Sue and I have now established a tradition to have a short-break holiday to mark our birthdays. Sue's birthday is in November, and mine in March, so it fits us well, with being 'out-of-season', meaning we have no clashes with cottage bookings, and we benefit from quieter places to visit. We take a chance with the weather of course - but one does that at any time of year if holidaying in Scotland.
We are just back from this November's trip. Ever since we have lived on Skye, we have promised ourselves that we will make a visit to the Outer Isles, and at last we have done it. After a bit of research, we chose to stay near Tarbert on Harris. The ferry from Uig on Skye sails to Tarbert, so we only had to drive about 35 miles in total from Roskhill to the cottage we rented, with the ferry taking us the 30 miles or so across the Minch.
The landscape that greeted us when we drove off the ferry was a complete surprise. I had really expected that Harris would be much the same as Skye, but in fact, it could barely be more different, with vast areas of the island being bare rock rather than the heather moorland of most of Skye.
As ever, we packed our days with exploring as much of the island as we could. We knew Cupar would love the sandy beaches, so visited a couple of them, but we also managed to make short climbs to the top of a hill or two, visited Scalpay and its lighthouse, drove the famed 'Golden Road' and explored a restored ancient church built by the MacLeods of Dunvegan. As it is fairly unlikely that we will return to Harris, we also made the 40-or-so mile drive north across Lewis to see the world-famous Callanish Stones. Here, I had another surprise, as I found the stones to be far more spiritual than I expected - a feeling enhanced by us being almost the only people at the site when we visited.
We haven't yet decided where we will go for my birthday jaunt in March, though it won't be back to the Outer Isles. However, I think there is a strong possibility that we will be making a further trip across the Minch - probably to the Uists next time - at some future date.
Sue is likely to get round to posting a picture-story of the holiday we have just had at some time in the not-too-distant future, and as she takes better photos than me, I'll just post a small sample of my pics below...
|Eilean Glas lighthouse, Scalpay|
|Birthday-girl (and me...)!|
|Clach Mich Leoid|
|Typical South Harris coastline|