By Sarah Mowat


2020 HAS been a year like no other.


In March, Covid-19 threw the whole country a lot of trouble and upset to our way of life. Little did we know that it would also bring with it a whole new way of communicating for everyone. I cannot be the only one wishing they had shares in Zoom.

From meetings, to virtual farm tours and even a virtual Highland Show, I think Zoom, Teams, Whats App, Facetime (the list goes on) has seen it all. The new virtual meetings have been a real life safer to many. So much has been able to happen online, which protects the health and safety but also for the sanity of everyone to allow us all to keep talking. As good as all the catch ups and quizzes have been, I think I can speak for everyone that they cannot wait until normality returns and we can all see each other in person again.

With this new world of virtual meetings, allowing for us all to sit in the comfort of our own home, it also has also brought with it its difficulties. For many of the rural community high speed internet is not such a luxury, bringing with it lots of challenges and I am sure a few choice words spoken to the computer screens too, with many not being able to log on never mind participate due to such poor connections.

With Christmas now behind us, I think we will all find ourselves reflecting on what a year this has been. I personally have been fortunate enough to have a job within the agriculture industry, like many others, which has allowed me carry on working. I also am incredibly grateful that I reside in the same Covid-19 tier as my parents and could head North to Orkney for Christmas. Although the number of us around our extended family table was reduced this year, I made the most of my time with those around me as much as I could.

This led to me embarking on a digital detox over the festive break. I recently read online that many can’t go for longer than two hours without checking their smart phone, which includes myself. The weekly notification of how many hours and minutes I waste on my iPhone alone gives me the fear.

If like me, you would like to digitally detox, here are just some ideas to help avoid your devices: turn off notifications; read more books; newspapers and remove the phone from the dinner table (my cooking isn’t worthy of Instagram anyway). Get the family photos out – why scroll through a celebrity’s life album when you can enjoy your own families bad fashion choices and photography. Board and card games – there is nothing more enjoyable that a family dispute over Monopoly.

I am not going to lie, ditching the smart phone will be a challenge for me, but this year has certainly made me appreciate those around me the most. 
As we reach the end of 2020 with a vaccine now offering a glimmer of light, even better the release of 2021 Highland Show tickets, maybe just maybe next year is looking hopeful! Getting the craic with all my friends round the ring of the Highland has a great appeal – bring it on!