Claire Nicolson

Where are you from?
I’m originally a Morningside Girl (Edinburgh) but have lived on Skye for twenty years…not quite a local yet!

What is your role at Eilean Iarmain?
I’ve just taken on the role of Business Manager having been Office Manager for five years.

How did your relationship with Gaelic begin?
Like many, I discovered Gaelic through the music of Runrig, back in the nineties. I started night classes and worked my way through them until I reached the advanced level and could either stay at that, or make the leap to fluency: I enrolled at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and spent three very enjoyable years there as a student.

Gaelic has since brought numerous experiences and opportunities: three bi-lingual sons, two summers in Nova Scotia, Canada, work within an EU-funded Gaeilge-Gàidhlig project promoting the Arts, Cultural Tourism and Media of Ireland and Scotland, and of course, my place here at Eilean Iarmain!

What’s the best part of your job?
The variety! No two days are ever the same and the challenges are diverse to say the least. As a team we have a lot of fun too though.

How do you spend your days off?
We have a croft with cattle and sheep. I also have a flock of hens and a couple of working dogs. There’s no such thing as a day off but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Occasional forays to the mainland for football trips or livestock sales provide a welcome change.

Best view on Skye?
Sealladh bhon chroit. A view from the croft: we’ve woodland on the croft with a burn running through it. There’s a series of small waterfalls and standing at the top of them in the autumn looking down through the trees with the water racing down to the shore is my favourite spot in the world. Skye has so many of these special spots.

Favourite season?
Am Foghar. Autumn. In so many ways it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and the rewards of that work combined with the beautiful colours that set you up for the winter.

Favourite Gaelic word?
Cuan. Sea. I have strong connections with the Gaelic speaking communities of Nova Scotia, Canada and I love how we use the phrase An Cuan Mòr – The Big Sea – to lessen the vastness of the Atlantic between us.