Àrainneachd, Cànan is Dualchas, a ten-day course on the relationship between Gaelic and the Environment, is underway in Staffin this week, writes Angus Murray. The course gives Gaelic speakers a unique opportunity to explore the outdoor environment and learn more about it from the perspective of the Gael, often directly from the people of Staffin. The first week has involved learning about ‘Cladach, Croit is Coille’ or Shoreline, Croft and Woodland. The second week will follow with ‘Croit, Coille, Monadh is Boglach’ or Croft, Woodland, Moor and Bog.

Having attended this course in 2013, I found it immensely rewarding to get the opportunity to learn and refresh my knowledge on all things connected to nature in Gaelic. I cannot recommend highly enough the mix of classroom based learning, delivered by Roddy MacLean, combined with getting out and putting learning into action and meeting knowledgeable locals. I left with a new confidence on these topics and was able to use the skills gained with learners of all types in my previous role in museum education. There are countless unique aspects of the outdoors in our surrounding area that many of us neglect and I took great pleasure learning more here in Staffin and visiting other parts of Skye.

Students on the 2016 course.

It has been fun to dip in and out of the course this week, where I got to hear from Sine Gillespie about the immense history connected to each croft in the area, drawing from the example of her own families croft at Glas Pheighinn. I also took great enjoyment from getting down to the shoreline at Flodigarry to learn about the Geology and fossils of Staffin. This was led by Dugald Ross who managed to pick out an excellent specimen on the day.

A full summary with photographs will follow after the course finishes. This course runs from the 24th of July until the 4th of August.

Angus Murray is the Skye Ecomuseum’s recently appointed Programme Manager.http://staffin-trust.co.uk/staffin-community-trust-appoint-new-ceumannan-ii-manager