Posted by: christinelaennec | August 10, 2010

Isle of Harris 3: One beautiful day

On the Thursday, the rain and clouds lifted and we were treated to a magical day.  We went to our favourite beach on the west side of Harris, Traigh Iar (meaning “West Beach” – the name is a bit unspecific, as nearly all the beaches are on the west side of the island):

Traigh Iar, Niseabost, Isle of Harris. The island of Taransay is in the background.

The tide was far out, as you can see, and there were quite a few people on the beach (for Harris).  Across the water you can see the white beaches of the island of Taransay.  This small, now uninhabited, island off Harris was brought to national attention ten years ago by the series “Castaway 2000”.  Beyond Taransay lies the Atlantic Ocean and then Newfoundland!

The Dafter and her Dad went and played in the waves and, after shell-hunting, I knit:

Me knitting Emily Johnson's gorgeous "Antonia capelet"

Knitting Emily Johnson’s “Antonia” pattern gave me the greatest pleasure over this holiday.  It’s available on her website The Family Trunk Project.  By the way, I hear there is a resurgence of outdoor knitting.  But I missed Worldwide Knit in Public Day by about six weeks this year.  I’m sure the women of Shetland and the Outer Hebrides who had to knit every day outdoors and in, to support their families, would have been baffled by the whole idea.

Up from the beach, on the headland, is a large standing stone called Clach MhicLeòid (MacLeods’ Stone).  Apparently it’s where the Clan MacLeod gathered in ancient times.  It’s a nice walk up from the beach.  In the photo the stone is hardly visible against the sky, but when you reach it, it’s about 10 feet tall.

In the distance, Clach MhicLeòid on the headland above Traigh Iar

Thursday was the best day all week for appreciating the wildflowers of Harris.  I didn’t get a great photo of the wildflowers on the machair (the grassy lands near the shore), but here are some wildflowers by the roadside:

Wildflowers by the roadside, Isle of Harris

I love how clever Mother Nature is at combining her colours – here, the purples of clover and thistles with the lavender-grey of silverweed, and white of cow parsley.  (Cow parsley has a much grander name in America:  Queen Anne’s Lace.)  It’s not altogether unlike Donald John MacKay’s tweed in fact.

Here is a photo of a few wildflowers on the machair:

Machair and beach at Seilebost, looking towards Luskentyre - beyond are the hills of North Harris

On this one beautiful day, we had an equally stunning evening:

Sunset, Isle of Harrs

As I mentioned, we had a few visitors during our week.  The day that our friends from Benbecula left, we met two New Zealanders who had nowhere to stay for the night, as all the accommodation on the island was booked up.  So we invited them to stay with us, and in so doing “entertained angels unawares”.  They were wonderful company – very interesting to talk to.  They had a travel Scrabble set, and started a rage for the game in our family that hasn’t yet died down.  One of them gave us a jar of her beautiful blackcurrant jam.  (I blurted out:  “You travel with your jam?!”)  We enjoyed it all week long.  Here is a photo of the very last of her delicious jam, the colour of garnets:

J's blackcurrant jam (the last of)

In my next post:  the Isle of Lewis, and coming back to Aberdeen.  Oh – and more rain.



  1. stunning photos!

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