Where Hares Abound Bunnies Are Banned!

Photograph of a Brown Hare
One of Tiree’s Brown Hares

Tiree Machair, the largest area of Machair outside the Outer Hebrides, is noteworthy as one of the few examples of rabbit-free machair in Scotland. Machair is one of the rarest habitats in Europe, found only in the north and west of Britain and Ireland. Almost half of the Scottish machair occurs in the Outer Hebrides, with the best and most extensive in the Uists and Barra, and in the Inner Hebrides on Tiree. The term is from the Gaelic for low-lying arable or grazing land formed near the coast by the deposition of sand and shell fragments by the wind.

On Tiree hares abound but rabbits are banned – you could just imagine the damage that they could do by burrowing into the Machair. Ssh! Although there are no wild rabbits, I have heard that there are one or two pet ones.

Rabbits are renowned for their ability to reproduce. They certainly seem to be able to reproduce even in the depth of winter for no sooner is Christmas over and they begin to appear in the supermarkets, spreading rapidly to convenience stores and corner shops. Although rabbits are banned on Tiree, they have even begun to appear in the island’s few shops.

Bonnets and bunnies and chocolate eggs have come to typify Easter in our secular society. All three, and even the hare, have a connection with the celebration of Easter, although for most the reason for this association has been lost in the sands of time. In Scotland eggs were often hard boiled and sometimes painted, before being rolled down a hill as a reminder of how the angel rolled the stone away from Jesus’ tomb.

Unlike bonnets and bunnies and chocolate eggs, the Bible’s account of Easter is the historical record of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is resurrection, not resuscitation. Never before in human history had anyone been bodily raised from the dead, never, ever, to die again. Standing in front of the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” This is not the empty claim of either a madman or conman, for his his friends testify, saying, “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”