Tom, Flora and their two children live in Laggan, just a kilometer away of Lochbuie and the farm.
Before moving to the Isle of Mull, Tom and Flora managed a company offering classic Volkswagen camper vans from the 60s and 70s for hire. “Happy Highlands Campers” was based in Inverness. Flora managed the 4 vans and Tom carried out the repairs. The couple are true fans of the roadtrip concept and are delighted to tour our van, “Patrick”. They settled in Lochbuie five years ago. Tom helped his father manage the farm.
He also told us about his former adventures, as a farmer in the Australian desert, as an engineer working in Antarctica for 18 months, as a wind turbine repair technician… Flora wears many different hats. She manages the rental annex and the two holiday cottages, she helps manage the abattoir on the island, she drives the local children to and from school, and she has opened an “honesty shop” in the former post office in Lochbuie.
For this project, she brought together local craftsmen and the shop sells a wide variety of items. We came across hikers who were truly delighted to find this unexpected treasure trove.
At Laggan, cows and sheep are free to wander, along with 6 adorable dogs, a cat with 9 lives (the other 2 cats were eaten by the 6 dogs), a young female goat that thinks she’s a dog, a billy goat that acts like a wise old man, greedy chickens and an aggressive cockerel, unfriendly geese, discreet ducks and wild rabbits and moles that strive to wreak as much havoc to the land as possible.
Tom and Flora also have 9-year-old twins, Grace and Harry. Grace rides ponies, with two ponies to be added to the menagerie listed above, and Harry plays rugby.
We go with the family to the “Rugby Sevens”, a tournament held on the Isle of Mull every year. About twenty men’s and women’s teams from all over the United Kingdom gather for the event, and this year, an Irish team was invited as well. With both pitches ideally located next to each other and overlooking the sea, there are worse ways to pass the time!
The atmosphere is incredible, fuelled by good food and beer. The crowd cheers to encourage the players, and yells to “help” the referees. After such a fine day out with the family, we would be happy for Tom and Flora to adopt us too so we can stay and live in this little corner of paradise in Scotland.
But farewell calves, cows and sheep: four days passed in a flash, and it was soon time for us to leave. We thanked Tom and Flora from the bottom of our hearts for hosting us, and we took the road northwards to Tobermory.
[On the road, at the 56°21’21.6″N and 5°52’24.4″W]