Winter 2017 – Workawayers, Willow and Whisky

18th March 2018
In November 1500 native trees arrived courtesy of the Woodland Trusts MOREwoods and MOREhedges scheme. Species included Oak, Hazel, Elder, Hawthorn, Holly, Blackthorn, Dog Rose, Aspen, Scots pine, Grey Willow and Downy birch. In December we were very lucky to host our first ever Workawayer Thomas, who came all the way from Italy and worked incredibly hard with us for a month - preparing ground and then planting, staking and protecting the new trees, as well as preparing lots of firewood. We shared recipes from Scotland, Italy and Thomas's childhood in England. We also took him to experience a Ceilidh. Our efforts were hampered by the regular snow and frost this winter, the presence of a young roe deer and winter bugs, but eventually we got them all in the ground 🙂
In November, Darren Campbell of Campbell Media, made three short films using drone images from above the Bothy, Croft and surrounding area. You can watch these on our You Tube channel.
I've been willow weaving this winter with help from two ladies Monique Bervoets, a local basketmaker, and Carol from Barfad Willow. I've made two very pretty (though fairly wonky) baskets so far, and we've planted a variety of cuttings here on the croft in the hope of having a future crop. I highly recommend the starter kit from Barfad Willow to anyone keen to have a go at home. I also found Jons Bushcraft a really useful site.
Sarah stayed with us during February and helped with planting fruit trees, potting on seeds and painting two beautiful signs. During her time here on Skye she bagged her 49th, 50th and 51st Scottish Islands in her inflatable kayak!
I'm very excited to be working as a tour guide at Torabhaig this Summer. Torabhaig is a new distillery opening here in South Skye this Spring. We had a fantastic tour at Talisker as part of our training, and I hope to visit the new distillery at Raasay soon and try their award winning new make spirit. This year is the perfect time for whisky enthusiasts to visit Skye!

Torabhaig Distillery has been created in the ruins of a 19th century farm steading, close to the ruins of Knock Castle - the whole area is steeped in history. Bringing these ruins back to life and retaining many of the original features has not been easy for Mossburn Distillers, but the results are impressive and the distillery is well worth a visit for the beautiful location, excellent tour guides (!) and to admire the beautifully restored buildings.

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