The edge of the world

When you visit the Outer Hebrides you really do get a sense of being somewhere so different from the rest of the UK. At the edge of these islands there is nothing but sea between them and the coasts of Newfoundland and Canada.

It is a beautiful landscape and we were so lucky with the weather but it can be a harsh and remote place to live. We both loved it and I am so glad that we made the trip to North and South Uists, Benbecula and Eriskay as well this trip.

We caught another ferry from the bottom of Harris for a short trip to land on the tiny island of Bernary. Nowadays all of the islands are connected by beautiful stone edged causeways but they used to use boats or horse drawn carriages at low tide to cross between them.

We had a quick trip around Bernary, stopping off at the seal viewing point where we were delighted to see four seals playing in the sunshine. You can just see some little heads above water in this second picture.

We found another brilliant community cafe and art gallery for lunch, where I may have bought another book on island life, then drove all the way down to Eriskay, a trip of around 35 miles. .

Our campsite was right on the coast, next to an RSPB reserve so we had a quick walk on the beach before sunset that evening. The sun and clouds were so beautiful. There were thousands of tiny shells on the shore so I have collected some to remind me of this wonderful place.

Our full day was spent on a 4km coastal walk, just spending hours watching the waves crash on the coast. I have said before how happy I am near the sea and am lucky to be able to spend a large part of my life near it now.

The people who live here have always had such a connection with the sea, fishing, using kelp to fertilise the land, and crossing it to access things such as education.

Nowadays there are many more services on the islands, we found two Co-op supermarkets which were very handy, but everything still has to be brought in to the islands by sea or air. It is such a different way of life here.

It was only a very short stay before we had to head back to Skye, involving two ferry trips and a bit of a dash across Harris past all those wonderful beaches again. We made it in plenty of time despite a Hebrides version of a traffic jam, which reminded me of life in Marsden.

I am so lucky to be able to do all of this and realise my dreams. This Scotland trip has been amazing and the final two days back on Skye were just as incredible. I will tell you about that excitement in the next post.

Meanwhile there has been lots of stitching of Christmas ornaments going on. I should finish the six for friends by the time I leave for Spain and have also done three others so you may get a craft post sometime soon!

I will then have to start on the Christmas knitting as I have promised some knitted reindeers for fundraising after the success of the Luna in the summer.

I hope that you are enjoying the last few weeks of your summer, or winter wherever you are. This year seems to have gone so fast. I am off back to Yorkshire at the end of the week and then on holiday in Wales with some ex- colleagues for a week, in a luxurious barn conversion as well.

I will be back as soon as I can. In the meantime have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Out to the west

Our first three days in the Outer Hebrides were spent on Harris and Lewis. We stayed at a very quirky site on Harris which I will devote a separate post to as there was so much to show you.

The area of Harris we stayed in reminded me a lot of trips to Sweden, similar rocky archipelagos and everywhere small lochs full of water lillies.

The first afternoon after the ferry crossing we drove to see the amazing beaches of South Harris. Even though I have seen them on other travel vlogs you cannot believe that the sea and sand are really that colour until you see them. They are so beautiful.

Our first full day was spent driving up to the top of Lewis, this island is very different as it is so flat, compared to Harris. We drove to the windiest place in the UK, I can confirm it lives up to its reputation!

The views of the Atlantic were amazing and it was even more exciting as we saw some seals playing on one of the rocks in the cove.

We also visited the Callanish standing stones, three Neolithic stone circles on Harris. There is lots of archaeological evidence of settlement on the islands including a reproduction of an Iron Age house near one of the beaches.

Day 2 was a trip to the little island of Scalpay, over the bridge between Harris and the island and a walk out to Eilean Glas lighthouse, we were so lucky with the weather the whole time we were there. I couldn’t believe the sky was so blue.

We also went out to one of the most remote beaches, Husinis, in search of otters. It was literally a roller coaster ride along the narrowest and bumpiest roads that I have ever seen.It was certainly an experience getting there!

I am not sure if we did see otters, they are very elusive but there may have been something in this bay.

The islands are unique and feel very different from each other. The light there is amazing and the colours seem so bright. This was even more so when we got to the next islands, another ferry ride away. I will tell you more about that in my next post.

