Seasons on Harris by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									Seasons on Harris
Author: David Yeadon

The Outer Hebrides of Scotland epitomize the evocative beauty and remoteness of island life. The most
dramatic of all the Hebrides is Harris, a tiny island formed from the oldest rocks on earth, a breathtaking
landscape of soaring mountains, wild lunarlike moors, and vast Caribbean-hued beaches. This is where
local crofters weave the legendary Harris Tweed — a hardy cloth reflecting the strength, durability, and
integrity of the life there.In Seasons on Harris, David Yeadon, "one of our best travel writers" (The
Bloomsbury Review), captures, through elegant words and line drawings, life on Harris — the people, their
folkways and humor, and their centuries-old Norse and Celtic traditions of crofting and fishing. Here
Gaelic is still spoken in its purest form, music and poetry ceilidh evenings flourish in the local pubs, and
Sabbath Sundays are observed with Calvinistic strictness. Yeadon's book makes us care deeply about
these proud islanders, their folklore, their history, their challenges, and the imperiled future of their
traditional island life and beloved tweed.

First we had to find an island home. A good place to live."I'm still not exactly sure what it was about
Clisham Cottage in the village of Ardhasaig on the west coast of Harris, four miles or so north of Tarbert,
that made us impulsively pick up the phone in New York and call the MacAskill family, owners of the
place.In front of us on my studio table we had this colorful brochure of self-catering cottages on the
island, each with a photograph and listing of key features. The initial entry for Clisham Cottage read: "A
superbly appointed cottage in a beautiful coastal position overshadowed by dramatic
mountains."Appealing, of course, but so were the other fifty or so offering such enticements as "Short
drive from the cleanest beaches in Europe; a truly secluded traditional Hebridean retreat; thatched black
house style cottage in breathtaking scenery; a delightful water's edge escape . . ."We couldn't even
remember the village of Ardhasaig from our first visit. Of course, "village" is more of a legal than aesthetic
term here. On the islands they tend to be rather straggly, croft-by-croft affairs with none of the cozy
cohesion of English equivalents.Anyway, we called, lured by some indefinable enticement ghosting
behind the brief lines in the brochure."Hello, good afternoon. This is Dondy MacAskill speakin'. How may I
help ye, please?"Lovely female voice. Mellow, young, musical, and with an enticing Scottish lilt that
possessed the mellifluousness of a Robbie Burns poem coupled with the freshness of ocean breezes.
Well—that's perhaps overdoing it a bit. But it was certainly a very friendly voice."Hello—did you say
  Dondy'?" I kind of mumbled. "I don't think I've heard that name before . . ."There was a warm chuckle at
the other end. "Well, now—it's really Donalda . . . but everyone calls me Dondy. So, how can I help
ye?""Ah—Donalda . . . that's a new one for me too."Anne was sitting beside me, giving me one of those
"so what's happening?" looks. She's much better focusing on the nub of things. I tend to get distracted by
details. Left to my own devices, I'd possibly be prattling on for ages about the weather, or the latest world
political scandals, or anything other than the original reason for the call."Yes?""Er . . . oh, I'm sorry.
Listen, I was just calling about that cottage of yours—Clisham—and I wondered . . ."With Anne
prompting me by scribbling questions on the notepad by the phone, I finally managed to get a pretty
comprehensive overview of what was on offer, cost, availability, and all those other vital details required for
intelligent decision making.Except I'd already made my decision. As soon as I heard Dondy's voice and
name. Of course that's not quite the way I put it to Anne when I finally replaced the receiver. "Well," I
began in a tone that I hoped suggested careful research and a rational approach to house selection, "I
think generally it seems fine. There are three bedrooms . . ."Anne watched me with that curiously
bemused smile of hers that tells me she's way ahead of me and my ramblings."You like her, don't
you?""Who?""This . . . person . . . on the other end of the phone.""Donalda—well actually her name's
Dondy—apparently that's what they call her. And . . . yes, well, she sounds nice . . . but that's not the
point. She says the views there are fantastic—way across a loch and the Harris mountains . . . and . .
.""And you've already decided you want...
Author Bio
David Yeadon
David Yeadon is the author of Seasons in Basilicata and the bestselling National Geographic Guide to the
World's Secret Places. He has written, illustrated, and designed more than twenty books about traveling
around the world. He lives with his wife, Anne, in Mohegan Lake, New York.

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