The first of my three days on Harris dawned bright and beautiful:
(If you would like to see my hand-made map of Scalpay and vicinity, you will find it here.)
After breakfast, I just knitted and read. It was such a strange and delicious sensation to know that I wouldn’t have to jump up at any moment. I felt as if I had never actually knitted or read before!
I took my friend Catriona out to lunch. I did take a photo of her but on condition that it would NOT appear on the internet. Catriona is soon going to be 81, and doesn’t have a computer, but she is well aware, through her children and grandchildren, of Facebook and the like. After lunch, she invited me in for a cup of tea and the usual spread of cakes, which I didn’t need much arm-twisting to help eat! Then I drove us into Tarbert where I shopped for presents to take home. It was such a lovely day! We walked along by the harbour, and were greeted by beautiful daffodils:
You can see how the trees lean at a bit of an angle, from the prevailing wind.
I was introduced to almost everyone we encountered, and heard quite a bit of Gaelic, which is always nice. People tend to switch quickly into English in the presence of a stranger, and perhaps they didn’t realise that I could understand them very well.
I brought Catriona back home, and after a snacky tea (my lunch plus cakes-and-tea more than sufficed for two meals), I went for an evening walk. I took the road to Aird na Cille. Aren’t these trees so brave? See how they cling stubbornly to whatever earth they have found to grow in, amongst the boulders:
And can you see the very handsome conifers that someone has grown in their garden:
Trees do not have an easy time of it out on the islands, and many of the conifers are rust-coloured in places, due to the salt spray they endure during the winter storms.
It was a beautiful evening, and I could see the shadowy cliffs of Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, off in the distance:
It was unusually calm, and the water was like a mirror:
I watched the evening ferry from Uig, Isle of Skye, coming into Tarbert. So many times I have been on that ferry, watching Scalpay go by. But this evening it was the other way around.
It was about 8 pm, and the colours in the sky were becoming very beautiful indeed. You can easily see where Tarbert lies, looking as I was from the east: it’s the place where the land dips down almost to the sea. Tarbert is on an ithsmus, a very narrow neck of land. (The name ‘Tarbert’ means ithsmus, and there are a few places with this name in Scotland.)
As I came back to the guest house, everything seemed to be settling down for the night, including this thoughtful-looking sheep:
It had been such a beautiful, relaxing day with time to rest and please myself, and time to visit with a dear friend. And I still had two more days to go!
To be continued…