I have been reading some biographies about island life, like much of Scotland land ownership has been an issue for many years with clearances by land owners that led to crofters losing their homes. It was significant that there are very few of the older houses left on the island and many people were forced to emigrate to USA and Canada.

Nowadays most of the area is owned by the community and there are various community businesses, such as the lovely cafe we stopped at for lunch in North Lewis.There was also a small museum and gallery where I was able to see one of the looms that made the famous Harris tweed.

I didn’t find many places that were doing weaving but did manage to buy this beautiful little purse which will remind me of all the colours of this island.

I will tell you more about island life in the next post. We are now back in England, after a very long 6 hour drive. I then drove back North through my first appalling weather to meet up with Ellen for more Steampunk fun in Lincoln. We were very pleased as this event has not been held since 2019 and a great time was had by all.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, especially if you are in the UK where it is a Bank Holiday. We are planning a quiet Monday sewing and watching movies.

Hope you all have fun anyway, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Over the sea to Skye

Many of you will know the song that has this line in, I have always loved it, even before it became the Outlander theme tune.

We did not go by boat but after many beautiful roads winding past loch after loch arrived at Fort William.

We had not booked anywhere to camp in Fort William as we were planning to use some of the apps to find a parking location but it was quite late by the time we arrived so ended up, with many other campervans in Lidl car park! Not the most glamorous of locations but it was much appreciated.

We did make a stop off to see the famous Eilean Donan Castle which is in such an amazing setting.

We took the road bridge over to Skye, it was very cloudy so no good pictures but the weather was glorious for the drive around the south peninsula that afternoon. We had a very good view of the Cullin Hills and the stunning coastline.

Our full day saw me able to tick off many of the things on my list that I have wanted to do for so long. We climbed up to the Old Man of Storr, a very steep and hot trek but so worth it for the views of the clouds over the lochs.

The Quiraing rock formations were equally stunning, even if the road up there was a bit of a challenge. Jacky has excellent driving skills and she has needed them on all these tiny single track uphill roads.

We didn’t far into the fairy pools sadly as the midges came out early that evening. We have been lucky and not had much issues with them and have been able to BBQ and eat outside some evenings.

The campsite was lovely, with gorgeous views of the hills and amazing cloud formations. We stayed at Camping Skye, a not for profit site run by the community. We have used as many community services as we can here, such as the excellent little cafe and craft venues.

We left Skye for Lewis and Harris on a mid morning ferry. The Outer Hebrides have been just as amazing as we thought they would be and I am so pleased to be here after so many years of watching my favourite You Tube travellers come here.

More from the outer islands next time, hope you are having a great time whatever you are doing. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Messing about on the water

I am writing this blog post from the shores of Loch Lomond on the most beautiful sunny day. It is still about 24 degrees even though it is 4.30pm so most of today has been water related fun. It is the most amazing location.

In fact most of the last week has involved water related activities as it has been gorgeous sunny weather. We left Blackpool on Monday morning and headed to the Lake District. We were camped at one of the most stunning sites I have ever been to, Castlerigg Farm, just outside Keswick.

The site is on a hill and so has 360 degree views over Derwentwater and all the surrounding hills such as Siddaw and Catbells. It was so amazing and the photos do not do it justice at all.

We arrived mid afternoon in time for a little walk down to the lake, we got a little lost and the 25 minutes turned into 45 but it was lovely once we got there and we had a little paddle. It was a very steep climb back up but well worth it for the views.

The following day we decided to have a quiet trip out on the lake on a little cruise and stopped off at the other end of the lake to visit a waterfall.

The scenery is just incredible, I could stare at the hills all day. I think Derwentwater is one of my favourite of the lakes as it is so dramatic.

It was a hot journey up to the site in Loch Lomond but so worth it, we are pitched right opposite the lake so we have these amazing views. We are at the Milarrochy Bay campsite another Camping and Caravan Club one.

I told you that Jacky has altered the van. She has removed the fixed bed and replaced it with bench seats that create a bed. It really opens up the van and gives a lot more space for two people, and for being inside to eat.

So far the weather has been really good and we are going to have our fourth BBQ in a row tonight, but it will be a great layout if the weather is not so good once we get to the islands.

