Thursday, 11 September 2014

Hebrides 18: Journey to Harris

The crossing to Harris was calm, and interesting because of the tortuous route the boat took in order to avoid the large number of skerries.

Now this is the kind of weather we expected in the Hebrides: cool and breezy, requiring the full complement of outdoor clothing.  It was mid-July, after all!

We came into Leverburgh (named after Lord Leverhulme, who once owned the island of Harris) and saw a group of bikers waiting to board.  There was also a "Harris Outdoor" shop, which sadly was closed (and appeared not to be a shop anyway, but more of an outdoor activity centre).

It was then a matter of joining everyone else and heading up a single track road into the highlands of Harris.  Very beautiful scenery, but we ended up being stuck behind a prat in a black Mercedes who didn't seem to understand the concept of "single track road with passing places".   Tarbert was much smaller than I expected, but really attractive.  In particular, I fell in love with the hardware store, which very much reminded me of a certain set of Irish painted cottages from my past.

We then headed through North Harris and into Lewis, where the hills weren't quite so high.  Everything became more and more remote as we headed towards Lemreway, and eventually we passed what would be our nearest pub/hotel (14 miles away) and shop/hostel (10 miles away).  The instructions from the owner said: "Go down the road until you think you've reached the end, then carry on for another few miles".  This just about sums up the isolation of the village: no TV signal; no phone signal; no Internet; nothing.  Nada,  Just the sound of the seabirds and the occasional bleating of sheep on the hill behind the house.  Wonderful...