Fuggo (Fiona) King, Regional Host Contact for North Scotland, recently organised a host gathering for her area and sent us this report.
Hilary and Ian have lived on their croft on Skye for nearly twenty years and they have planted over a thousand native trees. The house sits about two hundred metres above sea level with amazing views to Uist which means it is very exposed to westerly winds from the Atlantic. So it is a great testament to the hardy trees growing over their twelve acres. The land rises up to a well preserved broch remnant (an ancient Scottish building) where the photos were taken. This is part of the common grazing land that is still prevalent in some areas of Scotland. They welcomed us into their home and the relaxed and easy atmosphere helped us all get to talk and share stories.
We were treated to a guided exploration of the croft. As we walked up the slope, some trees were sitting no higher than the summer grass, sheltering and waiting for warm days and hiding from grazing deer and rabbits! Nine of us enjoyed the walk, including the young grandson of other local WWOOF hosts. We also sampled a great variety of cake and a shared lunch that we all contributed to. There was still plenty of salad and tomatoes in the polytunnel and home-made bread.
In the morning we had a look at one of the chambers of Ian’s compost toilets that was ready for emptying, giving me confidence that our one at home might also be ready. The afternoon continued with more talk about compost toilet construction.
Our talk was also of good and bad things about being a host, most of us having done this for many years. It was helpful to share experiences and learn from each other. Liz and Brendon came over from Harris and are delighted to have become hosts more recently. It was felt that most of the experiences are good and keeping up communications helps a lot. We all highly recommend supporting your area WWOOF host gathering to strengthen the feeling of being part of a positive and growing community. Feedback on the day was very positive and Hilary and Ian may still be eating leftovers!