Jacky went out this morning for a paddleboard lesson. I stayed and did some stitching on account of my very dodgy joints but she had a great time and didn’t fall in. This afternoon we have been swimming in the Loch, we also had a large rubber ring to play with.

We set off tomorrow with a stopover at Fort William so should be in Skye on Saturday which will be very exciting. I am so looking forward to finally seeing the places that I have only seen on other people’s travel vlogs.

Thank you so much for all of the comments and the likes on my posts. I will be back with more stunning scenery as soon as I can. In the meantime have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Loving my van life

I have now been on the road for a month, through the thankfully short heatwave of 38 degrees, and back to my old normal of 16 degrees and raining in the Peak District, and I am absolutely loving it.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be driving in Katy, especially on roads that I have previously been driven on by other people. It is now just me and my little van going places!

I had been staying at campsites in the Upper Peak District and in Shropshire for 8 days before meeting up with my sister, and have had some amazing walks.

The Peak District is somewhere that holds many wonderful memories for me, especially of my time living in Marsden. The first campsite at Crowden was only 12 miles from my old house.

The layout of the van is working well, I have had the camping kitchen mainly inside the van for all of these last two camps due to the inclement weather. I have used bungee cords to attach it to the sides of the van for travelling. I do take all the rattly kitchen stuff out before driving though.

The chair bed is folded up during the day so I have a cosy reading nook. I have also sat there in the evenings with the back doors open watching You Tube van life videos on my tablet while watching amazing sunsets and stitching. This really is living my dream and I am so happy.

The second site I stayed at just outside Leek was near some fantastic rock formations known as The Roaches, so Katy and I had a little adventure out there one day and I climbed all the way to the top.

I also had a walk around the local reservoir in a beautiful pine forest.

On my last day there I drove back over the moors to Buxton for an enjoyable afternoon looking at the park and spa buildings which put Buxton on the map in the late 1800s. It is a very pretty place and well worth a visit.

One of the old buildings for taking the waters has been turned into an arcade and there is a small exhibition about the spa in its heyday. You can still see the original tiles and all the treatment rooms which have been turned into little shops.

Jacky and I have been having an excellent time here at Rebellion. Although most of the bands we have seen have been on the outdoor stage, some have been inside the beautiful Winter Gardens, which has some stunning architecture. We spent yesterday afternoon in the Spanish Room which has a stunning panoramic frieze below the ceiling.

We are off on our great adventure to Scotland tomorrow in her campervan, Eva. She has changed the layout again so I will get some photos of that for you as well as it look very different. I will post some of our travels as and when Internet allows!

Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and as always thanks for visiting.

Back to the future

The Steampunk weekend at Whitby was the third time that we have been, the first was during 2020 when, although when we went there were no actual events on due to the pandemic. We had non refundable accommodation booked so went anyway, and had a lovely time, albeit socially distanced and wearing masks!

It is brilliant to be able to go to events now and to chat to people about the future in more confidence and we are looking forward to Lincoln as well in August. Although there did not seem to be as many people there as last year there were still lots of gorgeous outfits.

The new hat had its debut and I am very pleased with it, partly as it stayed put during our windy walks on the seafront. I also wore several of my older ones. I do need to remake the jacket for the cream outfit though as although I love the braid I am not as happy with the fit of it.

Whitby was beautiful as always and we had a lovely weekend just visiting all our favourite places, going on a boat trip and having a good rummage through all of the charity shops. I bought lots of books as I now have space to carry them. Much as I love my Kindle it uses a lot of power and as I am on non electric pitches when camping have to ration what I use.

We met up with one of my favourite hat makers, I have forgotten her name but we first met her at the Clumber 1940s event and she told us she had about 40 hats and there were two new ones put this weekend. I am keen to make more hats for myself, if my lovely daughter will allow me more storage space in her house as all the Steampunk and re-enactment kit lives with her now.

We will not be at Whitby next summer as there is another festival that I want to go to that weekend, a van life one which will be very exciting. I am so thrilled to be able to do all this and will post more about my adventures in my van next time. We did see a very cool Steampunk camper at Whitby which was very well done.

My sister and I are currently having a brilliant time reliving our youth at the Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool. Last night we saw The Stranglers which was amazing. Tonight it will be various delights such as Gary Numan, who I was very much in love with as a teenager.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and having a good time doing something fun or relaxing. Whatever it is have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.