Mull farmers on BBC2 series

Have you been watching BBC2’s This Farming Life featuring Janet and Alistair Taylor on Mull?

The couple, who rent a small farm near Bunessan, keep 140 sheep, 20 Highland cattle, ducks, a goose, and nine dogs. They started up the farm about five years ago.

The BAFTA-award winning TV series follows the struggles and triumphs of six different farming families in some of Scotland’s most beautiful and remote landscapes.

If you missed series two, it’s still showing on BBCiPlayer although early episodes are only available for the next few days.

Photo: the BBC

Community buy-out bid blocks Ulva sale

Could Ulva be repopulated?  That’s the hope of  North West Mull Community Woodland Company, which is leading a community buy-out bid for the island.

The sale of the island by owner Jamie Howard has been halted by Scottish ministers to allow bid, which would be part-financed by public funds from the national-lottery-backed Scottish Land Fund, which gives residents rights to buy local land, forests and buildings.

The community plan for the island would resurrect the island’s farm, build new homes and focus on eco-tourism – doubling residents to 10 in five years and to 20 in a decade.

Read The Guardian feature about the new bid, launched by North West Mull Community Woodland Company, which wants to

 

Whitetail Gin – new spirit of Mull

A new London dry gin, made with hand-harvested native Mull botanicals such as heather, sea kelp and pine needles, is now on sale from the Tiroran estate.

Whitetail- named after the island’s famous sea eagles – is being made with Thames Distillers in London and distilled using water freshly sourced from Tiroran’s private spring (said to have mythical healing powers) .

You can buy it online – at £38 a bottle plus £4 shipping – or from the Whitetail licensed shop, one mile from the Tiroran Forest eagle hide.

 

 

Torosay gardens open

Torosay Castle gardens are opening to the public on the first Sunday of the month, until October.

Admission is by free donation to local charities.

Dogs on leads are welcome.

2017 Mull Rally cancelled

Insurance difficulties have forced cancellation of this year’s Mull Rally, planned for October 13-15.

Organisers said  “insurmountable insurance issues” for the closed road event were to blame.

The rally – said to bring a £1 million business benefit to the island – attracted 150 crews last year and has run under a private Act of Parliament since 1990.

However, the private closed road legislation raises very significant insurance challenges and the huge excess payable on any claim under the policy are just unaffordable.

Event organisers are trying to put on an alternative motorsport event for the same weekend.

Community buy-out for Ulva?

Ulva sale update: a community buyout by the North West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC) has been proposed to the Scottish government.

According to Scottish newspaper The National, the application for the buy-out states that the overall aim is to manage the estate “to provide sustainable benefits for the community in the short to medium term and in the long term for future generations including the repopulation of the island”.

It adds: “This sale marks a crossroads in the history of Ulva and North West Mull and provides a golden opportunity to ensure the survival and bolster the development of a fragile and remote community, enabling a vibrant and sustainable future for generations to come.”

Ulva: up for sale at £4.25m

The beautiful Isle of Ulva, off Mull’s west coast, is up for sale.

Its name comes from the Norse word for Wolf Island – Ullfur – and the first settlement dates back to 5,600 BC.

Now, it’s on the market for the first time in 70 years – with a price tag of £4.25million.  Included are 4,583 acres, a Grade B listed house built in 1950 to replace a house destroyed in a fire, and  a Thomas Telford church. The estate includes  a restaurant and tea room that are let out, as well as eight other properties including small cottages and a sporting lodge.

Estate agents Frank Knight describe it as “one of the finest private islands in northern Europe” with  “unique heritage and conservation value with incredible wildlife, birdlife and sea life”.

Full story in the Daily Telegraph

Knight Frank brochure on Ulva

 

Road safety for Mull’s otters

Car light reflectors have been installed on Mull to protect the island’s otters.

The reflectors angle light from car headlights onto the verge and into the otters’ eyes – hopefully persuading them to wait to cross the road until it is safe.

The idea has been successfully used on Skye and is being trialled on Mull by the Mull Otter Group (MOG), which says around 25 otters are killed on the island’s roads in a year.

One reflector set was installed in February and the second set in December near Pennygowan between Salen and Fishnish.

More on the MOG website