yesterday taking them back to South West England - the rest of the country is steadily following the little pioneer in the Small Isles.


Another marker in the steady passage of the years passed last week: on the 27th this little blog of mine began its tenth year! Easily done when you forget to write anything for months I know, but a little milestone nonetheless.

Belated happy birthday splatblog

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