When the Wind Gobbles You Up

We have been flying by the seat of our pants at Persabus

quite literally.

Living on the edge of the land.

Winter storms have raged across the landscape. Wild seas lashing against the coastline. Ferries battling huge waves to keep our lifeline service running.

Sometimes when you look out of the window on a grey day as the wind howls around you it is a ‘thought’.

To muster up that ‘get up and go’

To ‘climb’ out of the warmth and comfort of ‘home’ and face the elements in their full ferocity.

The daily run with the Persabus dogs is a challenge in many ways when those storms set in. The sheer wall of energy from the raging gales means an extra ‘push’ to make any headway. The icy cold wind biting. Forcing its way through my many layers, sharp teeth on my cheeks and nose.

A change of direction and I am suddenly thrust forwards as the gales literally threaten to whip me off my feet and carry me along in their wake. My little legs madly trying to keep up. Adding an extra workout to what started off as a gentle ‘jog’.

Why then would I be so bonkers?

What on earth am I thinking of? Everyone asks.

A run fully immersed in those elements, in the very depths of a freezing cold winter, leaves you invigorated, tingling and just ready to flow. Total immersion is as good as those wild swims in calmer weather. The refreshing glow of the freezing temperatures and then the heat of a hot shower back at the farmhouse, and it just sets me up for the day.

In the pottery

colourful hearts and flowers have been emerging as I revisit the Helen Happy Heart range. Escapism from any grey wet day outside this range is all about bright, bold colour.

At Persabus the farmhouse is always filled with flowers. Often big and blousy wild bouquets gathered from the hillside and mixed with beautiful flowers from my Happy Farmer.

In the summer months the flowerbeds and old stone troughs are alive with the vibrant colour and scent of floral displays. The Helen Happy Heart range is all about happy colourful hearts and flowers. Capturing my love for my island home. It is a range that makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile too.

Sending you a big bit of Islay love from Persabus.

Until next time….

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The Mighty Persabus Haggis Hunt

It was to be a sombre affair this year

With all the current restrictions in place, even the Persabus haggi seem to have been hiding away from this dreadful virus.

On the farm, whilst those sheep and cows seem oblivious to current guidelines, not adhering to social distancing rules at all, a little haggis told me that the haggi population of the Inner Hebrides are taking the guidelines very seriously indeed.

The Happy Farmer cut a lonely figure striding out across the hillside in search of his favourite haggis.

Gone were the usual pre-hunt antics and high jinks of the annual Persabus haggis hunt

There were no customary pies flowing from the infamous Aga. No pre-hunt drams of Islay’s finest malts. Such was the Happy Farmer’s sorrow at contemplating the thought of a haggis hunt without his usual farming contingent, he had no appetite for pies or whisky.

With Burn’s night almost upon us it was to be an incredibly lonely mission.

He set off in the dead of night, with just the moonlight for company

The first hurdle was the electric fence, which to circumnavigate in the darkness, with some ever so slightly ‘tippled’ farmers would usually prove to be something of an obstacle. Not every farmer has been blessed with the mighty long legs of the Happy Farmer or indeed the Handsome Young Farmer. It was probably a huge relief to the Happy Farmer at this point that his usual cohort were not present. With some proving to be terribly ‘clickety clackety’ in the gait these days. Some with wee chunky legs that are simply not quite long enough to straddle an electric fence, with bog and ditch on either side.

The thought of a sharp tweak in the ‘oxters’ and the game would have definitely been a bogey

On previous haggis hunts the Happy Farmer, at this point, together with the help of the Handsome Farmer, would usually lead proceedings with old fashioned ‘coalie backs’. This allowed the ‘lesser legged’ members of the contingent to be hoisted safely over the treacherous wire.

The memory of that particular hunt brought a smile to the Happy Farmer’s face.

He recalled the time when the shortest farmer in the party could not quite manage to hoist himself up on to the Handsome Farmer’s back. Several attempts, and then a run and a jump, and the said farmer had positively leap frogged high into the air, somersaulting straight over the Handsome Farmer’s back, across the fence, before landing face down and feet up in a peaty bog.

Thankfully, the night was saved by the copious amounts of ‘amber nectar’ brought along for such emergencies.

