Olive Magazine

Movers, bakers & shakers The Outer Hebrides

It’s not unknown for locals to re-purpose microwaves as letter boxes on North Uist, Kate MacDonald tells me. Midway up the Outer Hebrides – the 130-mile chain of islands off the north-west coast of Scotland that are strung together by single-track road and ferry – the low-lying Atlantic outcrop is hit as harshly by wind and rain as its neighbouring isles. If the microwaves offer letters secure shelter then the heather that thrives here offers similar protection for the island’s wildlife. At least, that has traditionally been one of its purposes. Now, the purple-flowered shrub serves another function.

Kate and her partner, Jonny Ingledew, recently set up the (). When they were researching botanicals for their first release, Downpour gin, the couple worked with a forager to create a botanical library specific to the island. Having spent months playing with finds such as pineapple

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