Donnie Munro unveils sight for Storr eyes

Niall is delighted with his dad’s creation

A new mural of the Old Man of Storr created by Runrig legend Donnie Munro has been unveiled in Portree this week.

The landscape of the iconic island attraction is situated in Bayfield Road directly opposite Birch Cafe.

The work was commissioned by Donnie’s son Niall who runs the coffee house.

Niall said he wanted to bring an artistic flourish to the area for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors to the village.

Speaking to the Free Press, Niall Munro said: “The idea came about because the wall across from the cafe was in a total state of disrepair and there was a nice area that I thought was well suited for having a mural on it.

“I mentioned it to my dad, but then didn’t really think much of it, but then I prompted him again and looked at it a bit more. He thought the landscape idea would be fitting.

“We were thinking of locations and the Storr is quite an obvious one. We actually had an image of that particular view and thought that it would work really well.

“It took a good few months to arrange because the wall belongs to Boots, so it took a bit of time to get the go ahead but we have got there.”

He added: “From an arts point of view it is great to do something like this because it engages local interest as well as being for visitors.

“It was very much just a way of brighting up the lane that we’re on and if a by-product of it is that it benefits the other businesses here then great.”

Like most business owners, Niall has experienced his fair share of obstacles due to the uncertainty brought by the pandemic. However, with Birch set to reopen at the end of April, he is excited about welcoming back customers with the cafe set to embark on a new venture.

He said: “We are reopening at the end of the month and starting our own coffee roastery. We’ll start it on a small scale to begin with – by supplying Birch and a few other establishments on the island, and then a couple of months down the line I’ll open it up to online sales.

“I have a passion for coffee and it is so much more exciting to be part of the whole process – from sourcing, importing, and now roasting, to then serving the final product.

“It creates a much better story, and it is also an ethical way of doing it as we have direct links with the farmers that we are getting the coffee from.”

Assessing the season ahead, he added: “It’s a mixed bag of feelings, it is difficult to have complete faith that this is the final lockdown – I think everybody needs to err on the side of caution and respect the rules that are in place.

“The added benefit of Skye is that it is rural so there is lots of space for people to socially distance. And, thankfully, with the exception of Home Farm there hasn’t been any major outbreaks – and I think that was because people were being safe and able to be outdoors.

“As long as people are following the rules then that’s the best we can do.”