Where the tide comes and goes like a well known friend and the waters sparkle with liquid silver, the Hebrides carries a magical intrigue akin to Enid Blyton's faraway worlds. Where on clear days mainland can be seen in a dusky haze and campers sit happy in the anticipation of a good weather day. Where the wind rages against the land pushing the oceans waters onto the rocks and the washing like giant bunting laps dry in the wind. I love it all and even though the days stretching summer tall into the grasses are welcome, I yearn for the dark nights and crashing waves to return. It would be easy to fall in love with the Hebrides on its best days, for certain there is great beauty in them. But for me the majesty of the Hebrides lies within the days where the sun struggles to wake from its whisky induced hangover and the wind catching the early worm thunders ahead. When the waves hurl and thrash themselves around in a child’s tantrum and the water spits and hisses into the bays. It is here I feel at home, wrapped up in the fading greys of the hebridean landscape, consumed by the cacophony of nature's orchestra.
This summer as places have reopened after the national lockdown, the island having been given an extra lie in awoke for the summer. Camper vans rolled off the ferry with a familiar thump and families could be seen chaotically organising themselves in the quest to set up ‘home’. Holiday lets have streamed with a steady pace of faces. Some tired looking for nature's rest, whilst others shone bright for the thrill of adventure. The difference between the two not phasing the Island in the slightest, for it holds something for everyone. You can often find me leaning out the window of our house watching it all, watching people coming and going. Children with brightly coloured buckets and spades heading for the rockpools with fizzy excitement. Whilst couples hand in hand walk to a local restaurant for dinner, I see no haste, for what haste is there? The pace of life is slower here and its attractions simple, there is little hurry and no bright lights. That doesn’t mean ordinary living doesn’t take place, it does but it happens on island time.
As the summer has drawn to a close and the schools have gone back, the harvest for barley has begun. A heavy stream of tractors flying along the coastline like worker bees retrieving honey for a queen. Noah, my son aged two, finds great delight in this. Being a fan of any moving object with tyres and particularly farm related ones, Islay is one big toy box. A tractor even sleeps outside our house some evenings, its tyres towering way above Noah’s head. Combine harvesters have taken up the road as sheep and cows looking on with little enthusiasm, nonchalantly wonder what all the fuss is about. Soon the island will return to its bed, drifting into sleep with the quiet hush of autumn. It is here I love the island best, as the wild Atlantic has her way and the winds begin to write a new score. It’s here you will find me, tucked up against the night, away from the bright lights of the cities, watching the weather unfold.
Faithfully from Islay, Lucy
Lucy Martin is a mother of three young children who in 2017 found herself on the unexpected journey of a lifetime relocating to the Hebrides. Having never before left her childhood town in Lancashire Lucy’s journey was full of surprises. Her first experience of Harris was when the ferry docked. In 2019 her story found her again on new and unknown territory moving to the Inner Hebridean island of Islay, she had never before seen Islay either. Lucy writes about what it’s like to move, live and raise a young family in the Scottish Hebrides. You can follow Lucy’s journey at www.islandwifehebrides.com as well as on Facebook and Instagram @islandwifehebrides