Apologies in advance for the short post, but with our trip to the Western Isles less than 24 hours away, I have about as long of an attention span as my beagle does back home. But nonetheless, there is still plenty to write about.
On Monday, we discussed rewilding, a form of conservation that focuses on re-establishing native species of plant and animal to maintain ecosystems and reduce biodiversity loss.
This discussion led to the issue of land ownership in Scotland, where a very small minority of people (or entities) own large swathes of forest and other wilderness, leaving very little for the public to maintain or enjoy.
In the afternoon, Dr. Iain MacKinnon a researcher at Coventry University, spoke about his family’s history and personal experience with crofting* (he’s a terrific storyteller), as well as the current situation crofting communities face and what is being done well (and not so well).
Tuesday, we focused on fermentation, and went into the kitchen to have a hand (quite literally in some cases) in it. I am now the proud parent of a jar of grated carrot and celeriac bubbling and fermenting away in my kitchen.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, our big trip to the Western Isles is this weekend! We leave tomorrow morning for the Isle of Lewis, making few stops along the way. Then Sunday and Monday will be spent in and around Ness, on crofts and other local cultural sites, before heading back on Tuesday. I also have a feeling we will be trying some local delicacies… I will report back on that and the rest of our Scottish island adventure next week!
*For those who don’t know what a croft is, it is a small plot rented land used for subsistence farming in Scotland. Most crofters don’t make a living doing this, so many have other jobs or own businesses to make this way of life possible.