Posted by: christinelaennec | April 30, 2016

Car, ferry, bus, trains: back home to Glasgow

All too soon it was the last morning of my getaway.  I had relished every minute of respite.  I’d done quite a bit of knitting, seen dear friends, loved being out and about on Harris, read part of Jung’s autobiography, as well as about dowsing and Near Death Experiences.  It was just what I needed to put my and our current situation into a good perspective.

One of the things I enjoyed about staying at Two Harbours Guest House is their beautiful Portmeiron ‘Botanicals’ china.  Not only do I love that pattern because I love flowers, but it was the favourite china of a beloved childhood friend of mine, Diane.  She is long gone but is never forgotten.  (You can see a photo of her and me when I was 18 at the bottom of this post.) Diane would have loved this breakfast table:

Breakfast table at Two Harbours Guest House, Isle of Scalpay.

Breakfast table at Two Harbours Guest House, Isle of Scalpay.

I said goodbye – but not for too very long because I intend to bring Sean a book when we’re back this summer.  I drove first to Callanish, where I nodded hello to the stones but went on to a friend’s house for a lovely visit.  She was widowed less than a year ago, and her faith, fortitude and humour are very inspirational to me.  After a lovely elevenses of freshly-baked scones and homemade jam, I drove across to Stornoway, where I left my little hire car.

I found a good seat on the observation deck of the ferry, and enjoyed watching the view as we pulled away.  Here you can see Lews Castle behind the houses of Stornoway.  It sits within a pretty woodland – as you know, trees are a special thing on the Outer Hebrides.

Leaving Stornoway on the ferry. Lews Castle is in the background. April 2016.

Leaving Stornoway on the ferry. Lews Castle is in the background. April 2016.

The crossing was beautiful:

The Shiant Isles seen from MV Loch Seaforth, crossing the Minch back to Ullapool. April 2016.

The view from MV Loch Seaforth, crossing the Minch back to Ullapool. April 2016.

View from the ferry. April 2016.

View from the ferry:  the Shiant Islands, off the coast of Harris.  April 2016.

I was interested in this board, and surprised (in my ignorance) at how many people were on shift:

It takes a lot of people to run a ferry! MV Loch Seaforth, April 2016.

It takes a lot of people to run a ferry! MV Loch Seaforth, April 2016.

The bus to Inverness was waiting just outside the ferry terminal and soon we were on our way:

Snow-capped hills as the bus heads from Ullapool to Inverness. April 2016.

Snow-capped hills ahead as the bus heads from Ullapool to Inverness. April 2016.

A striking rainbow accompanied us part of the way:



I had a bit of time in Inverness before the train to Glasgow, and then I was on my way south.  The sunset was far prettier than I managed to capture in any of my through-the-window photos:

Sunset over the Monadh LIadh mountains south of Inverness. April 2016.

Sunset over the Monadh Liadh mountains south of Inverness. April 2016.

I changed trains in Perth, and was home by midnight.  I was met with hugs and kisses, presents were given out, and we all got to bed late.  The Dafter and Michael had done very well.  It was a big contrast with my first solo trip to Harris two years ago.  The Dafter was nearly completely bedbound back then, and Michael hardly spoke for the first 24 hours after I had returned, he was so exhausted from being the full-time carer for five days.  This year, although they were both glad to see me, they weren’t enormously worse for my absence.

Home again! The garden greets me. Early April 2016.

Home again! The garden greets me. Early April 2016.

Life immediately became quite stressful and complex, for various reasons including the Dafter having a bad cold and a downturn, and Michael needing to go off the following week. My holiday soon seemed like a dream!  But doing these blog posts has brought it back to me, and I’ve been able to recover the sense of peace and well-being that I had at the end of my trip.

Thank you all for coming along with me on my most recent trip to Harris.  We are hoping to go as a family in August, so it’s not too long to wait until our next Harrisian adventure.



  1. C’est toujours difficile de revenir, surtout lorsque les choses ne sont pas simples. J’admire la façon avec laquelle vous arrivez toujours à retrouver le chemin du positif -ici écrire cet article- mais je me doute bien qu’il vous faut aussi une grande dose de courage pour le faire !
    Beau service à vaisselle en effet, encore embelli par le souvenir de votre amie. J’aime beaucoup la vaisselle à fleurs, une raison supplémentaire pour conserver celle de mon arrière-grand-mère ! Il y a deux ans j’ai pu admirer celle de la famille royale danoise à Copenhague : une pure merveille qui vous plairait beaucoup ! Je vous souhaite de passer une meilleure semaine et vous envoie un brin de muguet (virtuel !), sensé porter chance, comme on le fait ici en France tous les 1er mai…

    • Vous êtes très gentille, Annie. Oui en effect quelquefois il faut que je me secoue un peu, pour prendre courage! Merci pour le brin de muguet virtuel – the muguet ici est encore vert, mais il pousse!

  2. Isn’t memory a wonderful thing? It’s great to be able to relive happy times, and amazing how much enjoyment you can get from recalling holiday, even long after they’ve been and gone. Thank you for taking us with you on this delightful tour, I feel as if I’ve had a little holiday myself and that’s a lovely thing to give to others through your blog. I’m already looking forward to your next one. 🙂

  3. Your little trips are always a delight to read and come along with you for, a delightful reminder of such an amazing place. I am so glad that you are able to get some respite care for yourself. It is wonderful that you are planning a family holiday, I pray that the Dafter is fit enough for travel. Take care.

  4. I am glad you had that dream holiday, Christine. This felt really special. I looked for a long time at that beautiful table with the china. Wonderful that your family fared better than two years ago, but it sounds like the challenges continue. So good to hear you’re taking some time for yourself. That feels so important.

  5. I do not often comment, but I enjoy following along with your blog and adventures. My mother is a full time caregiver and so I have some idea of what it is like, having helped her out from time to time. I am impressed with the efforts and strength of yourself and also your daughter! It is interesting to follow along. I do not know if I will ever be able to visit Harris, but I enjoy the vicarious visit through your posts! Thank you and best wishes and prayers for continued good healing for your shoulder and your daughter!

  6. It is wonderful that your memories of your latest trip to Harris are helping you cope with another downturn in your current life circumstances, Christine, and I am happy you are looking forward to another trip to Harris in August. The weather was so warm today we had our first cookout! I also posted a series of photos of some of our latest duck sightings. Wishing you and yours a Happy May 🙂 xx

  7. Thank you all so much for your kind comments. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed this little trip to Harris. And yes, memory is a very powerful helper. Thank you for all your good wishes and indeed prayers for healing. Lynne, I’m pleased to say that my shoulder is 99% healed now!

  8. Am about to head off on my “respite trip” in two days time. It’s come up quite quickly but that is because there has been so little time to think about it. 🙂 Homeschool ended yesterday! Now there is summer to think about which of course I always dream about as being relaxing and restful. I’ll need to strategize ways to make sure that I do find some rest….And am also looking forward to writing a letter too!
    So glad you had such a wonderful trip! I do love the botanical china too as my aunt had it growing up (still has it) and my friend I am staying with this week in NYC also has it!! 🙂

  9. Late commenting as usual! You should be employed by the Harris tourist board for making people want to visit. And there is nothing more enticing than a lovely breakfast table.

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