as n ..isisWhat is a Hebridean?

Well, us Hebrideans are a pretty distinct.  We are a  hardy and withstanding bunch.  Us and our generations family before us, have grown up on an island, often with not much by the way of material resources, as a result, we are generally problem solving, fix up and make doers.  Infact, if you come to the islands and ask a local how something in their garden or croft works, I bet you will be given an explanation of how it has been rudimentaly but ingeniously engineered. Or how they fixed up their own tractor, etc etc.


See in my LAST BLOG how Calum Steallag got his blacksmith Anvil as a case in point.. You do your friends and neighbours favours and they do them for.  That’s the way it works here among us local Hebrideans.  Most of us would do you a good turn and help you out of sticky situations.


The nice stuff..

A lot of us live her because we love it.  Lots of us move away for work or education, then choose to return to our island. BECAUSE we love it. The traditions, the culture, the people, the way of life… It’s different and special.  This pull to our home is known as ‘CIANALIS’ – longing for the place you are rooted to through 100s and 100s and 100s of years of your family living here.


Ok, let us get this out of the way and let us address some misconceptions..

Some people who visit our island do try to take advantage sadly – perceiving our community as full of underused resources for the taking, and mistaking our quiet and reserved manner as meakness.  This can be traced right back to the land clearances, as it happened then too..  This is a sad under estimation..  (And incase anyone is wandering, we normally know all about our ‘resources’ and have historically utilised them or not, probably for good reason.) 


At initial impression, you might mistakenly think this is a boring place to live.. (But remember many of us moved to cities for education or work, in the generation before, many sailed the world in the merchant navy, before that, many travelled to different places during the wars… But the common theme is many of us experienced other places, but still chose to come back to settle here in the Hebrides.


Here is a wee story to show the life of a local Hebridean is not boring at all, and illustrates the helping hand nature amongst locals here.  And also it will give you a wee bit of history of IsleBebytheSea – our private little Hebridean self catering retreat, and how it came to be.


These little stories seem pretty typical among Hebrideans.  A lot of ‘everyday’ tasks have an added twist here!  As this shows – things only really go smoothly when you chuck lots of material resources at them. And as indigenous islanders, we have had to improvise on this for 100s and 100s of years.

You can bet your bottom dollar most Hebrideans have their own collection of stories worthy of a listen..  Here is one of  mine..


The backstory to getting IsleBebytheSea..

I’d taken the plunge a go self employed in 2015.  Part of the self employed plan was to set up a little self catering retreat type of accommodation. So in 2017 we had our dream designed and had it built off site. We were really pleased to be finally able to take delivery of our new shepherd hut ‘ IsleBebytheSea’ after a long process confirming to planning department requirements.


Boy, was I glad to have been away coaching clients the day the lorry was scheduled to drop it off…


(I’m an online health coach too, see Hebridean Health Coach for more info.) 

Delivery woes were relayed to me by my husband via mobile phone messenger….  


We knew it was going the be a snug fit, but still possible, for the lorry to manoeuvre down to the new hut site, but we had just had the site access road improved, it had been resurfaced, compacted and let settle. This was to the tune of several thousand quid, but necessary to make sure our hut could be delivered safely. We thought that would be enough.. 

The lorry driver skilfully reversed the huge vehicle down the access road with no problem.  However, the hut had to be lifted into place, and it was realised that the lorry’s crane was not going to reach over to the site.

We had extended the access road to form a new turning point, which a digger had been parked on to compact for a month or so.  So the digger was moved, and the lorry began to reverse onto the turning point in order to drive up closer to the hut site.  Then. Disaster. The back wheels of the 10 ton lorry promptly sank into the turning point, it appeared to be too heavy for the new turning point with the shepherd hut load. 

There followed various attempt to dig out the wheels of the lorry, which was now up to it’s axels in the turning point.. No avail. It was then decided to lighten the lorry load to see if that would help free it. However, the lorry crane was still too far from the site to lift the hut into place. It could hoist one side of it into place though.. And there were several Hardly Hebridean Men on hand to lift the other end of the hut into place.  This group included my officer worker husband, my near 70 yr old dad, another fellow with an injured back, and a helpful neighbour.  This strong squad of 4 were able to guide the free side of the 5 ton hut onto it’s site. After a fashion. Back to the lorry, which although lighter, was still stuck. Even the digger which was on site tried but failed to tow it out..


But this is the Hebrides. You’re never more than a favour from friend of a friend from a solution.  Another lorry belonging to the same company had been working nearby, luckily. This other lorry’s driver had spotted his usual vehicle passing his house, wondered what was going on (and who had taken his lorry) so tailed it to our site.  And of course, our fellow Hebridean helped us out..

The new lorry was hitched up to the stuck lorry, and after some failed attempts and, several skids and few blood pressure spikes, the stuck lorry was pulled free 🙂

Job done, not straight forward, but that would be too boring anyway.


(Incidentaly, IsleBebytheSea got it’s name as the my first dive into self employment ‘ post leaving the NHS was called IsleBe coaching. This was face to face, and I loved it, but I couldn’t carry it on through lockdown, so I started looking at options for coaching online instead.  I still offer online health resources and coaching via


If you are inspired to sample the Hebridean culture in out islands for yourself, do come and stay on our gorgeous little shepherd hut for 2 ‘IsleBebytheSea’.

Ramp up the luxury and book our hot tub – and watch the world go by as you soak in bliss. And as for the building of the the decking the hot tub sits on.. Well that’s another story for another time..


Check availability and Book your stay HERE

Find out more about our accommodation at

Our accommodation is centrally located on the landmass that is Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris

Enjoy! And hope to see you soon!


Ann @ IsleBebytheSea x


My other blogs about island life HERE

More info about, photos and to book our self catering hut HERE

Or For my HEALTH related content and motivation, visit