Easter came early this year, or so it seemed, with the island barely ready to shrug off its winter coat. Welcomes were warm though, with a sudden surge of visitors and the opening of the Colonsay Hotel signalling a clear start to the season. There have been many preparations for new season across the island, as well as the continuous annual cycle on the island’s farms.
Many enjoy the rhythm and pace of life on Colonsay, and come here for all that brings. Work on the farms seems to be gradual, following a familiar pattern, which returns and brings with it renewal of life, particularly in the Spring. That renewal is often what visitors seek here. Perhaps too, harking back to distant days, which carry with them the perception of simplicity. Colonsay can certainly be place of renewal, a place to enjoy simplicity. Looking closer, though, you will see that cycle on the farms is built on endless toil, and given the winter weather just fading, that toil is cloaked in a winter coat.
On the Front Page this month:
- a briefing of island news
- a make over at “The Pantry”
- Colonsay on the “Whale Trail”
A few news lines:
- a request for tender has been issued for building the Colonsay Play Park
- the Colonday Gun Club Easter Shoot took place on last weekend in March (see more below)
- the Colonsay Community Garden gets an upgrade (see more below)
Colonsay News March 2018
The Pantry Café Make-over
The island’s main café, The Pantry, has had a major makeover, and has now reopened with a party to celebrate 30 years of serving visitors and locals.
30 years of The Pantry: May cuts the cake while Gavin and James applaud
The makeover has included reflooring, redecorating and refurnishing the 30 year old island venue to bring a contemporary bistro feel. Along with the makeover, Gavin Clark, the café’s owner, announced the launch of a new menu featuring fresh local ingredients, including local seafood for the popular “Seafood Night”, which is every Wednesday evening through the summer. The makeover and the new menu reflect The Pantry’s move, Gavin says, to being an evening dining spot, as well as serving customers through the day.
While The Pantry was closed Gavin held a series of highly popular and successful pop-up events in the Community Hall.
The Kilchattan School Parent Council organized an Italian Dinner, Quiz and Raffle on Friday 16th March at the Village Hall. The evening was a huge success raising over £700 pounds, and was much enjoyed by the 50+ diners.
Hebridean Whale Trail
On Thursday, 8thMarch, Karl Stevens and Siobhan Moran from the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust came to Colonsay to introduce the Hebridean Whale Trial the Trust is beginning to develop. Karl and Siobhan gave a presentation at the Colonsay & Oronsay Heritage Centre about the whale and dolphin population in the Hebrides, highlighting the size and diversity of cetaceans found here. The Hebridean Whale Trail will provide information to encourage whale and dolphin watching, and foster understanding of the many species found in our waters.
Karl Stevens and Siobhan Moran
This is a summary of what the Trust is seeking to do now and in the future:
“Individuals, communities and businesses are being asked to contribute ideas for top sites for spotting whales, dolphins and porpoises from land on Scotland’s west coast, to help create a Hebridean Whale Trail that will be the first of its kind in the UK.
The high-profile trail will be a network of around 25 world-class whale-watching and whale heritage sites. Its development is being led by charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.
The project will promote Scotland as one of Europe’s best destinations for spotting whales, dolphins and porpoises – collectively known as cetaceans – and champion conservation of the Hebrides’ unique, globally important marine wildlife and environment.
Due for a summer 2019 launch, the ambitious initiative will connect and support existing wildlife tourism businesses and heritage sites of national cultural significance that showcase the history of people’s relationships with whales in the Hebrides. Many of these will be small, community-run visitor centres at spectacular sites.”
Dolphins in the Hebrides – Source HWDT
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust is identifying potential sites for inclusion on the trail in close collaboration with individuals, communities, site owners, conservation organisations, schools, local businesses, visitor centres and tour operators. This led to Kyle and Siobhan’s visit to Colonsay, which it is hoped will lead to the establishment of a whale watching site.
The Trust is seeking sites from the Clyde in the south to Cape Wrath in the far north, and as far west as St Kilda. There will be a variety of locations and Colonsay would form a link in a chain stretching across the Hebrides.
The plan is for the trail will have a dedicated website with suggested routes, transport options and site details, with visitors able to share experiences by uploading photos. Very 21stCentury!
The Colonsay & Oronsay Gun Club held their annual Easter Shoot at the Colonsay Golf Course on Saturday 31st March.
Winners with their trophies at the chilly but enjoyable 2018 Easter Shoot
The prize winners for the Annual Easter shooting match were:
Angus & Ella McFadyen Memorial cup:
1st Freddie Onn; 2nd Dave Binnie; 3rd Donald MacAllister
David Clark Cup:
1st Freddie Onn; 2nd Chris Nisbet; 3rd Donald MacAllister
Morag Paris Basket:
1st Chris Nisbet; 2nd Freddie Onn; 3rd John Griffirths
1st John Griffiths: 2nd Chris Nisbet; 3rd Dave Binnie
1st Freddie Onn; 2nd Dave Binnie; 3rd Chris Nisbet
Hester McAllister cup ( Double Rise ):
1st Angus McFadyen; 2nd Dave Binnie; 3rd John Griffirths
Alasdair McNeill Memorial cup (Aggregate
1st Freddie Onn; 2nd Chris Nisbet; 3rd John Griffiths
Ladies cup: Leah Kerry
Boys cup: Ewan McFadyen
Recycling on Colonsay
A new group, The “Colonsay Recycling Squad”, has formed to “pave the way for recycling and composting on Colonsay”. They held their first meeting on Wednesday 28th March.
The group’s stated aim is to help Colonsay deal with waste more effectively, and to make good use of the soon to be installed community owned Ridan Composter, which is designed for all food waste, green waste and wood. The group is looking for enthusiasm, energy and any constructive ideas, and all are welcome to join.
Any one interested but was unable to attend should contact Willie Joll.
The Community Garden group has been busy upgrading the edging to some of the flowerbeds in the Community Garden. Originally, the up-slope side of two of each of the flowerbeds was edged with wooden sleepers to retain the soil and prevent it sliding down the slope into the bed. These sleepers have decayed over time and needed renewing or replacing. The Garden Group chose to upgrade the low retaining timbers with dry stone walling.
A team of dedicated volunteers stripped out the old sleepers and painstakingly replaced them with the new dry stone walls. The whole project took several days spread of the month, with up to half a dozen volunteers happily lending a hand. The new walls which are sufficiently high to hold back the earth, while not being intrusive or distracting from the planting in the beds.
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