Posted by: christinelaennec | April 24, 2016

A magical spring evening on the Isle of Harris

I could not have asked for a lovelier last evening on my visit to Harris.  After I had finished my picnic tea, and communed with the cattle for a bit after my afternoon in the Uists, I drove back up the West Side.  I stopped at the golf course to admire the clouds on top of Chaipaval:

Chaipaval (Toe Head), and Scarasta Beach. The Isle of Harris, April 2016.

Clouds on top of Chaipaval (Toe Head), with Scarasta Beach in the foreground. The Isle of Harris, April 2016.

The light below the lid of clouds was growing more intense:

Nearing sunset, the West Side of Harris. April 2016.

Nearing sunset, the West Side of Harris. April 2016.

I thought about going down onto Traigh Iar, but it was chilly, and besides which three photographers with tripods and huge zoom lenses appeared, which gave me an (admittedly feeble) excuse not to!  I do love this beach, though.  You can just see the standing stone on top of the hill.  This is where the Clan MacLeod had their meeting place in former times.

Traigh Iar.

Traigh Iar, Isle of Harris, April 2016.

I went on to Seilebost beach.  You park your car near the school (sadly now closed, but it’s a campervan rental agency at the moment), and then walk across the machair and up across the dunes overlooking the beach.

Taransay, off the Isle of Harris.

Taransay, off the Isle of Harris.  From the dunes above Seilebost beach.  April 2016.

I didn’t quite have the energy to climb down onto the beach itself, but enjoyed the view:

Seilebost beach, Isle of Harris. April 2016.

Seilebost beach, Isle of Harris, looking across to Luskentyre (point of land on the right of the photo) and the hills of North Harris beyond.  Taransay is the land on the left of the photo.

The sun was sinking ever lower:

Seilebost beach, Isle of Harris, April 2016.

Seilebost beach, Isle of Harris, April 2016.

I left and drove back towards Scalpay.  As I climbed the steep brae past the Laxdale fishery, the colours in the sky were becoming quite dramatic:

Looking west from the road to Kyle Scalpay, April 2016.

Looking west from the road to Kyles Scalpay, April 2016.

A moment later I was rewarded with this:

The sun sinks below the clouds.

The sun sinks below the clouds.

I was grateful that there happened to be a safe place to pull over along there.  So often on Harris the most marvellous sights greet one, but stopping safely to take a photo isn’t possible.

As I crossed the Scalpay bridge, I saw what might well have been an eagle swooping around over the narrow kyle (strait).

Sunset behind Tarbert, from the Scalpay end of the Scalpay bridge.

Sunset behind Tarbert, from the Scalpay end of the Scalpay bridge.  There was a large bird of prey – an eagle? – swooping about.  You can just make out its form above the water.

The colours of the sky and the crepuscular rays just seemed to get more and more intense as I went along:

The sunset, continued, from the Isle of Scalpay. April 2016.

The sunset, continued, from the Isle of Scalpay. April 2016.  About 7:15 pm.

And then, the last colours fast receded from the cloud cover:

The North Harbour, a few minutes later. Isle of Scalpay, April 2016.

The North Harbour, a few minutes later. Isle of Scalpay, April 2016.  Looking west towards Tarbert, where the land dips to meet the sea.

That evening, I went to Catriona’s house for a wee visit.  As usual she served me several kinds of baked goods and cakes, as well as tea.  She had a lovely peat fire going, and we sat knitting and talking.  I felt so very privileged.

Catriona's peat fire, complete with wally dogs (and two other smaller porcelain dogs).

Catriona’s peat fire, complete with wally dogs (and two other smaller porcelain dogs).

If you are wondering what a “wally dog” is, they are iconic porcelain dogs that many traditional Scottish houses have near the fireplace.  “Wally” is a Scots word for porcelain.  There was an interesting discussion of the word in the comments of my post on The Tenement House!

And so my three days in Harris were nearly at an end.  I had been pretty busy, really, apart from my morning of reading and knitting on the first day.  But they say “a change is as good as a rest” and besides, meeting up with dear friends was just as important to me as communing with the beautiful colours and landscapes of the Isle of Harris.

In my next post, I’ll take you back to Glasgow – but I don’t blame you if you don’t want to go!

 

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Responses

  1. What a lovely visit and such a sunset

  2. Could you hear me say “WOW,” out loud as I enjoyed the sunset? I enjoyed the whole series of photos and your narrative, and am so happy that you enjoyed your trip and took the time to share it with us 🙂 xx

  3. The sunset is just breathtaking ~ sorry to leave Harris. Thanks for taking me along. ♥

  4. what a wonderful trip for you and thanks for sharing it with us. lovely pictures on this post … makes me want to visit there.

  5. Beautiful!!! I’ll stay on Harris :)) xx

  6. I’m a bit sad that this travel adventure well soon be over. I’ve so enjoyed seeing the different parts of the island where you traveled and the amazing landscape. I absolutely love the photo of sunset at 7:15. The colors of the sky reflecting on the water is stunning. And, I’m looking forward to go to Glasgow! Wishing you a wonderful week. Hugs, Pat

  7. Now that is what I call a sunset, beautiful a real feast for the eyes.

  8. Just can’t get over the beauty of that sunset! (nor the color of that beach you like so much) You are slowly convincing me I need to visit these islands one day. 🙂

  9. Your photos show the Isle of Harris to be beautiful. Hello to you from far away California, I live on the coast and love the sea. I like that you published May’s diaries.

  10. I have loved visiting Harris with you. Thank you.
    L.x.

  11. How lovely to hear all about your trip. Your photo are gorgeous, and your descriptions of Harris always sound so relaxed and dreamy and just lovely – perhaps simply a reflection of how you feel when you’re there. Great that you got to have a nice break and recharge, and I must say I count knitting at an eagle observatory quite an achievement!

  12. I have really enjoyed this little series on your Harris holiday, with such stunning photographs. I visited the Hebrides last summer (a long held dream) and also the Orkneys and Shetland. It was wonderful, and your visit has brought back lovely memories.

    Thank you.

  13. Amazing photos, the scenery was on fire! Thank you for your delightful tour (and I’m looking forward to Glasgow).

  14. Thank you all so much for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the evening with me. The magic of digital photography and the internet! Gracie, did you hear me laughing out loud at your comment?


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