366 : Eilidh Smith

by handivoices


Sunday 11 October – Sunday 18 October 2020

Hello I’m Eilidh Smith – taking on the mantel of Highlands and Islands Voices for the next seven days. 

Usually living in Strathpeffer, we’re at the moment in Achmore, Isle of Lewis – staying at our nephew’s wonderful cosy Bothy Pod. We’d been anticipating we might have to press pause again (this was originally our Easter Holiday plan), so it feels like a gift to have been able to come, even with the last minute packing.

When we’re not on a wee holiday, life is a mix of things. Until recently I worked with Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, taught yoga and pinged through and back to Gairloch on a fairly frequent basis. Now I mainly teach yoga (on Zoom these days) and am currently working with Gairloch Museum, supporting their communications and events activity. In the past, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Sandstone Press, The Touring Art Network and RSPB Scotland. Before I managed the jump back up the A9, I cut my teeth with DC Thomson in Dundee and even had a stint in Glasgow working with Glasgow Caledonian University.  My roles have always had a theme of communications, education, outreach and community in them. With hindsight it looks like a plan but in truth, never was. 

I have a wee girl, Molly, aged eight, who like her mum and dad loves the water (from her dad – being on it in a boat, from me – being in it). We also have a dog, Pip, who is now one-and-a-half. She has been a puppy for a VERY long time. Kenny has always worked with boats – all over the world, even taking us with him sometimes. These days he’s as close to home as he’s ever been, in Kyle. 

As Gairloch Museum gears up for the BBC #MuseumPassion campaign, I was due to be through west for most of the coming week. Plans to stay with my folks in Badachro (where I was born and brought up) have had to change – but thankfully into the breach stepped my good friend with the offer of their wee self-contained flat in North Erradale. I keep finding COVID does this to us, throws our plans into chaos, reminding us that while we think we have “control” it really is an illusion. Living and working in the Highlands and Islands though, we have a canny ability to adapt, to change our plans and make the most of whatever is thrown at us. Maybe that comes from years of coping with ever-changing weather, knowing we need to change tack and adjust to fit the fronts as they move through. Maybe it’s that our communities are close and small enough that we know someone who can help, or someone who knows someone who can help… 

What will I be tweeting about this week? All of the above, in shorter form. Thanks for having me.