New series explores diverse island communities

Eileanan Fraoich's Heather Dewar meets Dugald Ross in Staffin.
Eileanan Fraoich's Heather Dewar meets Dugald Ross in Staffin.

A series designed to tell the stories of an array of interesting and engaging characters across a host of Scotland’s most beautiful islands, the programmes will follow Islay-born artist and cook Heather as she visits Colonsay, Mull, North Uist and Eriskay and explores the communities of Staffin in Skye and South Lochs in Lewis.

In the first programme, Heather explores the beautiful district of Staffin in Skye, an area famed for its striking geology. She takes a trip down to the beach where dinosaur footprints have been discovered and visits the site of an old diatomite quarry.

Heather calls in on a local crofter who shows off his impressive collection of vintage tractors and meets the last farmer in Britain to swim his cattle to their winter grazing on Staffin Island.

She talks to the granddaughter of Norman “Parnell” Stewart, the Valtos crofter, who spearheaded a movement against the unfair restrictions placed upon the area’s crofters by the landlord.

And finally, Heather takes a boat trip out to sea – the best place to view the full length of the Trotternish Ridge – and admires Staffin’s dramatic coastline including Kilt Rock and Galta Mòr cave.

Heather’s journey across the islands offers her an insight into life in these different communities, both past and present.

While life on the edge continues to present many challenges to the islanders, her travels confirm what she already knew – that the benefits of island living more than outweigh the drawbacks.

Eileanan Fraoich airs on BBC ALBA from Thursday March 5th at 8.30pm.