Posted by: christinelaennec | May 1, 2015

In and around Tarbert, the Isle of Harris

Here are some photos from various points in the three days I stayed on Scalpay.  (See the map of the area here.)  As I wrote on St. Patrick’s Day, there are more cattle on Harris than there used to be in the past.  The Highland Cattle are beautiful, and like the sheep, they aren’t fenced in, so you have to be aware when driving.  There were several near Urgha, between Scalpay and Tarbert:

Cows near Urgha, on the road from Scalpay to Tarbert.

Cows near Urgha, on the road from Scalpay to Tarbert.

Two of them had calves, who stayed near their mothers:

Two cows with their calves:  Beathaichean agus laoidhean (sp???)

Two cows with their calves by the side of the road

I went to church at the Church of Scotland in Tarbert, where you will find some trees, and also lovely daffodils:

Daffodils on the way to church, Tarbert.  12 April 2015.

Daffodils on the way to church, Tarbert. 12 April 2015.

Hailstones from passing showers lay unmelted in the shade by the path:

Clachan-meallaidh:  hailstones.  On the way to church, Tarbert, 12 April 2015.

Clachan-meallaidh: hailstones. On the way to church, Tarbert, 12 April 2015.

There’s a beautiful view out towards the Minch from next to the church.  This is where the ferry comes in:

View from the Church of Scotland in Tarbert:  looking east, towards the Minch.  12 April 2015.

View from the Church of Scotland in Tarbert: looking east, towards the Minch. 12 April 2015.

This one is quite far from Tarbert, but I liked this sign in the ferry terminal in Stornoway:  “Is e Freasdal Dhè ar dìleab” / “God’s providence is our inheritance”:

"Is a fe...  "  Stornoway ferry terminal.

At Stornoway ferry terminal.

The sign was above a display of local crafts, including Harris Tweed.  I wondered if the saying is meant to refer to how the people of these islands have made the very most of their natural resources?  Returning to Tarbert, the new distillery is taking shape down by the pier!  This initiative will be employing local people and of course using the wonderfully peaty water of the highlands.

New distillery under construction.  Tarbert, Isle of Harris, April 2015.

New distillery under construction. Tarbert, Isle of Harris, April 2015.

I think the architecture makes it look like a church – is that just me?  Of course, it will be closed on the Sabbath (for my thoughts on Sunday in Harris see here).

On Monday, I had a chance to stop for a coffee in First Fruits tearoom in Tarbert:

Having a coffee in First Fruits tearoom, Tarbert, Isle of Harris.

Having a coffee in First Fruits tearoom, Tarbert, Isle of Harris.

We’ve been coming to this place for years and although the ownership has changed over time, the atmosphere hasn’t.  It’s a good place to knit and write postcards.

Antique butter dishes in the window of First Fruits tearoom.

Antique butter dishes in the window of First Fruits tearoom, Tarbert.

One evening I drove across to the west side of the island, through the village of Luskentyre:

The strand seen from Luskentyre, looking west towards Taransay.  11 April 2015.

The strand seen from Luskentyre, looking southwest. Taransay is on the right, and Seilebost is on the left. 11 April 2015.

Taransay, seen from Luskentyre.

Taransay, seen from Luskentyre.

It was very cold and windy, and I waited for the showers to pass before walking down towards the beach.

Luskentyre beach:  setting sun obscured by swiftly advancing cold showers.

Luskentyre beach: setting sun obscured by swiftly advancing cold showers.

It was so very cold, and the oncoming showers were so dark, that this was as far as I got!  I made it back to the car just as the icy rain came down.  It was still great to have been there.

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Responses

  1. Great pictures! Scotland is still undiscovered for us, but your pics make us wanna go!

  2. What a beautiful pictures !

  3. It’s so nice to see this, it’s been 10 years and not much has changed. ?now that my partner is so limited in his walking, we can’t go far and the highlands are a fond memory

  4. What a beautiful place to be! I agree, the distillery does look like a church. The little window with the point at the top and the A frame of the roof, all that’s missing is a steeple or cross on top. 🙂
    I love the thick walls in the tearoom. It reminds me of our home in England.
    Have a nice weekend! ♥

  5. As usual your photos are beautiful. I would love to visit one day, hopefully when the weather is a bit kinder! It’s been so cold here too lately I hope it heats up again soon. x

  6. My Son has applied to be a tour guide for the summer at The Isle of Harris Distillery. He has never touched a drop of alcohol – hates the stuff! – but apparently his story-telling during the course of his Skype-interview did him proud. You never know, next time you visit he may be able to show you around. 🙂

    • Good luck to your son, Fiona! I was a distillery tour guide at Glenfiddich distillery during my university holidays and loved it. Meeting people from all over the world, who are relaxed and on holiday, and getting to tell good stories – great fun!

  7. The landscaping is so fascinating. Your pictures are lovely. It looks like the weather pattern can change rapidly. I’m glad you didn’t get caught in the icy rain.

  8. Isn’t it amazing, Christine, to find oneself alone on the beach in this world so full of other folks? Seeing photos of folks crowding the warmer beaches are such a contrast to my experiences on the beaches in cooler climates where I have been alone sometimes….but not lonely 🙂 I’m so glad you had a lovely time on your trip and that you kindly shared it with us. Thank you. xx

  9. These posts are filling me with a strange sort of longing for a different way of life. Everything looks so slow and peaceful and detached from the high speed pressures of our society.
    (Of course, I’m not naive enough to think that life here is entirely idyllic, but it would be nice for a wee change!)

    It looks like you had a lovely time over there and I hope you benefited from the familiar scenery and change of pace xo

  10. You had some wonderfully moody weather, Christine. I love that last shot of the dark skies over the beach. Blue skies and bright sun would have been nice too, but your photos do bring out the feel of our chill not-quite-spring season.

  11. Thank you everyone, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and the post.

    Fiona I hope your son really enjoys working at the distillery. I’m sure being a good communicator is far more important than being an actual whisky-drinker. Certainly not all the people who come to the distillery will be whisky fans.

    Kate, I’m glad you can “take a walk down memory lane” via the internet. I often travel in my mind to Harris just to relax!

    Anne, I’m glad you think it looks like a church too!

    Gracie, the beaches in Scotland have a lot in common with the Oregon coast. The cool temperatures, wind, rain -and in the summer, midges – often mean one has the beach to oneself! Certainly the idea of “beach” to me is not a hot, crowded expanse of sand with sunbathers.

    Laura, it was really good for me to get away, and as you say to a completely different rhythm of life. Having stayed with friends on Benbecula for several weeks at a time when I was actively learning Gaelic, I know that life there isn’t free of the same problems that us mainlanders face. And it includes problems that we don’t have – such as the fact that a car will rust away in a few years, etc. But so many of the people living on the islands do seem to take comfort from the beauty and otherness of where they live.

  12. Such beauty!!! Look at the white sand on the beach! Every view is just stunning. Would have loved that coffee shop!!!

    • Yes Heather you would love First Fruits. And the white sand is spectacular.


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