Readers of Am Pàipear will be delighted to hear that long-serving and greatly loved columnist Ena MacDonald has published a book based on her contributions to this paper over two decades.

A mix of humorous stories and pithy comment, the book not only charts Ena’s crofting and family life, but takes in the wider context of a changing world; where else would politics, wars and coronations sit in the same column as cattle, crops and cooking? Only Ena MacDonald, in her wise, kind and very human way could pull off such a blend.

The book begins in February 2006 and runs through 300 entertaining pages to the present day, and includes a great array of photographs – something that the Am Pàipear column never provided.

Ena MacDonald really needs no introduction, but readers who are not familiar with her credentials may be interested to know that she was born in 1940 in Ardbhan, Kyles, North Uist and has spent almost her entire life in crofting. 

As a young woman, she left home and spent ten years working first in Glasgow and then in Australia. She returned in 1966 to help her father on the land, and crofting quickly became her passion. 

She recalls creating a stir driving her father’s little red tractor with her blonde hair in a ponytail and often with her young son, Angus, at her side. 

After her father’s death, Ena took over the croft, played a full and active role in all crofting affairs and travelled widely as a representative of The Crofting Federation. She wrote occasional articles for the Scottish Farmer and Highland Cattle Society before starting her regular monthly articles for Am Pàipear.

In 2006 Ena was awarded the MBE for services to crofting and to the community in North Uist. 

For Ena herself, the book has been long in the making:

“Over the years, so many people have asked me ‘Why don’t you put those stories in a book?’ In the late 70s, I wrote to the Highland Cattle Society and had articles published in their newsletters and journals, as well as various other magazines. In 2003, I became chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation and decided that Am Pàipear would definitely be most suitable for me to write about crofting matters. As crofting was my passion, the local crofters enjoyed reading the political and practical news. I had many treasured memories that were still so important to me and my stories were very varied. I enjoyed writing over the years and I do hope that you will enjoy reading this collection of my articles.”

Born to Croft is published by Linen Press and will be enjoying an an official ‘launch do’ at Hosta Hall on Saturday 1st June alongside this year’s Tractor Rally. 

The book will be available to buy and Ena will be signing copies and reading excerpts at 11am and at 2pm.