Highland Reserve Interviews: Michele Joshi (Chauffeur)
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 6th January 2016
Welcome back to another in our series of interviews conducted this summer, from among our many visitors. It is quite something to hear the different reasons why people come to visit their plot and Scotland, and this is a particularly touching story, from Michele Joshi, who is ‘chauffeur’ to her young ‘Lord’ and ‘Lady’ of Glencoe Wood. Thank you, Michele, for sharing your story with us. Here is our first question for you:
HT: What were you and your family’s particular reasons for visiting Glencoe Wood nature reserve?
Michele: In 2013 we scattered my late husband’s ashes into Loch Leven by Glencoe. A dear friend thought it a wonderful idea to buy a small plot of land near Glencoe to have somewhere to go, call their own and feel akin to their dad. With my friend, sister, cousin and myself we pulled together to buy a bigger plot instead so my kids each a 100sq ft of adjacent land to commemorate their dad.
We have visited every year since to check on our children’s plots and see how our trees are doing which we planted in honour of their father. We would have planted another tree but it was raining solidly during the days we were there this year so we will have to plant 2 trees next year. It seems to have become an annual pilgrimage for us.
HT: Please accept our heartfelt condolences for your loss. What a wonderful and unique way to honour and remember your husband. Have you managed to see other parts of Scotland on your visits? If so what were your highlights and favourite places?
Michele: Yes 3 times to Glencoe, once to Inverness and the surrounding areas, Fort William, Oban, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glencoe is our favourite by far because of the overwhelming beauty. Every blink and every turn is breath-taking.
HT: Whereabouts are you staying during this visit to the West of Scotland? And are you intending to travel further around Scotland, or beyond?
Michele: Once we stayed in a lovely cottage in Nairn, once in the Glencoe Inn and our last visit we stayed in a delightful self catering cottage the Cherry Tree Cottage which is part of the Clachaig Holiday Group. It had everything we needed and was exceptionally clean. The private garden is directly on the River Coe bank which was an added magical bonus.
We would like to visit some of the islands and explore other parts of Scotland too but not without passing through Glencoe Wood.
HT: Do you have any Scottish ancestors, or other connections to Scotland? If so can you tell us a little bit about them?
Michele: No Scottish ancestry. However my late husband’s best friend is Scottish who is also our children’s Godfather and my late husband loved Scotland and Scottish people so we feel the bond to Scotland.
HT: Did you see any interesting flora or fauna during your visit, and what would you say was your favourite thing about the nature reserve?
Michele: Just being on the land and taking in the beautiful surroundings and walking along the banks of Salachan Burn to get to our plot.
It is nice to see how our trees have grown from year to year and to feel a connection with our special place. So far we have planted a tiny holly bush, a Grey willow (a pussy willow) and a Rowan tree. There are currently several Silver Birch trees already on our plot. I think next time we may go for a bush or tree that the deer prefer not to eat.
HT: Is there anything you would love to see in the nature reserve in the future that isn’t there at present in terms of wildlife, or facilities, or something else?
Michele: No it has everything. We even have what seems to be our own loch, bridge, bench, bee hives and bird watching cabin right near our plot so we are quite content.
HT: thank you Michele for sharing your experiences with us. Finally, do you have anything you would like to add?
Michele: A clone of Stewart the ranger would be nice – bet they would sell well!! It is always a special treat to meet up with Stewart. He is so helpful and kind. The buggy tour is an added bonus especially for the kids. Thanks for the wifi and toilet by the office too!!
HT: Michele! How did you find out about our special underground ‘Stewart cloning’ factory? When we have our prototype we’re going to call it The Clone Ranger! In the meantime the original is still here to welcome anyone else who wishes to visit their land. Many thanks to Michele, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.