Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I frequently extol the virtues and benefits of this lovely little island. I know for a fact that many of the readers off-island, especially those who live in urban areas, dream about coming here to live. They imagine it to be a crime- and hassle-free part of the world. And really, you know, it is.

You may be surprised to hear that here in Cornaigmore, Tiree, we hear gunfire all night long. Shotgun-fire, as a matter of fact.

Don't worry: it's not the 'boys in the hood' fighting off an encroachment on our turf by the Salum Sharks or anything like that.

It's a sonic geese 'scarer' which mimics the sound of a shotgun. When geese are ravaging crops the one thing they don't like to hear is a shotgun. It really puts them off their meal. So this device is set to off a random amount of shots every so often.

You'd think we'd be jumping out of bed in the middle of the night and running for our lives. Far from it. The first few times I heard it I thought I'd left the shed door open and that it was swinging in the wind. Then, after I convinced myself that it was actually a shotgun I was hearing, I wondered why anyone would be out shooting in the middle of the night.

Then our next door neighbour let us in on the secret.

We're so used to it we hardly hear it anymore. The sheep across the dyke seem completely unperturbed. But very importantly I haven't seen any geese about here for a while and that's a good thing.

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