A move to Skye

It was in 1992, after I separated from my wife, that I moved from the Isle of Mull to Flodigarry, Skye, where I was born, and where I had lived for some time in my younger days. I certainly had an attachment to the place and in some way it was a spiritual attachment. It was like a feeling of going home. I might have got this feeling for place from my mother who had a great love for and attachment to Flodigarry, where she was brought up.

I’ve already spoken of strange coincidences in my life and one instance of what seemed like a premonition. After I came to Skye things happened which could be classed as outside the run of normal cause and effect events. These events were to challenge my scepticism and belief in naturalism.

 

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The Twa Dugs in question

Do dogs have a sixth sense?

I had two dogs at the time, yellow Labradors. They were beautiful, friendly dogs as Labradors tend to be. It is said that dogs, and horses, have a heightened sense for things which are outside the run of the normal. When we lived in Edinburgh, they were sometimes put into a lean-to shed in the yard at the back of my in-laws’ house. They simply hated being put in that shed. They panicked and would gnaw at the wooden door, continually trying to get out. They weren’t like that with other buildings, just this shed.

When I moved to Skye, I built a new house on the croft. While the house was being built, I lived in a caravan beside the old croft house, while the dogs were kept in the old house and garden. One day, when the new house was near completion, I took them up to it, with the intention taking them inside. But would they come in! No, not a bit of it. Normally, they would follow me anywhere. But this time they made their stand outside the front door and wouldn’t budge. They were sensing something, but what it was I have no idea.

Ghostly footsteps and a caterwauling cat

But something even stranger happened a few years after moving into the new house. The dogs had died, but I still had a cat called Sguab (brush). The incident I am about to recall involved this cat. It was a beautiful summer’s day. I went to the shop for the papers and was sitting reading them in the living room when I heard footsteps as if on gravel outside. I assumed it was my neighbour, who sometimes came to visit. I went to the door but there was no-one there. A couple of hours later, I was in another room working at the computer. From where I was sitting I could see the cat. It was sitting outside the kitchen door and looking towards the open front door, which was a few metres away. Suddenly, it started caterwauling and its fur stood on end. It was as if it was seeing something at the door. I took it up and stroked it and it quietened down. I thought it might have been a dog and I went out and had a good look round, but there was nothing.

I associated the footsteps I had heard earlier with the cat’s behaviour. The fact that the cat was apparently ‘seeing’ something two hours after me hearing the footsteps was extremely strange. Yet it was also strangely comforting. It assured me that it wasn’t just in my mind. The cat had also ‘seen’ something.

The pursuit

Meantime, the state of my soul had not mended much. I was still a person filled with intellectual doubts about the nature of God and even whether He existed. I read books on philosophy, popular science, religion and cosmology, but they brought me no nearer to answering the question I had set myself in my teens.  What is the truth about life? The ‘hound of heaven’ was pursuing me, not I Him, although I didn’t realise it at the time. But the chase was going to heat up.

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