Before they knew it, all the farmers could be found face down in whisky and feet up in the peaty bog

Their chortling as they became even more stuck could be heard far and wide. The farmers, completely oblivious to the attention they were drawing, had by this point, due to the huge quantity of medicinal drams, quite forgotten the mission and purpose of their evening. Hearty stories were recounted from the depths of that bog. Their luck was in however, as on hearing the antics of those farmers, and being ever so nosy little creatures, the haggi began to creep from their burrows. Scurrying closer, they could just smell that whisky. A twitch of the whiskers and they could tell it was a good, aged Islay malt. After a long winter spent in the depths of a burrow, the temptation proved to be just too much. Before those farmers knew it, haggi were positively bounding and leaping into the peaty bog to join in the party.

That particular year proved to be one of the most successful hunts to date.

This year however, it was just the Happy Farmer heaving himself up the hillside. Well, he heaved himself to the base of the hill at any rate. I am not so sure he would have gone as far as quite making it up the hillside such was his sombre mood.

All alone in the moonlight. Nothing seemed to be doing

Defeated, the Happy Farmer turned and began to make his way back to the farmhouse. He was completely oblivious to the curious whiskers that were beginning to pop out of the burrows, watching his every move. Saddened that there was no whisky bath to leap into this year. Saddened there had not been so much as a drop of ‘amber nectar’ to enjoy.

That is until one of those brave little haggis could bear it no longer

Taking a flying leap, he jumped high into the air before skilfully landing snuggly in the pocket of the Happy Farmer’s jacket. He was swiftly followed by a second, landing in another pocket, and a third. By the time the Happy Farmer reached the farmhouse and came to take off his jacket his pockets were full of haggi.

If you have ever wondered why there are so many pockets to a farmer’s jacket now you know the answer. In the current climate you will be pleased to hear those haggi were all happily socially distanced, one to each pocket.

The Happy Farmer’s annual haggis hunt has yet again provided another plentiful supply of this gorgeous delicacy to be enjoyed on Burn’s night and beyond.

Which just leaves me to wish you a Happy Burn’s night from all of us at Persabus. Slainte.

Until next time…

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Winter on Islay

We woke up to a hard frost

A peppering of snow on the Paps and brilliant sunshine. Days like these. It is good for the soul, especially in these strange times.

Running through hard frosty fields, dogs in tow, and the Hebridean sheep do not blink an eye as we pass. They are used to our daily rounds. The sweet scent of silage fills the air as the Happy Farmer works away on his tractor delivering bales to the animals in the fields. The summer crops preserved for feed during this harsh season.

Much later as I walk down to the sea

I pass the sheep herded around munching away. One stood greedily guzzling on top of a bale. Even the bull, who is usually ever so nosy, can barely take his head away from the feed ring today. At this late hour I can see he has made a hearty attempt to munch his way through a good quarter of his bale already.

Out on the hill, the Highland cows enjoy the unspoilt wilderness

of bog, heather and a variety of grasses allowing for good foraging and plenty of shelter among the rocky crags. They are in their natural habitat and so only need feed blocks just now, which they lick their way through heartily. Rich in minerals and salts the feed block encourages them to eat more grass whilst also improving the nutrient value of their diet.

It is amazing the facts you learn from a quick chat with the Happy Farmer. He can be spotted a mile away from any vantage point just now, dressed from head to toe in his fluorescent ‘garb’. A series of warm layers keep the winter chills at bay.

Down at the shore and a seal lies lazing on a rock

seemingly drifting off to sleep, then waking with a start and a stretch, before drifting off again.

In the pottery

the tartan theme continues, which will be ideal for our Burn’s Night celebrations on Monday when ‘team Persabus’ will be toasting the haggis with great gusto.

There has also been a bit of a heart theme going on as I focus on St Valentine’s and spreading a little love from Persabus during these crazy times. I am hoping to have the online shop flowing with hearts for February.

Yesterday though as a storm was brewing outside it seemed appropriate to be working on Duncan’s Bunnahabhain range. Capturing a beautiful walk out along Islay’s north east coastline on a stormy day and translating it into art. There is something very relaxing about spending an afternoon painting. Enjoying mixing the colours, working with shading and light. Flicks of the brush creating movement and texture and suddenly the scene comes to life and another piece is created. Ready for glazing and firing.

Capturing the tones and seasons of island life onto ceramics, do be sure to call by and visit our online shop soon.

