January and February have flown by. Flown and blown, if you take the weather into account! Both months have seen some dramatic storms with incredibly high winds, snowstorms and amazing tides. I was visiting my mum in Mallaig and ended up having to stay a bit longer than planned due to the fact Diabaig was snowed in, the pass proving unpassable. There are plenty of videos and photographs on the social media sites to look at that show some fairly dramatic moments! The weather in Mallaig wasn’t much better. I spent a week taking the pup for very snowy walks through the hills and meeting other slightly frozen dog owners on the way!
Our plans for January and February included trying to get some much needed renovations done on the house. It has been neglected in it’s past life with no or little insulation, no proper heating and a lot of wonky plumbing. We had of course been a little optimistic of how quickly we could get the place ship shape, and our plan for B&B rooms is definitely going to take a little longer to materialise. But we do have a fullly plumbed bathroom and a warm living room at the moment. It has been a little slower too due to the fact I had to recuperate fro the appendix op. Grrr, madddening fact is that life most definitely is what happens whilst you make other plans. Thanks John Lennon!
However, we are working as hard as we can to get things ready for opening later this month. As we have been living in the restaurant whilst sorting the house there is still plenty to do. It has been really useful to really see what happens over the year with regard to tourist numbers, what the local population do over winter and how all that relates to the restaurant and opening. Safe to say we could have had a lovely busy and fun festive season (sorry again… darned appendix…again) and probably could open from mid March. We are opening on the evening of the 20th March this year and going straight into full time opening. Next year might be able to do more… we shall see what life throws at us between now and then!
We are very much settling into life here in Diabaig and have found everything we wanted here… and much much more. There is a community spirit that is alive and kicking. We are surrounded by a diverse and motivated group of folks who are keen to keep Diabaig alive and well, unspoilt but sustainable for us all to live in. It is of course, not without it’s challenges but having already experienced rural isolated living on the Isle of Canna we feel very spoiled here! There is a stable long term community , albeit it small in numbers and sadly no children remain but there is an active forward thinking core. Low impact tourism is the main source of income with holiday cottages and now us of course. But there are also new crofters and smallholdings setting up which will provide fruit, willow, bees and honey, vegetables and some more creative tie-ins – workshops and artists retreats. Over the next year there will be lots of exciting things happening – some we will be doing ourselves, some we will be joining forces on and some we will just be here if needed! The most heartening thing is that the future involves care, planning and action. People are working together to figure out the best way forward for us all to survive. The avid gardeners are talking about who should grow what and diversity in new accommodations for the area decided. We know we need B&B and short stay accommodation…and it is coming. Maybe in the meantime we need someone to start a wee taxi run… or a minibus?? Or a boat ferry… see, lots of ideas… too little time!
And that sums up winter for us – time for thinking, planning and then running out of time!