Western Isles Tour 3/5

Day Three of the Scottish Friendly/Scottish Book Trust tour saw us well fed and rested after a lovely dinner last night, at which we met Kathleen Milne, head of library services for the Western Isles. We chatted about all sorts of things and it was interesting to hear about the role of mobile library services on the Isles; as important if not more so than the branches – the mobile library vans provide a vital source of culture for the islanders, offering an almost tailor-made service for the borrowers.

This morning, we said goodbye to Stornoway and made our first stop: Sgoil nan Loch in Leurbost. This proved to be an excellent primary school; I did an event with 45 children. They were absolutely delightful to spend time with, they had wonderful questions and five of them helped me out in a small theatrical performance at the end of the session. The four of us in Team Sedgwick/Scottish Book Trust are starting to get our heads around Gaelic spellings; and today threw us an excellent example: Ciorstaidh. Looks fiendish, turns out it’s just the Gaelic way of spelling Kirsty. More linguistic challenges lie ahead though, I’m sure.

Over a pub lunch Team Sedgwick took on Team Scottish Book Trust at pool – I won’t mention the result from modesty (ha, ha) but suffice to say that Beth and Michael clearly did not misspend their youth. The landlord offered to sell us his pub, we declined, not having over £300,000 in cash on us.

This afternoon, we visited a brand new school; the Sir E Scott School of West Tarbert. Here I spoke to around 60 pupils from S1, S2 and S3, and once again they proved to be a great bunch of young people.  I chatted about various things from how much an author typically earns to some of the more obscure points of writing a book to why you can’t just copy someone else’s book and put your name on it. I had a great time with the young people there and was sad again to be leaving so soon.

Now we’re on North Uist; tomorrow beckons with two more primary schools, and no doubt a few more  names that will twist the nib of my pen right off…

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