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Signs Of Spring

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Still winter or stepping into spring?

Have the seasons turned? It’s often hard to tell.

Looking out of the window here in my quiet corner of Scalpay the land looks bereft of life. The heather is like dry, old tobacco and the battered grasses are far from green, let alone growing.

The passing ewes, many of whom will be ‘in lamb’, seem non-plussed about the arrival of meteorological spring. Their winter fleeces are bedraggled and most of us two-legged island natives aren’t faring much better.

It’s been a long winter, to say the least, and Gemma from our office reminds me that spring often means one last blast of snow to shiver the newly arrived lambs.

Wild swimmers wave goodbye to the last of the winter breakers.

But there are hints that we’re finally putting it all behind us.

Mairi from our storytelling team is an early morning, chilly-dipping. wild swimmer, and it’s the seas which speak to her about seasonal truth.

She tells me…

“There are fewer crashing waves and I see dunlins on Niseabost beach in the morning. The oystercatchers are back to being noisy in the machair as they'll be settling in for the nesting season. We see skeins of geese passing overhead and soon there will be muirburn smoke on the skyline.”

Spring brings brighter mornings for the early commuter.

And it's the mornings which help mark the change in season for both blender Harry and Eilidh from the international team as they hear a dawn chorus of bird song before they head to work from their respective homes.

The early commute from villages across our island is being done in daylight, as the distillery drivers enjoy the last of the empty roads ahead of another busy tourist season.

And, runners like Becca from the bottling hall make the best of the extra hours of daylight after work to put in a few more road miles of her own in preparation for her next marathon.

One of Kath's 'coos' looking forward to more fresh croft grass.

Kath from the commercial team reports that her Highland cows (Molly and Rubena) are taking a wee bit longer to come for their daily feed as they start to enjoy the first shoots of fresh grazing.

For the mums on the team, like tour guide leader Sandy and Leona, it’s the noise of children playing outside after school. And for the dads like Stevie and Billy, it’s the sound of the garden strimmer and the first swing of a golf club.

Production manager John says it’s the smell of crocuses for him, but colleague Stevie Brown reports perhaps the most important indication of all that the world continues to turn…the village pub reopens for the year!

Wherever you are in the world this weekend we hope you’re seeing your own signs of spring, and if the pubs are open remember to raise a glass of our island spirit to the good news…

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