Notes from na Ceannmhor and other news

Na Ceannmhor – 9.3.2020

Na Ceannmhor is the name of this particular place where I came to settle nearly a year ago. It is a Gàidhlig name meaning the Big Head and refers to the headland on which I now live. Gàidhlig is the indigenous language of the Western Isles for over a thousand years although is increasingly being replaced by English.

This small piece of land or croft, and the house I am renovating, were passed on to me by my father. It has always been ‘home’ for me. Both my grandmothers were born and grew up on these islands and most of my extended family, or those whom had not been scattered to the winds of the Gàidhlig diaspora, lived here when I was a child.

Since qualifying as an art therapist in 1997 I have dreamed of building an arts therapies retreat of some kind here. This has had many permutations in my mind over the years. Towards the end of 2018 my daughter Sinead, an actress searching for interesting openings on the Creative Scotland website, came across an innovative job vacancy for an art therapist to work at Taigh Chearsabhagh, the Arts and Heritage Centre of North Uist which I have known well since its inception.

I seized the chance to finally ‘come home’ and was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to begin not only my dream of setting up an arts therapies retreat, but also an art therapy service, for the current community of North and South Uist, Benbecula. This description includes the smaller islands of Berneray, Eriskay and Grimsay among others. I landed on the 8th April 2019 where this particular journey begins.

These notes are a way to stay connected to my valued and experienced art therapy colleagues in and through EDATASS and hopefully make bridges between the two very different worlds I grew up and exist within. Catriona MacInnes

‘Uibhist a Tuath agus Beinn na Faoghla from the air.’ – 16 March 2020

Water is everywhere. Flying in on the small propeller plane this glorious beauty is revealed even more fully. Catriona MacInnes