In the S 1-3 age group of A Write Highland Hoolie’s Children’s Writing Competition, there were too many great entries to choose between! Caiden Fairlie and Catriona Miller share Third Place with their fantastic entries below…
My Highland Home
by Caiden Fairlie
Well what can we say about the Highlands? It’s green, people wear kilts, they talk in a funny accents, maybe even in Gaelic or say crazy things like och aye the noo! oh and everyone plays the bagpipes with orange hair and freckles. If you are really lucky you may even see Harry Potter on his way to Hogwarts!
This is what people imagine when they drive the Road to the Isles or board the train to Arisaig and Mallaig, dressed in Harry Potter Robes carrying a wand awaiting to find somewhere magical at the end of their journey; usually they will find midges and rain. Although we do have some amazing fish and chip shops. Mallaig fish and chips and Arisaig Mussels are at least worth the trip!
When we first started coming to visit the Highlands we were thinking of moving: being a city family we thought it was amazing, Arisaig was where we decided to come and live. The beaches were so quiet with white sand and clear blue water. My Mum and Dad went back home and all they kept saying was, “You’d think you were in the Caribbean.” The village was peaceful with a nice friendly feel to it; the sun was shining. It really was perfection! We saw stags, sea eagles, jelly fish and everyone said hello! It really was an easy decision: three months later we were here.
Well three months later the quiet beaches were filled with tourists, the sun had turned to rain, the quiet village was full of touring caravans and campervans. Wow! It is so different in tourist season. And the wifi was terrible – what was I going to do? Arisaig seemed amazing to me, now Glasgow….. I want to come back.
Then the worst thing ever happened.
The first night we thought we would phone for some dinner as it had been a long day moving. Guess what? You got it right. There is nowhere to phone! ”Let’s get a chippy,” Dad said. Nope. It closed at eight o’clock. What had happened to phoning food whenever you wanted and having it delivered to your door or nipping out for something round the clock? where we were from things opened twenty four hours; here you were lucky if they opened for one.
Things were starting to sink in and we realised we had moved to, a tiny rural village, so we panicked! “What have we done?” I heard Mum say one night. I was secretly thinking the same: I was missing trampoline parks, cinemas and Chinese takeaway, then something happened.
We grew to love the quiet life. We all made friends. We became part of the village something that no shop or takeaways can compare to. We are now protective of our beaches and get upset if tourists leave rubbish. We love them in the sun and just as much in the rain – we just all wear wellies. We are proud to show our village off when family and friends come to visit. They all say we are so lucky to live somewhere like this; they now think what we first thought: – it’s amazing. They are so right, Arisaig is amazing. It’s the perfect place to live: the water is beautiful; the people are friendly; and, most of all, you feel safe. My brother and i can go out to play without my mum worrying whereas back home she wouldn’t let us as she was too scared.
My Highland Home is a happy home and i wouldn’t change it for the world!
Well except the midges and the rain.
My Highland Home
by Catriona Millar
The Islands of the west coast are a mystery to some; they hide secrets and stories, some everyone knows and others only a few. They are home to some of the strangest and most wonderful people. The islanders love of strong whisky and heart racing ceilidhs will always be an important part of these islands culture. Confusing and beautiful, these islands draw in hundreds of visitors:Some come to see the isle of Rum’s gloomy mountains, others to see the the Calanais stones and feel shrunken against their size. They have haunting pasts, the clearances affecting them all, but more personal stories sting to. The iolaire tragedy: the 200 hundred dead always scarring the families of lewis. The Isle of Eigg massacre: an important and terrible part of the island’s history. These incidents have shaped the people and landscape, always to be a lasting scar. These Islands shape Scotland’s past and future, they bring in the tourists and are one of the the reasons Scotland is the world’s most beautiful place. The ride that is associated with these places is stronger than anyone can imagine and will always be important and strong.
When the gales hit the islands the inhabitants scurry to save old worn out roofs and their well loved cattle. They hunker down and when the electricity blows they sit, like they are back to the old days. The winter is always the worst, no boats, no money
and only the solitude to comfort them. People decide it’s time to move, to leave to Spain or Australia. They never do in the end.The islands are scarred by these winter times, always to remember when the sky was clear, the sun shone and the people
The time the islanders love most slowly draws in, the birth of lambs, the knew spurts of grass and the longer night are all signs of spring. The days of cold and rain have passed and it’s time to get to work. The islanders start to work on the garden, paint
the house and are of to market. The money slowly piles in and boats run smoothly. The tourists start to come in, the B&B’s start to fill up and the boats are packed. The preparation for summer has know begun.
The days are long, the sea is swimmable again and the summer clothes are brought out. The sheep are sheared and sent into the new fields again. The feeding stops and the grass grows. Many young get bored with these islands, what are they supposed to do? Sit around all their lives and make little money like their parents and many generations before them? This is when they leave their island homes to Glasgow or Inverness to “make something of their lives”. Only coming back around summer to celebrate the little sun we have, but their back to the hustle and bustle waiting for the next time.
The nights start to draw in, first slowly and unnoticeable, but soon the islanders notice the leaves turn red and die, less visitors about and the once little lambs have grown. They prepare once more for market, to make a little extra for the winter money that is already saved away. The winter jackets are thrown on and the winter wellies are taken out the cupboards. The rushing begins, and they order their Christmas presents early again this year, so they will make it on time.
The Islands can be stressful and tear inducing at times, but the sheer beauty and closeness of the communities always draws people back. The never changing class and style is always a comfort, even to the lonely. When someone leaves, it will stay with them forever and at some point in their lives will be dragged back. Some are unwilling, they had last been there years ago and found it boring, the mainland is there home know. This person will soon realise that the late summer nights and cold winter days will have them stuck yearning for the island they once left and hated. Don’t forget as the saying goes you can take the person of the island, but not the island out of the person.