Am up before the dawn to make an 0825 ferry from Leverburgh, on the southern tip of Harris. When booking the ferries for this trip months ago, I hadn’t appreciated the distances involved, and the non-directness of the roads.
Still, the roads were quiet, apart from the promised deer, who were out in force, along with the ubiquitous sheep, and plenty of rabbits.
Just as I officially cross over into Harris, the sun climbs above the hills, and mist rises from lochs and burns. It’s a beautiful sunny morning, and breathtakingly still.
The ferry from Leverburgh weaves through multiple little islands on its way to Berneray. On arrival I refuel with coffee and coffee cake, before driving over to the west beach, parking and walking across the machair and through the dunes.
The west beach is predictably stunning, and stretches all the way up the west side of the island.
Am dog-tired from my early start and the ‘mild’ winds robbing me of sleep the other night. I find a little hollow in the dunes sheltered from the cooling breeze, and catch forty winks in the sunshine.
From there I drive down into North Uist, finding a food van on the west side, which serves me an epic scallops and Stornoway black pudding roll. Plus a traybake. I sit outside with a view across to islands I cannot name, and a crossword that I cannot finish.
After a brief diversion down into Benbecula, I drive to Lochmaddy, and a 1645 ferry to Uig, Skye. Arriving slightly early, I have tea and coffee cake at a nearby cafe before boarding.
I have to nap on the ferry due to the excessive cake-eating.
On arrival into Uig, I find a pub showing the Ireland v Tonga game. The pub smells strongly of wet dog. Watching games in pubs is fun when there’s a large crowd engaged in watching. When you’re almost the only person interested in the game, and have to crane your neck every so often as someone playing pool is blocking your view of the screen, it’s less involving.
Sometime during the first half I retreat back to my Airbnb and watch the rest of the game on a smaller screen. Ireland run out comfortable winners, but there are sterner challenges to come, with South Africa and Scotland due up in the next few weeks.