Until next time…

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All things Tartan

It has been a time of the most beautiful strawberry lemony skies

Capturing the final hours of daylight with the last rays of the setting sun painting the landscape with golden, pink hues. Underfoot the rugged peaty ground frozen solid. The wild grasses coated in frost. In the distance the pink and lilac snow-clad mountains of Mull, against the sea, framing the horizon.

I have watched in awe as so many people seem to have taken to the sea for a refreshing new year dip. After a scramble down the hillside the gentle lapping waves look so inviting but with the biting cold, crisp air, it is a firm ‘no’ from me. For now, it is enough to just sit at the edge of the shore amongst the rocks, watching as the pebbles get drawn back and forth with the tide.

The rush that swept us along

as the madness of Christmas took over in the final weeks of the last year, has calmed.

The festivities were a quieter affair with all the restrictions in place.

It was just our small clan, but we still danced, and sang.

Ate far too much and made merriment. It was a time for slowing down. Lazy mornings, followed by long walks along deserted coastlines. In the evenings, bonfires on the beach and at the farm, huddled under the star lit skies. The warmth of the crackling flames against your face and the Happy Farmer’s sloe gin to warm the cockles.

In the Pottery as I steadily pick up where I left off, before the turn of the year, a tartan theme is emerging. I have found myself captivated by threading the muted shades of Islay’s winter, weaving the colours into a tartan pattern. A collaboration of mossy, peaty, earthy colours lifted with the reds and bronzes of those beautiful golden rays the sun seems to be casting across the island. All celebrated in Valinda’s Hogmanay Tartan range.

Valinda was my late mother-in-law

A vibrant, colourful lady who loved all things tartan

It is not a new theme to my ranges but to begin the year I am going to be exploring new colour palettes within the tartans. A celebration of this fabulous lady and her proud Scots heritage and the ideas are suddenly endless.

Emerging also then is the new Valinda’s Rainbow Tartan design, equally quirky. This range is an explosion of colour, capturing the vibrant rainbow shades of the crisp winter landscapes, seas and skies in the Hebrides. As pieces emerge from the kiln I will be sharing them with you in my little online emporium.

Finally then I would like to wish ‘you and yours’ a happy, healthy new year from all of us at Persabus. It is a strange start to the year, but know that we are thinking of you all, friends old and new, your messages and cards over the festivities were fabulous.

We look forward to a time when we can catch up once again

and offer you a hearty welcome back to the farm to enjoy these beautiful island shores.

Until next time…

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When the Sea is Calling

When the sea is calling

I was brought up falling asleep to the sound of waves gently breaking on the shore. The guttural hum of bleating sheep. The sweet scent of grass and peat. Tired, cold feet hardened from days of running bare foot through the Machair and across the sands. City shoes long discarded. Summer would be spent camping by the sea.

Breakfast would be served, squeezed round a tiny table in the back of my parents’ camper van

Cereal in well used, plastic bowls with fresh milk from the croft. It would be our job to go up to Jessie and Annie’s to collect the milk. An adventure of avoiding the crazy mad cockerel, who always saw us as fair game. If spotted he would take it upon himself to chase us along the path. There would be relief if we saw Jessie first as she knew how to shoo him away. The pet cow was kept out the back of the old stone whitewashed cottage, providing fresh milk for the house and holiday people.

Breakfast done and we were up and away.

Across the Machair, the dunes parted

and a bank of deep coarse sand led down to a white sandy beach. A beach full of possibilities to the imaginative eyes of children.

Days would be spent making dams out of sand and pebbles

diverting the flow of the burn, that trickled down to the sea. Walls would be constructed in the sand to create boundaries for homes and dens as our beach tribe grew. A gathering of children each summer on the beautiful shores of the west coast of Scotland.

Rock pools would be calling

Crabs and small fish would be collected in buckets, and sloshed about, before being returned as other adventures were beckoning. Seaweed, shells, and tiny pebbles bleached by the sun, held so many possibilities for creativity in the sand.

Circumnavigating our way across slippery rocks to reach the best focal point to watch the huge breakers crashing onto high jagged cliff edges. Losing ourselves in a maze of bracken, its tendrils reaching high above us.

The fishermen would return to the camping tribe

Lobster pots filled with crab. A feast of mackerel and pollock ready to go on the smoker. We lived off the harvests from the sea. The freshest of catches grilled, smoked, and devoured.

On warmer days we would swim among the waves. Screams and laughter as the surf carried us back to shore as we rode those waves. Sometimes even the dogs would join in. Their huge paws acting as fins beneath the sea as they ‘doggy paddled’ around us. Their claws ever so sharp if they got too close.

