Should we go? Yeah, go on then…
When the country is being battered by ‘The Beast from the East’ and there are red weather warnings being issued for as long as anyone can remember its probably not wise to embark on 1200+ miles of driving in four days. Turns out we were either very lucky and dodged the snow or the media and news like to scare us. Probably a bit of both. We had some problems getting to Martin’s house on Thursday evening; a 35 mile Woodhead drive tuning into a meandering slow going 100 mile head scratching journey.
Car packed to the hilt and some sleep at Martin and Karen’s house bagged we were off for 04:45 Friday morning. Making good time and hitting Glencoe earlier than expected we could relax knowing we would make the ferry crossing from Uig, north Skye, over to Uist and then up to Berneray.
Having arrived early at Uig we had time for a short drive over to the Quiraing for a look at that famous view. Very windy and very cold but wow, what a view.
We boarded the ferry at Uig and made our way to Lochmaddy, North Uist. A 13 mile drive north over the causeway onto Berneray got us to the Gatliff Trust Youth Hostel around 20:00. A long day but well worth it. A brilliant building with low door frames, a thatch roof and 3 foot thick walls with a view out onto the sea. Awesome.
The following morning I sneaked in a short 3 mile jog sniffing in some quality air. After some good breakfast we headed out to explore the small Island. Here is the link to have a look at. We took in the two ‘peaks’ on the Island, had our sandwiches on the beach, saw a beached minke whale (an odd one to witness that) and got harassed by a flock of black sheep.
Afterwards we cooked up some good food, lit a fire in the wood burner and chatted until tired. Aside from our group there was one other chap staying there for one night before moving on named Alistair. A Glaswegian who was semi retired and now a piano tuner. His visit to the Hebrides was both pleasure and business as he toured the Islands tuning pianos as he went. Brilliant.
Should we go back?
The following day was an early start to catch the ferry up to Leverburgh on Harris. We set sail before we had paid our travel and upon doing so learned that the only boat back would be as soon as we got there. The afternoon sail home had been cancelled due to a bad weather forecast (we were in the midst of the beast from the east after all!). With that now in mind we had a decision to make. Come back to Berneray as soon as we arrived at Harris or, stay on Harris for the night and make our way back in the morning before we headed home. Martin had a good idea of where we could stay, another youth hostel in Rhenigidale. So, leaving all our gear in the Berneray hostel for the night we headed up through Harris stopping off at what has to be one of the most picturesque places there is, Luskentyre. A great walk and look round a place where we didn’t see another soul whilst we were there. Saw a sea otter and some snowy mountains off into the distance though. We had a play on the beach and climbed some massive sand dunes. What a place to visit. From Luskentyre we made our way over to Rhenigidale’s youth hostel to claim our beds. We’d have to raid the ‘free food’ box later on as we didn’t plan for staying there! Before the light faded away we climbed a decent mountain called Todun. Cold and brilliant. Some picture of the day’s events below.
We’d stopped off at a pub for a bite after Luskentyre where the owner took pity on our story and gave us a loaf of bread to put us on. It was Sunday and so no where was open for us to stock up on provisions that we had back on Berneray. Whilst there we heard a tune being played, The Gael by The Vatersay Boys. That was that, played on repeat for 95% of the time we were in the car thereafter. True sounds of Scotland and the Islands.
After another early start, this time to get back to the ferry terminal, we made our way back to Berneray to pick up our belongings then the drive down North Uist to Lochmaddy where we caught the ferry back over to Uig, Skye. After that it was all about making our way back towards home, a long drive whilst listening, of course, to The Gael.
A brilliant long weekend. This was all back in early March 2018 and I’m only just finishing writing it up in February 2019! Poor. Found the motivation to get it done as in 3 days we’re off again up to the Hebrides for another adventure. Over and out.