On Thursday we had a more relaxed day and less driving time. I was feeling quite exhausted and my sinus issue and cough are still hanging around from when I had Covid.
In our unofficial quest to tick off as many Scottish Isles as we can we drove to Beàrnaraigh Mòr / the Isle of Great Bernera…its tiny and is accessed by a bridge. They have just last year finished a new bridge across. It had a lovely beach and the remains of an iron age settlement at Bostadh / Bosta beach. We saw an artist starting a big painting of the beach and had to pass some Highland cows as we walked back to the car park.
We bought some smoked salmon from the Uig smokery and went back to the cottage for lunch and walked on the beach next to the cottage. It was much softer to walk on…that or our weight gain was showing 😂
On Friday we headed back down to Harris to do the circular loop around the island.
We stopped at a small broch monument. That’s my husband poking out the top.
We went in search of Sam’s Seafood Shack which Google told us was open…it wasn’t. A familiar feeling and I’d say don’t trust Google on these islands out of season. We made do with some tea and cake in the car whilst looking across to the Isle of Skye.
We stopped at a couple of remote galleries on the east side and one, Finsbay Gallery, had so many paintings I loved. One, called “Approaching Storm” was perfect for our living room to go with the stormy sky lampshade (I felted). We liked others by the same artist, Jill Olenski, and if we had won the lottery I’d have bought a couple more of her paintings. She even made the peat bogs look attractive on one painting! It needs framing and I don’t like to take a photo of someone’s original art in case its copied.
On Lewis there’s a little converted shipping container that sells pizza called “Crust Like That”. It’s in the middle of nowhere really with nothing around it. We thought we’d go there for a late lunch and arrived about 3pm and discovered they’d sold out. Basically you need to order before 11am and they give you your slot for the day. We were pretty disappointed and hadn’t realised out of season it would be so popular. Instead we had fish and chips from a takeaway in Stornoway and ate it watching the boats return to the harbour.
On Saturday we were booked on the afternoon crossing back to Ullapool, so with check out by 9.30am we had some time to kill. We returned to Reef Beach for a little walk and then drove to Castle Lews, in Stornoway. What was once a castle is now a campus for the University of Highlands and Islands.
My husband went to get his hair cut and I went into a shop selling Harris Tweed. What a disappointment the “shop” was. They had thousands of pounds (£££) worth of Harris tweed on rolls, or made into coats etc, but it was absolutely filthy and smelled musty. Knowing the time it takes to warp a loom it’s such a shame to have seen so much work treated so badly. Harris Tweed all has to be woven on Lewis or Harris inside an islander’s home by them, by hand. I’d be furious if my work was in that filthy old building. I didn’t say anything to the old man who was in the shop, just thanked him and left empty handed. There are much nicer shops this one happened to be by the barbers near the castle.
Always on a ferry crossing I like to be outside because I get sea sick inside. So wearing thermals and all the layers we enjoyed the view as we sailed back to the mainland. There was some pretty cool clouds that made it look like we were sailing in a tiny gap between the sea and sky.
I mentioned before but we would recommend visiting out of season. Just make sure you pack all the food you need for breakfast, picnics and dinners and take a flask. Dining out options are limited to a few locations, even without a dog in tow.
That’s all folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed these 3 posts of our holiday. Islay and Jura are the next Scottish Isles on our list to visit. Nothing booked yet…I’ll keep you posted.