Lunch would be a picnic of sandy crab or chicken paste sandwiches

and a packet of crisps delivered by an adult. Hunger was not on the agenda. We would be too busy immersed in our little adventures. Cross at the interruptions from the grown-up world.

Driftwood gathered for a fire to light the night sky I cannot recall being involved in the collecting of the wood. I was always too busy wrapped up in my own little imaginative world.

Long into the evenings we would sit around the open fire

Faces glowing and burning from the heat of the flames, huddled under blankets. Potatoes baked in tin foil and served with butter on those well-used much-loved plastic camping plates. Our clothes carrying the lingering smoky scent of the firewood long after the flames had died.

Finally, my little tent would be calling. As my head hit the pillow, I would drift off to sleep with the sound of those waved gently breaking on the shore again and the sheep softly bleating.

There is something so mesmerising on the beach. Watching the patterns in the sea. Listening to those huge Atlantic Rollers, as they come crashing onto the shoreline. The roar of the ocean waves.

Islay is surrounded by the most dramatic and beautiful seascapes

It is an endless source of inspiration for my work in the pottery. Each piece painted by hand. Capturing that magical beach time, the beautiful colour palette that unveils itself in the changing skies as the weather delivers endless seasons in a day.

The beach time ranges at Persabus…


Until next time…

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The Persabus Department Store

Whoever thought it would take soooo long?

These past few weeks when the Happy Farmer has enquired why I am running round like a headless chicken, in between spending hours googly eyed in front of a computer screen, my response has been

‘Well, I’m opening a department store!’

He simply smiles and hands me more tea and coffee.

It has been a monumental effort as I have been flying over those huge hurdles to get the shop all finalised, juggling photography, marketing, writing, uploading, downloading, as I fumble my way through the world of website design.

The Persabus clan have as always, been in the background supporting my latest endeavour.

Every day, in between painting in the studio, as people call by, I can be seen carrying pottery back and forth across to the Persabus photography studio. It is a very grand studio. The sort of studio photographers would swoon at. It is also known as a drystone dyke, at the side of the single-track road, with views across the fields to the Sound of Islay. I didn’t quite manage to squeeze the views in to the photos but am pretty pleased with the overall results. If you are canny and look at my photography skills carefully you might even be able to ascertain the different seasons in each photo.

Photography at the roadside at Persabus can be a frustrating at times and comes with its own hazards.

This is especially true when the ‘clan’ make an appearance to help

Yesterday before I knew, it, ceramic tealight poised in ‘perfect’ position on the wall, the ‘higgeldy piggeldy’ nature of an old drystone dyke does mean the positioning of a piece is crucial, the camera was all set to go, and my ‘helpers’ arrived. Hamishina, one of the Persabus cats, chose this moment  to put in an appearance to see what all the fuss was about. I think the piece was from her favourite Persabus Pottery design. She posed happily thinking the camera was for her benefit. A bit of cat photo bombing later and she decided the pottery looked good enough to eat, sniffing and nuzzling the piece, before threatening to head the ball, I mean tea light, off the wall. This was the moment that Ruby dog decided to make her appearance and came bouncing down the road. A huge grin on her face, tail wagging happily.

As I made my way back and forth from the pottery studio, arms filled with goodies, across the road to the drystone dyke, I suddenly had two faithful companions at my heels. Thankfully no sheep, highland cows or horses joining the queue today though.

No amount of pleading with Ruby to ‘get to the garden’ was going to work

My lovely flatcoat was in her element to be pinned to my side. Hamishina took it upon herself to jump onto the wall to accompany each piece of pottery, until in the end, the game was a bogey. Dogs, cats, pottery, and the threat of the odd car passing alongside, and I had to call it a day and head to the farmhouse, much to the delight of my two companions. They duly followed me back into the warmth ready for a bowl of tasty food before curling up on their respective beds for a cosy sleep at the fireside.

On a positive note, the photos have been done.  The blurb has been written as I got to share the stories behind each range and piece, and I am really excited to be sharing the new shop with you over the next couple of days.

There is a ‘contact us’ button to place orders, and for any enquiries, because the beauty of my shop is it isn’t a department store, and I am not a factory. I do not do mass produced and am very happy to take orders as every piece is completely unique, intricately painted by hand with my own designs inspired by living on this beautiful island.

