The tale of the Gigha Furbochs – part one

Mr Furboch spotted a wise little man walking his black Labrador dog in the morning sun.
Mr Furboch spotted a wise little man walking his black Labrador dog in the morning sun.

Want to read more?

We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Already a subscriber?

 

Problems logging in and require
technical support? Click here
Subscribe Now

The Courier revealed last week how a family of friendly ‘Furbochs’ is encouraging people to explore and appreciate the wonders of nature on Gigha as part of an island wellbeing initiative.

The furry creatures are helping the organisers of the Our Gigha and Me (OGAM) project by travelling round the island in their own little shepherd’s hut, full of fun and nature-based activities for all ages to enjoy.

The Furbochs are travelling around Gigha in a shepherd's hut filled with fun activities. 
The Furbochs are travelling around Gigha in a shepherd’s hut filled with fun activities.

The Furbochs also feature in a storybook, written by Maggie Wilkieson and illustrated by Kris Miners, which the OGAM project organisers have kindly allowed the Courier to share.

‘We are researching whether community-led nature interventions, including the Furboch house and its activities, as well as The Gigha Furboch storybook and an outdoor shelter for young people, can help to improve the wellbeing of children and families,’ said an OGAM spokesperson.

‘The project was designed to help make getting outdoors a bit different, fun and a little quirky, whilst making the most of what our beautiful island has to offer us.’

The Gigha Furboch – part one

The first Furboch came to the Island of Gigha years ago, easily swimming the short distance between Rhunahaorine Point and the Fank, on the east side of Gigha.

Furbochs were traditionally huge beasts, known as giants, but in more recent times they have become much smaller and our adults are now only around four feet tall.

With thick furry grey coats, piercing blue eyes and an endearing friendly personality, Furbochs are rare but beautiful creatures.

Mr Furboch first travelled to the Island of Gigha years ago.
Mr Furboch first travelled to the Island of Gigha years ago.

Our Furboch always loved Gigha. From the moment he arrived, he loved the beauty of the landscapes, the wildlife, both on land and sea, the smells and the tastes, the colours and the changing seasons, the company of people and the quietness… and most of all, he loved the soft squidgy feeling he had in his tummy, which made him feel good.

So the Furboch, traditionally always on the move and never settling in any one place, had found somewhere quite special.

One morning, the Furboch was sitting on a rock, looking out to the sea. He felt a little worried and he had found that, whilst sitting on a rock on the shore, he could sometimes think a little bit clearer.

He wasn’t quite sure what was wrong, but he just felt that something was not quite right. It was a very different feeling in his tummy, not warm and comforting; it felt fluttery, jumpy… and just a little bit icky as it churned round and round.

He didn’t like this feeling very much at all.

Further along the shore was a wise little man. He was walking his black Labrador dog, Fred, and was enjoying the morning sun.

Mr Furboch spotted a wise little man walking his black Labrador dog in the morning sun.
Mr Furboch spotted a wise little man walking his black Labrador dog in the morning sun.

Despite the sunshine, the wise little man wore a woolly toorie and a polo-neck jumper.

He walked by the Furboch and said: ‘Good morning, Mr Furboch.’

‘Good morning.’ said the Furboch, and their eyes met.

They paused for a moment, and the wise little man crossed his arms to balance comfortably on his small but protruding tummy.

‘How are you, Mr Furboch?’ he asked.

Again, the blues eyes looked at each other.

‘I’m not sure…’ said the Furboch, ‘I think I might have something on my mind…’

‘Would you like to talk about it?’ asked the wise little man, settling down on the rock beside the Furboch.

The wise little man and Mr Furboch sat on a rock together and had a chat.
The wise little man and Mr Furboch sat on a rock together and had a chat.

And before the Furboch knew what was happening, out tumbled all the things that he was thinking about; how he loved the beauty of the landscapes, the wildlife, both on land and sea, the smells and the tastes, the colours and the changing seasons, the company of people and the quietness… and most of all, he loved the soft squidgy feeling he had in his tummy, which made him feel good.

‘But,’ he concluded, ‘I’m a Furboch, I travel, I never stay in one place, and… I’m different from you, I’m different from all of you.’

Furry Furbochs, created by local talent Jane Millar, with copies of The Gigha Furboch storybook.
Furry Furbochs, created by local talent Jane Millar, with copies of The Gigha Furboch storybook.

Concludes in next week’s Courier.

Anyone is welcome to visit the Gigha Furbochs – there is a map outside the village shop which offers a clue on where to look for them.

The OGAM project is funded by the Wellcome Trust, through the British Science Association’s Ideas Fund, which enables communities to develop and try out ideas that address problems related to poor mental health.

This allows researchers and communities to work together to explore ways of improving mental wellbeing.