Country Life Today: The good, the bad and the beautiful of what life is really like on a Scottish island

This morning's round-up takes a look at a brilliantly unsentimental look at the islands of Scotland, finds out more about the canine star of Wimbledon's men's final and discovers how a magnificent Yorkshire country house got a new lease of life.

Life on the Scottish islands: ‘If you can’t keep up with the rats, you’ve come to the wrong place’

The Scotsman has a beautifully-produced long-read feature on what life is really like on the beautiful islands of Scotland. For years they’ve struggled with dwindling populations, but as modern life makes us increasingly mobile, that could all be changing.

Just don’t expect it to be easy, as pointed out at the very start of the article:

‘Kevin Byrne, who has lived and worked on the ten-mile-long, two-mile-wide Isle of Colonsay for the last 40 years, says he could always spot a newcomer in his days running the island hotel and bar.

‘“If they came in and answered the question ‘what brings you here’ with ‘I’ve come to get away from the rat race’ it was the kiss of death.

‘“The locals always used to say ‘if you can’t keep up with the rats you’ve come to the wrong place.’

‘“This isn’t a place where you can come and hope to do nothing and live off a few rabbits.”’

Novak Dog-ovic? Roger Fido-erer? We need a name for the who relieved himself on Centre Court ahead of the Wimbledon men’s singles final

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The excitement of being on Centre Court ahead of the Wimbledon men’s singles final on Sunday seems to have got the better of a police sniffer dog carrying out a check. No doubt the black labrador’s handler had a supply of plastic evidence bags on him to help clear up the mess…

Full story (The Times)

‘The pig is not a meat machine but a friend of nature’

The Guardian this weekend ran a fascinating interview with a Portuguese scientist-slash-farmer farmer who is resurrecting an old, and very holistic, approach to farming: bringing animals and agriculture back together.  Alfredo Cunhal’s plan is ‘to create an oasis-style abundance on land where there is often no rain for nine months of the year and where temperatures can reach 49C’.’

‘Animals are the key. They are important for the whole ecosystem, as well as part of the food chain. They must be balanced with the tree system. Pigs provide digestion, and are good for the soil, they disturb the ground and fertilise the land. The natural fertility cycles work better with them. The pig is not a meat machine but a friend of nature.’

Full story (The Guardian)

How this stately home in Yorkshire went from wreck to perfection

The Daily Telegraph talks to TV presenter Sarah Beeny about how she and her husband saved Rise Hall, in Yorkshire. It was a massive gamble, she says, but ‘you only live once, and what are you going to do on your deathbed if you’ve been careful and cautious?’

When the couple bought it, Rise Hall was a crumbling wreck; now it’s in superb shape, and two new owners.

Full Story (Daily Telegraph)

Stat of the Day


The amount, in US dollars, that will be donated to Extinction Rebellion from a group of the world’s richest billionaires. The first, more modest, payment of $500,000 is already en-route, but ‘100 times that amount’ is promised ‘in the weeks and months ahead’ by Trevor Neilson, an investor and philanthropist who counts the Kennedys, the Gettys, Bill Gates and Richard Branson among the people he has on speed dial.

Full story (The Guardian)

And finally… Quote of the Day

‘Come on Jos Butler – I will buy you wine for life if you win it for us from here.’

Former England captain Michael Vaughan makes a rash promise on Twitter just when all looked lost during Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final. The rest is history…