Do keep an eye and have a look at my art as I capture the huge open skies, the turquoise seas, the flora and fauna of this magical place.

It has been an exciting rollercoaster of a ride.

Thank you all for your patience. For all the email enquiries, messages, and photos back and forth, as we finalise and sort orders. Your fantastic support of me and my business has led me to this next exciting step. It will make the process of online buying at Persabus Pottery a much simpler affair. A click of a button, a ‘cart’, just like the ones your mum used to push you along the aisles of the supermarket in, which you can place your pottery in, and the good news at this point is, it won’t break in this virtual online cart, and then with a click it’s bought and we will post it away to you. We are also excited to be offering local collection from the pottery.

The pottery showroom is open and as always, a warm welcome awaits you.

We are open six days a week from Monday to Friday from 12noon until 4pm and on Saturday from 12noon until 3pm.

Christmas pottery boxes being launched next week and here is the link to the Persabus online shopping experience…


Until next time…

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The Haunted Kiln

The blog has taken a bit of a back seat 

We have been ‘cooking with gas’ in the pottery. Our Halloween ghosts and ghouls in the form of our ‘pottery takeaway’ painting boxes have literally been flying off the shelves. The first two days saw us sell out of stock completely. Thankfully we were able to restock quickly as more happy and excited children could be seen clutching their fabulous spooky Halloween creations as they left the pottery this week.  

From the depths of the haunted kiln at Persabus 

skulls, spooks, spiders and haunted tree trunks have emerged. Pieces, all glazed and fired, ready to take pride of place on windowsills in homes. Flickering brightly, with the addition of tealights, as the nights really begin to draw in with Halloween approaching, adding a warm glow to those beautiful autumn nights. 

The support from our wonderful community and beyond in these crazy times has been fantastic

From pottery boxes, commissions and orders. To sales and a friendly chat, muffled from the face masks. It has been lovely to see everyone again. Do get in touch if you are looking for an extra special gift or some original and unique ceramics for Christmas gifts. Am I allowed to mention the dreaded ‘C’ word yet? And do keep an eye out for our ‘Christmas Pottery Takeaways’ which are coming soon. 

The Happy Farmer also has a spring in his step

and a huge smile spreading from cheek to cheek. ‘Auld Lizzie’ his childhood tractor has a starring role in the week’s The Scottish Farmer magazine. 

The article recounts the story of ‘Auld Lizzie’ from when she arrived at the farm back in the 1950s. My late father in law had at the time been informed his new tractor would be arriving on ‘tomorrow’s boat’, only to then be told ‘tomorrow’s boat was fully booked’ (some island traditions continue to this day). Instead ‘Auld Lizzie’ was shipped on the Loch Frisa, a steamer, from the Kingston Docks in Glasgow to Port Askaig,  where she was lifted by the ship’s jib, slung in a net, across onto the pier, to serve her time at Persabus. 

She was the first four-wheel drive tractor to come to Islay. The Happy Farmer’s tractor throughout his childhood years. He could often be seen ploughing the fields, missing out on school, whenever the opportunity of tractor work arose on the farm. 

Eventually as newer tractors took over, ‘Auld Lizzie’ lay in rusty bits around the farm for fifty or so years, until lockdown arrived, and with more time on his hands the Happy Farmer set about restoring her to her former glory. 

It is not the article though that has really given the Happy Farmer his huge happy grin and an extra spring in his step, but that after all these years, and all his hard work, new life has been breathed into the very springs of his old tractor.  

Finally, he could step back and enjoy seeing the younger members of the clan, after a few shaky starts, take off around the fields of Persabus on his childhood tractor. 

This week we have enjoyed the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets

The rich and vibrant colours of a hebridean autumn as the Paps of Jura have been lit up in golds and reds as the sun lowers in the sky. Each day when the pottery door has closed, I have been off with the dogs, for rambles through the woods, making the most of the last daylight hours, as in a month’s time it will simply be too dark to venture out after work. 

With the Barnacle Geese home on the farm too, once again we can enjoy watching them from the farmhouse.  Flying high above the field in close formation. Before lowering those wings. Spreading out their webbed feet, and then ever so gently parachuting down, slowly, for a soft landing in the field below.

What remains in the front field it would seem is now ‘goose paradise’ as they can be seen heartily tucking into the leftovers from the crop of barley. 

Until next time… 


The Rule Breakers

Our regular guests turned up at Persabus this week

They arrived as a large group.

