Monday, October 24, 2016

Island for sale

If I had a spare 2 million I'd consider this - Tanera Mòr, the largest of the Summer isles is still for sale. It has 9 houses, a cafe, it's own stamps (and post office) some nice beaches and a good anchorage (the last of which is probably the most important factor to life on an island). It may not be the easiest place to get too. I have no idea how bad the weather gets in winter though I suspect that getting off the island would be the easy bit compared to a winter treck from Achiltibuie (nearby mainland village) to Inverness (nearest Marks and Spencer's) 80 miles away, but the views are stunning...

The current owners are also willing to split the island into 3 lots - though you'd be stuffed if you didn't like the neighbours, it's not that big an island. There are details and pictures Here and Here but what really attracts me to it is that Tanera Mòr is where Frank Fraser-Darling wrote (or at least where he was writing about) 'Island Farm' - so it does, sort of, come with an instruction manual. It's worth bearing in mind that Frank and Bobby found the island's principal residence, the old school house, so uncomfortable that they moved into a sectional hut...

The island might be well out of my price range but the Little Toller edition of 'Island Years, Island Farm' is not. It's a wonderful book (which you'd probably have time to read in the trip between Achiltibuie and Inverness) I wrote about it a few years ago Here and there's more about it on Little Toller's website Here.


  1. Shall we go halves?

  2. I fear that would still leave me somewhat short. It's a lovely idea though - especially as work gears up for Christmas, running away to the Hebrides seems like a very sensible plan

  3. I am delighted that you have showcased the Frank Fraser Darling classic. Little Toller books are lovely to keep or to give away as presents.
    Beautifully produced and illustrated, these are durable paperbacks with fold-back covers.
    I sent two Toller books to a young friend in Canada, one by Edward Thomas and the other by Gavin Maxwell, because I know she loves good writing and artwork.
    The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad has bewitching illustrations, a good introduction for anyone who has difficulty with Conrad's dark fiction.
    Little Toller's edition of John Wyatt's exciting work The Shining Levels, comes with haunting black and white illustrations, and a preface by Melvyn Bragg.
    I am much taken just now by three Toller editions - Adam Thorpe's On Silbury Hill, RM Lockley's Dream Island, and Earth Memories by Llewelyn Powys, who was a most strange and enigmatic man.
    Fred Kitchen's Brother to the Ox reminded me of Ronald Blythe's classic book Akenfield. Fred Kitchen opened a door on a vanished world, the life of men and women who worked long hours in English farms, but who enjoyed simple pleasures.
    I have still to purchase Marjory Sedgwick's Snow, Iain Sinclair's Black Apples of Gower and John Burnside's Havergay.
    I was pleased that Toller reissued Kenneth Allsop's In the Country and WNP Barbellion's Journal of a Disappointed Man.
    Barbellion suffered from a wasting disease but loved the natural world. The writer Ken Allsop was a sharp-eyed observer of American culture but also a much-admired BBC television presenter.
    I hope Toller issues a book of essays by Gwyn Jones, a witty and contrary Welsh writer whose BBC documentary films can be enjoyed on YouTube.
    Jim Crumley our best wildlife writer deserves to be published by Little Toller.
    I read Richard Mabey's The Unofficial Countryside in 1974 and was pleased to read it again as a Toller edition.
    The Military Orchid by Jocelyn Brooke is a lost non-fiction masterpiece from a forgotten novelist.
    Jack Haggerty

  4. Erratum. In my comment I referred to Gwyn Jones when I should have said Gwyn Thomas.
    It is Gwyn Thomas who made a number of remarkable documentary features for the BBC, now available on YouTube, and first shown during the 1960s.
    Anthony Hopkins played Gwyn Jones in a TV film which is also available on YouTube.
    As for Gwyn Jones, he wrote a memorable novel about the General Strike in the Welsh coalfields. He was a distinguished and much loved academic.
    Jack Haggerty