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.