Please forgive me for being self-indulgent and posting so many photographs here. I think I’m wanting to remember our beautiful week so much, partly because it’s been so dreich and cold and rainy here.
I couldn’t resist yet another photograph of the amazing colours of the sea in Harris. You can see that our “Harris Landscape” painting by Willie Fulton is no exaggeration.
I wasn’t the only one trying to capture the beauty of the island. Here is our friend Ian, on the cliff above Seilebost beach. The gap you see on the horizon between mainland Harris and the Isle of Taransay is the gap through which the next stop is Newfoundland. I think one of the reasons that the West side of Harris has such a beachy landscape is that the long island of Taransay protects so much of it from the direct onslaught of the Atlantic. Taransay was the location of the year-long experiment “Castaway 2000,” in which people from all parts of Britain lived for a year together on the island. It was fascinating viewing!
I stayed on the cliff-top and knitted (also guarded all our gathered possessions) while the others went down a sandy gap in the dunes and played on the beach:
The Dafter and her friend were soaked, and happy. I was struck by how the colours in this photograph are very like the colours in the water: green and turquoise:
In the low evening light, the grasses seemed to be illuminated from within:
And here is a “common blue” butterfly, which is sadly not a very common sight these days:
I love how the setting sun is caught and reflected by the windows in the houses, as well as by the water:
It was light until past my bedtime. Here is the sky after 11:00. The twilight lingers for such a long time that I could still see the outlines of the mountains close to midnight one night:
At the end of our week, we cleaned the cottage as best we could, and said a very fond farewell. As I mentioned before, we’ve stayed there every year for the past 12 years. Because the Dafter is no longer at an age where being given a bucket and a spade is all that is required to delight her, we had already decided that next sumer we’ll take a break from Harris and go somewhere with a few more entertainments on offer. When we went to visit the woman whose son now owns the cottage – whom we have become friends with over the years – she told us that this may be the last summer the cottage will be for rent. So we said a very sad farewell indeed. But life goes on!
We drove down to Rodel to while away some of the hours before our next ferry trip:
We had a coffee at the Rodel Hotel, which is at the pier. There is a plaque on the side of the Hotel that marks an important occasion: “QUEEN ELIZABETH LANDED HERE 17th August 1956, RODEL, HARRIS”. She had only been Queen for four years at that time. When the Royal Family still sailed about in the Royal Yacht Britannia, they used to enjoy dropping by the Outer Hebrides, calling in at places like the Rodel Hotel. I’ve heard stories from locals about stumbling across the Royal Family having a picnic on a beach on the Western Isles in years gone by.
We also had time to visit the Harris Tapestry, in An Clachan (the Community Co-operative) in Leverburgh. It was stitched in 2000, and is a beautiful work of art celebrating the island’s history:
And then it was time to sail across the Sound of Harris to North Uist, on our way to Benbecula.
I’ll post about Benbecula, and the end of our trip, next! If you have made it this far down the post, I wish you a good end of the week and start of the weekend.