With the rules changing around keeping everyone safe and helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19, two households are no longer allowed to stay together or mix indoors in self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

The Happy Farmer knew at once that our guests were not all from the same family

There were too many of them ‘tagging’ along. An exceptionally large group, there was no sign of any social distancing, and certainly not a face mask in sight. They were quite simply enjoying their freedom. Happily flouting any of the rules we are all adhering to.

The Happy Farmer for once was not in the least bit concerned

Luckily, these guests will be with us for the long haul and are not planning on checking in to any of the self-catering accommodation on offer at Persabus.

On Tuesday morning we were awoken with the sound of lots of excited happy chatter.

Geese circled in the skies high above

Round and round they swooped, and circled, in neat, coordinated formations appearing to be doing several laps of honour. Such was their excitement to have made the long and arduous journey from Greenland back to their island home for the cooler months.

With crystal clear skies across the farm, and the sun gradually rising from behind the Paps of Jura, it really was picture perfect, and too good a moment to miss fumbling for my phone to grab a quick photo. It was a moment to be enjoyed. Luckily I did manage to get a photo of a smaller flock later on.

The shrill squawks and shrieks.

The’ whooping’ of strong wings flapping away as the geese looked down longingly at the rich green grassy fields below that the Happy Farmer has grown especially for their arrival. Well, not quite ‘grown’ for them specifically. In the winter months it can indeed become a bit of a ‘tussle’ for grazing as the geese can pluck the fields bare, leaving little, if anything, behind for the sheep and cattle.

On Tuesday then, our new arrivals simply could not contain their excitement. The sheer joy, the excited chatter, as hordes of geese gathered from all corners. It really did sound like one very happy family returning to Islay for their much needed holidays.

Welcome back Barnacle Geese!

At Persabus both of our self-catering cottages have their own private gardens allowing our guests to enjoy socially distanced get togethers with any visiting family or friends…

Until next time…

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The Expedition

Going on an expedition for me is always a case of taking along the ‘kitchen sink’ and anything else I can fit in too! 

So with the sunshine bursting through the windows of the farmhouse on Sunday morning, when eldest suggested we take a hike out to the north of Islay and make the most of the gorgeous Indian summer weather, I could be found fumbling about, cramming everything I possibly could manage, into two rucksacks, make that three.  

Several trips up and down the stairs and the necessary extra fleeces, jackets, hats (just in case), a first aid kit for all and every eventuality and then of course the necessary flasks of tea, bottles of water, sandwiches, cakes, and fruit. Dog lead, stick, and then one final sprint back to the farmhouse, as in my haste, I almost forgot the dog herself, and we were off. 

A hike out along my favourite coastline

Beyond Bunnahabhain towards Rhuval, before cutting inland, between the hills, and across to Bagh an da Dhoruis, the bay of two doors.  

On Sunday, with the sun beams glinting on the calming blue waters of the Sound, the islands were swathed in purples and golds, as the colours of a Hebridean autumn swept their magic across the landscape. A herd of deer high up on the hillside watched our every move. 

The bay itself is tricky to reach

Once you leave the coast behind, the land becomes wild and full of tussocks, bracken, and very long grass. The deceptively smooth surface gives way to bogs that grab at your feet and suck them down, leaving your boots thick with black, gooey peat. Tussocky hillocks that are deceptively hard to balance on, with deep ditches between. However, there is also something quite cathartic about squelching through boggy, mossy ground and this is where my stick came in handy, especially with the sharp, uphill incline, and an ever so eager Bramble dog, on her lead, pulling me onwards and upwards at a rate of knots.  

The beach itself, is enclosed by sheer cliffs, that are both breath-takingly high and rugged. Mountain goats skip across their peaks, circumnavigating the terrain with ease. Herds of deer shelter from the heat of the midday sun, in the huge caves far below. Reaching the shoreline involves a clamber high up the hillside, way above those sheer cliffs, before scrambling down to sea level through the steep grassy, boggy terrain of the eastern side. Clutching at the strong fronds of bracken for support on the journey down. 

White sands and crystal-clear waters make the strenuous journey even more rewarding. Boots and soggy socks hastily removed, and those toes are soon getting refreshed and cooled in the soothing waves. 

Mugs of hot tea never tasted so good

Sandwiches and all the trimmings of a beachside packed lunch were devoured. Our appetites were huge after the hearty morning’s hike, and then the chocolate bakes from youngest just topped it all, as we sat on the rocks enjoying our feast in the heat of the midday sun. 

