Posted by: christinelaennec | April 10, 2016

Over land and sea to the Isle of Scalpay, Harris

Hello everyone!  I’m back from a wonderful five-day break.  For the third year in a row, I went to the Isle of Harris by myself.  I was really needing respite from my caring role, and although life has been rather hectic since my return, it did me such a lot of good.  I have a lot of photos to show you!

I took the train from Glasgow to Inverness, which was about four hours, with having to take a roundabout route due to the current closure of the Queen Street Tunnel.  I didn’t mind at all, and was happy to  read and knit.  Almost all the following photos are taken through windows, for which I apologise.  But perhaps this will give you a flavour of my journey:

On the train between Perth and Inverness.  April 2016.

On the train between Perth and Inverness. April 2016.  I believe this is the River Tummel.

Pitlochry, I think, from the train.

Pitlochry, from the train.

Coming through the mountains.

Coming through the mountains.

I was very taken by the colours of the countryside in early spring.  Below you can see the red hue of the birch trees, and the yellowish hue of the trees closer in.  I don’t know what kind of tree they are.  You can also see how flooded the fields were.  I saw evidence of flooding everywhere I went, including on the Hebrides.  My friends told me there was water standing in places where there had never been standing water before.

The Scottish countryside, April 2016.

The Scottish countryside, April 2016.

From Inverness I took the bus to Ullapool.  There is a brand-new ferry terminal there now, which has a beautiful view out across Loch Broom and towards the hills.  You can just see the snow on top of them.  The name of the red boat is “Willing Lad”:

View from the new ferry terminal at Ullapool, April 2016.

View from the new ferry terminal at Ullapool, April 2016.

Looking back to Ullapool from the ferry terminal.

Looking back to Ullapool from the ferry terminal.

The weather had been very stormy, and I was anticipating a rough crossing.  But I was very lucky – the crew told me that it was the smoothest crossing they’d had all day.  You can see here that the chains underneath the chairs hadn’t been clipped in – a good sign!

Smooth crossing!

Smooth crossing!

The ferry takes two and a half hours to cross the Minch.  We were docking in Stornoway by 8 pm, and the kind man who runs the hire car place was waiting for me.  After a change of shoes, and a few bites of chocolate, I drove down through Lewis, across the Clisham mountain pass, and down into Harris.  I was grateful that, although it was raining, the clouds weren’t as low as they sometimes are in the mountains.  There were quite a few sheep on the road, which I was prepared for.  To my surprise, I also had to come to a screeching halt for a mallard, who looked at me quizzically as he waddled to the other side of the main road.  I arrived at the B&B in Scalpay before 10 pm.

My room at the B&B in Scalpay.

My room at the Two Harbours Guest House in Scalpay.

Having travelled more than twelve hours, I was very happy to be given cake and a cup of tea, and I slept very well that night.  The next morning dawned bright and sunny, as you see above.

But I will tell you about that next time!

I hope you’ve all had a good weekend.



  1. I hadn’t realised how long such a journey took Christine, but it looks well worth it just for all the scenery you see on the way 🙂 Looking forward to seeing your next post 🙂

  2. I love following your journeys to the Isle of Harris. As you know, Perthshire is near and dear to my heart so I am grateful that you include pictures of the Perthshire countryside. So happy for you that you got away for a bit of a holiday. I will be looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

  3. It is a beautiful trip so far! I am so glad you got to go and that you are sharing the trip with us. [those chains on the chairs did give me pause…and cause me to realize what a brave adventuress you are 🙂 ] I got to go to Cannon Beach with a friend on Tuesday and work on a watercolor and posted some photos of Haystack Rock. Happy Week, Christine! xx

  4. What fun! I love hearing about Harris. Beautiful photos, and I’m looking forward to reading and seeing more.:-)

  5. Looks like good fun! looking forward to more posts 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us Christine! I’m off to Stanley this weekend, to catch up with friends and walk on the beach :)) xx

  7. Although a long trip, it is certainly a beautiful trip. Looking forward to hearing about your stay on the beautiful Hebrides.

  8. I will be keen to see the new Ullapool ferry terminal sometime soon. Progress! Enjoy your paradise C.

  9. Thanks for sharing-I enjoyed “travelling” with you!

  10. Is your standing water photo taken near Kingussie/Kincraig? We came down the back road there on Sunday and remarked on the amount of water still lying. Your trees might be alders.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your trip.

  11. Greetings Christine, I so enjoyed seeing the lovely photos of your trip. It made me smile to see the chains to fasten down the ferry chairs. I’m glad your trip was hassle free and that the weather cooperated. The scenery is amazing. I too am excited to see more photos of your journey. My best wishes to you! Hugs, Pat

  12. Thanks to you all for your encouragement! Some of you live in places that seem very exotic to me (or that I long to return to…) Linda, it probably was around Kingussie, but I can’t be positive. I must inform myself about alders.

    Thanks again for all the comments.

  13. Can’t wait to hear more! It is so fun to travel vicariously through others!! I’m so glad you got to have this special time away! My time away is coming up!

  14. I missed this start of your journey but am glad I’ve found it now. What a adventure you were setting off on, even though it’s a journey you’ve done many times before in different ways. I can imagine the lifting of spirits as you arrived in the islands and drove towards your destination: home again. 🙂

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