Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Holy Isle Newsletter – January 2016

March 14, 2016

Exciting projects on the way

October 23, 2011

As the season is coming to an end, and many of the people here are preparing for the winter, exciting projects are on the way.

In one hand, the project of building a new jetty,as the current one is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, and the path work, planned to start after the end of season, to improving the path, in order to make the access to Holy Island easier and more reliable and the walk through the island more comfortable and enjoyable for guest and visitors alike.(For more information in these projects click here)

To this we add another project (as we say in my country, if you don’t want stew, have two bowls) and this is the building of a new polytunnel and the planting of more fruit trees in the new garden, at the north side of the Centre. The new garden, fenced and prepared last winter-spring  has given us the harvest of different varieties of pumkins and the main harvest of potatoes.

View of the new garden with Peter and Billie digging out potatoes               View of the new garden with Peter and Billie digging out potatoes


With this we want to increase the amount of food produced by the garden in order to get closer to our main goal: being self-sufficient in vegetables that so tastily are prepared for the kitchen team for the enjoyment of us, the people working here, and all the guest who visit us throughout the season.

At the moment we have started  the fund-raising process (we have raised so far £250 and we still need approximately another £1000), it seems the most difficult part, because, as all of you who know Holy Island, the energy and intention are here in abundance.



October 20, 2011

We have been a long time without posting anything new. More than a year and this is quite a long time and we want to apologize for that to all of you who visited the blog, often, randomly, regurarly, to know what was going on in the island.

We are still alive and with the same energy and enthusiasm as usual, supported by the lovely energy of this beautiful place.

A view of the Centre in one of the few, already gone, sunny days

We hope we’ll be posting new posts soon.

Please, check from times to times to see if we keep the promise!


July brings rain and the fruits of labour.

August 15, 2010

July saw some welcome rain to alleviate the dry spell. The west coast of Scotland was reported to be suffering rare drought conditions following a long dry winter. Here on the island, after what seemed like months of beautiful dry and sunny weather, but with chill northerly winds, the grass had turned yellow, the plants were wilting and the pond on the hillside had dried up completely and was being used by the ponies as a dust bath. Our water supply was struggling to cope with the many guests as well as the extra watering demand from the gardens.

There was a certain collective sigh when the rain arrived. The grass soon became lush and green again and the gardens got a second wind and bloomed into colour and fragrance. Soon we were enjoying home grown blackberries and strawberries from the orchard and peas, beans, and tomatoes out of the new poly-tunnel constructed during the Spring Volunteers Week back in March.

At the end of June and into July, the ponies started to give birth and we have ended up with a total of five foals this year. Two of them are part of the main group of fourteen ponies that are often to be seen grazing around the Centre. At first, they were quite comical, unsteady on their feet like they were wearing shoes too big, but they have since grown, weaned from their mothers and have become accepted as part of the group. Their baby coats are growing out and they spend a lot of time grooming and bonding with each other.

New Holy Isle foal 2010

New Holy Isle foal with mum 2010

Having a good roll in the dirt!

Ohhh that's good...!


Spring Volunteer Working Holiday

March 28, 2010

Home. That is what returning to Holy Isle feels like for many people, especially so during the Spring Volunteer Working Holiday.

As I’m sat here in the dining room, I am surrounded by Spring-like fervour, as the residents and volunteers scrub, plant, clean and launder their way into the new season, and with a quiet yet pervasive mindfulness, respect and tranquility which seems to seep its way into every soul that visits the island.

This year promises to be another busy year – several courses are fully booked, and the island will again be welcoming new and not-so-new visitors to its shores.

Today, the sun is shining after the wind and rain yesterday, which put a bit of a damper on the tree-planting and prevented the new poly tunnel from being erected – But spirits were not dampened by this; peoples’ flustered red faces laughing about the conditions of their first albeit wet day of work as they returned.

Everywhere you go today on the island, there are smiling faces to be found as people get stuck wholeheartedly into their chosen tasks – And there truly is something for everyone either as part of a practice or simply as a welcome break from their busy lives.

Yesterday evening, we participated in Earth Hour for the second year running; extinguishing our lights for 60 minutes as a sign of respect and solidarity for the earth; and to highlight our continued dependance on it’s natural resources, especially at a time as we strive on the island for it to become a model for self-sufficiency.

Earth Hour was a huge success both this and last year; proving that you don’t always need electricity for entertainment; but instead a comfortable settee, a hot drink and to be surrounded by friends and like minded individuals. This year’s Earth Hour took place in the freshly-reopened Boat House, with a joyeous mixed bag of poetry, jokes and a hearty sing along with music provided by the wonderful David and Alice.

The Peace Blanket for the Wisdom wing stairwell is nearing completion – It has taken almost two years to complete, with many intricate designs and patterns being woven by individuals in little squares which are now ready to be mindfully stiched together to create a beautiful piece of artwork; helping reflect not only the individuals’ creativity, but that they are part of a thriving community here on the island.

Posted by: Soen

Kevins Curtis Photo Gallery

Team Work




"If it wizny fir yer wheel barras where wid ye be!"

.....and time to relax

Big thank you to Kevin Curtis for his professional eye on these photos.

Posted by June in June!


The Shieling Dryer – our latest environmental innovation

September 28, 2009

Holy Dryer 1

The transition movement (see blog entry June 16, 2008) has inspired all of us to look into the manifold options of saving energy and reducing our carbon footprint. The kitchen volunteers are working on providing a diverse range of local and organic quality food whilst maximising these to capacity. This aim is supported by the gardeners who increase our self sustainability with more production and a greater variety of home grown vegetables.

Likewise the housekeepers identified the tumble dryer as one of the main “Black holes” of energy in the Centre, and we’ve been looking for green alternatives. The indoor options for gaining drying space weren’t promising. When Dolkar, the Southend-gardener told us about the “Shieling Dryer”, we immediately thought this could be the solution for us. It had been developed in Mull, specifically for the Scottish weather with its ever-changing mix of wind, rain and sunshine, thus making it almost impossible to use the outdoor drying space except for the occasional stable high pressure days.

This tent-like construction uses the wind tunnel effect to dry the laundry, even if it is pelting down with rain. Last May David and Moira Gracie, the inventors of this green alternative to tumble dryers, came to raise a bigger, “professional” version of the Shieling (5x4x2m with a total of 100m washing line) for the Holy Isle.

Holy Dryer 2

With this novelty on our premises, we have managed to reduce the use of our tumble dryer by 70 – 80 % which has saved money as well as given us a sense of contributing to a much healthier environment. This is especially true for the changeover periods between courses when we wash heaps of linen and towels. We can also now offer some drying space, especially for visitors who come back soaking wet after having been out in the rain.

Holy Dryer 3

In addition to this, over the course of the last few months, we’ve discovered a side effect that shouldn’t be neglected. This is that the Shieling Dryer is a perfect “home-trainer” in Mindfulness. If used the right way, it can easily take up to 7 loads of washing, and, as it is used by housekeepers, volunteers and visitors alike, the logistical challenges educate each one of us in using it in a co-operative and sensible way.

Holy Dryer 4



Easter Extravaganza

April 17, 2009



Easter Weekend played host to an international footie match.  Both teams were made up of a mix of Holy Isle volunteers and guests on Jason Chans Easter Retreat course.

blog-pic-sarah PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Player of the match was Sarah,  especially for her vast  generosity in letting in 8 goals.

The  “Throw the Welly” competition was watched by many day trippers to the island.   Pictured is Waisum Chan with her husband Jason to her right and Damien giving her much encouragement from the left.