 An hour or so of beach time. There were caves to explore, filled with buoys and ropes, carried in from the sea on high tides and in stormy weather. Dramatic rocks, next to which we paled into insignificance, such was their majestic height. With only the oyster catchers, deer and goats for company, and Sanderlings happily chasing the waves in the shallows, and then the gentle sound of sea breaking over the smooth sands. 

Refreshed and revived and we were off once again. Heading home wards. High up into the hills once more and back down to the coastline of the Sound. The sun beating down made for thirsty work, and in the distance

the Happy Farmer and Ruby dog could be seen making their way across the heather clad hills

to meet us. By the time we reached them the ocean was calling. Scaling down the boggy terrain and onto the beach, boots and soggy socks were once again removed, before a reviving dip in those crystal clear waters, there really is nothing quite like it, to soothe those tired and aching muscles, after a day hiking across the hills. The Happy Farmer, of course, looked on with a grin, from the safety and comfort of a rock, as we swam in the turquoise waters below. 

Home to a hot bath. Candles were lit, and a hearty roast dinner was served, topped off with youngest’s rhubarb sponge crumble with ice cream and

Island living really does not get any better 

When you come to stay with us at Persabus, your days can be filled with exciting island expeditions. We are always on hand to help you plan and make the most of your island holiday. 

A warm welcome awaits you. 

Until next time… 

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Old Lizzie

We have a new star on the farm

Well not quite ‘new’…quite old in fact. Quite old, unique, and more than a bit of a relic.

New life has been breathed into the very soul of ‘Old Lizze’, fondly named by my late father in law.

Old Lizzie arrived at Persabus way back in the early 1950s

She was a bit of a star back in the day too. The first four-wheel drive tractor to come to the island.

The Happy Farmer grew up on old Lizzie. From the age of seven, when he first learnt to drive, he could be found happily skipping school at every opportunity, to help plough the fields, turn the hay, and generally do any tractor work that was required about the farm.

Many happy evenings in his youth were spent, with his pals, after school, on Old Lizzie, bucking the stooks up for making corn stacks, as they all enjoyed shots driving the tractor.

For the last forty odd years, Old Lizzie has lain, a rusty relic

quietly gathering dust, in the corner of the Happy Farmer’s shed, with just the occasional visit, from a passing farming enthusiast or two, keen to pay homage to one of the last remaining Massey Ferguson TE-20 Perkins P3 four wheel drive tractors.

Over the past couple of years, in between the madness of life on the farm at Persabus, the Happy Farmer has been turning his hand to reviving his old tractor

It began with a helping hand from the younger members of the clan

When the family were over visiting, the young cousins, under the guidance of Gregor Fletcher, of Fletcher Fabworks, set about brushing down the old rusty bonnet and wings, before carefully spraying them back to their original gleaming grey colour. Quietly and methodically whenever he had a spare minute, the Happy Farmer set about reconstructing the old engine, ordering new tyres and generally giving the old lady a much needed over haul.

Last week then the Happy Farmer’s grin could not have got any wider

as when beaming with pride, he drove ‘Old Lizzzie’ from the shed once again. This time she was gleaming and running like clockwork, as he drove down to the fields, happily making sure each one of the clan got a shot behind the wheel.

At this point I must assure you it was my full intention to just stand back and watch the proceedings

The thought of actually getting behind the wheel, being left to my own devices and expected to get on with it and drive her forward….that was for me… quite hair raising and definitely not on my agenda. However the Happy Farmer was most insistent, and once behind the wheel, after a few kangeroos forward in the right direction, I gleefully sped off, with a final shout in the distance, pointing me to the direction of the brakes. Happily I survived.

I then watched as the Happy Farmer sped off in glee, at a rate of knots, for a lap of honour around the field. Worryingly, as he sped back into sight, he appeared covered from head to toe, in what looked like a huge oil spillage. My heart was in my mouth as I assumed Old Lizzie must have sprung a leak. I was gladly reassured then, when a still smiling, mud splattered, Happy Farmer climbed from the tractor, with just a few muddy puddles to blame for the mass of freckles he appeared to now have.

There’s a lot to be said for modern tractor cabs, but I know the Happy Farmer would not swap his Old Lizzie for the world.

Happy ‘tractoring’.

Until next time….