Harris … and Lewis

Borve beach at sunset, South Harris
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

Back to South Harris again this year, still enchanted by its rugged landscape and hallucinatory beaches.

We caught the ferry from Uig in Skye again—always nice to travel through Skye’s mad scenery, even on a hazy day.

The Storr above Portree, Skye
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

This time we were staying in a rather swish self-catering place, perched on a hillside above the beach at Borve.

Rock House, Borve, South Harris
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

The weather was mixed—rain every day, but sunshine every day too, though one day we did need to wait for the hour before sunset before the sky cleared. And the wind blew hard enough to keep the midges away, though it did also seem to discourage the shorebirds—apart from ubiquitous oystercatchers, a solitary ringed plover and a pair of spectacular fishing gannets, I didn’t have much to use the binoculars on.

We spent a lot of time wandering along South Harris’s beaches, which seemed to change colour on a minute-by-minute basis.

Scarista beach, South Harris
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

But we also ventured farther north this time, into a very different landscape of sea-lochs and mountains in North Harris.

Loch Mharaig and Todun, North Harris
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

And then beyond that, into the ancient flatlands of Lewis.

Lewis flatlands and the hills of Harris
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

We were heading for the stone circles at Callanish, on the Atlantic coast of Lewis, erected almost 5000 years ago. On a chill, grey day with shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds and sweeping across the landscape, it’s an atmospheric place.

Callanish stones
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

And then home again. It was a nice day in Skye, and we were in no hurry, so instead of following the main stream of traffic across the bridge to the mainland, we peeled southwards just after Breakish, to catch the tiny ferry that plies between Kylerhea and Glenelg. The strait here is narrow and fiercely tidal, so the ferry spends some of its time travelling sideways. After we had boarded at Kylerhea, it set off unexpectedly northwards up the coast instead of outwards into the channel. Only after it had established a couple of hundred metres of a head start did it venture out into the tide-race, to be swept dramatically southwards again on its way to Glenelg. Sea eagles fish in the channel, but none were evident during our ten-minute crossing.

Glenelg ferry
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

Glenelg, a palindromic village, lies at the mouth of Glen More, and the road runs up this fertile and pretty glen before zig-zagging out of its top end over the Bealach Ratagain to join the main road at Shiel Bridge. We stopped at the top of the pass to admire the spectacular view, and then descended (reluctantly) to join the queues of traffic wending along Glen Shiel.

Loch Duich and Five Sisters of Kintail, from Bealach Ratagain
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© 2017, The Boon Companion

One thought on “Harris … and Lewis”

  1. Would love to have been there. Marion’s photography adds to the blog ++. But I’m just back from a much more sedate visit to Alistair and Liz in Beckenham. Enjoyed the time. Was able to meet up with Alan, our cousin from Skene, nr. Aberdeen who was down for a cricket match ( Scotland – Pakistan ) Alistair had never met him and we had a great blether !

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