Mallaig’s Book Festival at The West Highland Hotel, Mallaig 11th-13th November 2022
We are looking forward to another fabulous line-up of authors and musicians as well as great food and ambience over the weekend of 11th-13th November 2022. In 2019 we were thrilled to expand our events into both the local primary and High Schools and to work once again with Fort William’s superb independent Highland Bookshop. More exciting dedicated children’s events are planned for 2022, as well as our wonderful Hoolie School of Music Sessions – this year with Ross Ainslie and Tim Edey for senior music students at Mallaig High School. We firmly believe that helping forge a love of reading, and encouraging creative talents is one of the best things we can do for the younger generation. As before, all the main events will take place in the comfort of the West Highland Hotel from where on fine days – and yes there are plenty, a fabulous panorama unfolds on Rum, Eigg, Muck, and the jagged outline of the Cuillins of Skye. Our opening event this year is a real extravaganza – a unique blend of music and literature with three of Scotland’s greatest talents. Whatever our fickle climate brings us, we guarantee that our Hoolie will be a joyous weekend celebration of books, music, fine food, and great craic, for this is what sets us apart.
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The death of Lawrence MacEwen of the tiny Hebridean island of Muck leaves a void as gaping as a crevasse. Muck has been in the MacEwen family since 1896. For the past 40 years, Lawrence and his wife Jenny and their family have kept this fertile island with its thriving livestock farm and ethos of self-sufficiency, afloat. As a result, Muck is held aloft as an example of a functioning remote rural community – progressive and innovative. ‘I believe in evolution, not revolution,’ Lawrence stated. His unique brand of benevolent paternalism was proof of its success.
For the launch of my latest book, A Scurry of Squirrels, we decided to do an interview featuring one of the squirrel kits in my care. Who better to interview me than my good friend Mark Stephen of Radio Scotland’s popular Out of Doors programme – also a fellow fan of the red squirrel. However, with a squirrel you never know what might happen next!
Red deer love to wallow, so we decided to make a wallowing place for our red deer calf Cloudy in our field but we didn’t expect such a wonderful instant reaction. As we dug and the wallow got bigger, her sheer delight and antics gave us the best antidote to #lockdown angst imaginable! If anyone doubts that animals experience joy – then watch this, it’s guaranteed to cheer you up! Polly’s Antidote to Gloom!
It’s January, the season when a fox’s hormones fuel the urge to breed. At night I lie in bed and hear their eerie yattering as they wander on their nocturnal forays, their soundtrack accompanied by tawny owls – they too are preparing for breeding. The wood is also thick with the aroma of red deer. My son Freddy and I are following a lattice of worn tracks made as the deer trek up and down in the gloaming, to the richer pickings in the fields below. Now that the bracken has died away, and before the new growth, it’s perfect for exploration. Continue reading “The Child in Nature – an Endangered Species”