There could only be one subject for this month’s blog. We’ve all had our lives turned upside down in the last few weeks and have had to rapidly adjust to the new normal. We’ve had so many concerned emails from our lovely customers, wanting to know how we’re coping on Skye. So we thought we’d share a glimpse of life here as we enter our fourth week of lockdown.
We’re feeling incredibly lucky to be self-isolating in such a glorious landscape with plenty of space around us. We’re all social distancing of course, and limiting ourselves to short local walks and bike rides for our exercise ration. No one is complacent though – our health services here do an amazing job but are stretched at the best of times. And the impact on Skye’s tourist-reliant economy is going to be huge.
Still, resilience and resourcefulness is something we have in abundance in the island. Our local community has sprung into action to reach out to those in need. As soon as the crisis hit, local volunteers set up Skye Community Response to ensure that vulnerable people could get food and prescriptions – and they’ve been overwhelmed with offers of help. We’re looking forward to putting our sewing skills to good use through Skye Scrubs, joining other volunteers in making scrubs for Portree hospital and using patterns from the wonderful For the Love of Scrubs.
Businesses have rallied round in imaginative ways, too – from Isle of Skye Distillers making hand sanitiser to restaurants baking bread. A repurposed Local Food Links van is helping keep local producers in business while the rest of us get to enjoy locally sourced food at a safe distance. While all non-essential retail outlets have closed, our local shop and post office has been holding the fort and working round the clock to keep us supplied with all our essentials.
As elsewhere around the world, digital technology is proving a lifeline on both a personal and a business level. While we all get used to Zooming and Skyping neighbours, family and friends, new online initiatives are springing up. One of our favourites is #COVIDCeilidh, initiated by fiddle player Duncan Chisholm, where traditional musicians have been sharing tunes on social media to keep us all uplifted.
Another fantastic initiative is Isle20, a not-for-profit website listing businesses across the Scottish islands who are selling online. Started only a month ago, it now features hundreds of suppliers selling everything from gin to jewellery to online Gaelic classes. At a time when we’ve all had to close our face-to-face retail, this virtual shop window is a real boon.
We’ve also been taking the opportunity to spend more time working in the garden, cooking, baking and watching the little lambs appear in the glen. You can’t stop spring even during a pandemic, and it’s been uplifting to see the primroses peep through under the hedgerows and hear the birds going berserk in the bushes.
While this crisis has forced us all to stay local for the time being, it’s also highlighted how connected we are globally. And though we can’t meet people face to face at the moment we’ve been really touched by the many messages we’ve had from around the world. Our hearts go out to all those who are really suffering at this difficult time. Wherever you are reading this, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well, and we look forward to a time when we can welcome you in person once more.