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Never on a Sunday…or a Monday for that matter! (Part 2)

17 Oct

I thought a map might come in handy.  😀

I’ve labelled what were to be the main events of the trip to make things a bit easier to follow and if I remember 🙄 I’ll refer to the map as the story progresses.

The map of our trip with a few of the walks shown in red

Leaving Uig – and arriving on Harris…

Like a great many others we arrived early at the ferry port of Uig to catch the 6.00 pm Saturday ferry from Skye to Harris.  We thought…let’s have a spot of dinner (or at least a cuppa and a bun) before we get on the ferry.  Now here’s the rub.  As I’ve already mentioned, the ferry leaves at 6pm.  So why are places selling food either shut or not selling food to 6.30?  Given the economic downturn and the fact that there ain’t many people about (other than at ferry time) it seems more than a trifle bizarre that you would want to shut up shop when the ferry port is at its busiest!  We began to wonder if Calmac (the island ferry monopoly) had “encouraged” local food providers to be “unavailable” until the ferry had left  to ensure the travelling public had to eat in their foul smelling on board “restaurant”.  I swear to God the stench of vinegar lashed fried food from that place ensured my stomach stayed at the other end of the boat for the whole trip across the North Minch.

With the cafeteria out of bounds of my nasal passages, dinner thus comprised blueberry muffins from the coming Sunday’s emergency supply.  Given the Western Isles fearsome reputation for Sunday shutdown we had taken the precaution of bringing a rather large bag of goodies should nothing be open.   It wasn’t a particularly health conscious mix of edibles but it would keep us going if need be.

To allow us a bit of freedom on the boat The Fatdog was left in her spacious apartment in the back of “The Tank”.  While FD’s apartment may have been spacious the space between cars and between cars and bulkheads was miniscule.  Vehicles were packed in like sardines.  Ours was jammed against the door to the stairs which meant that squads of frustrated passengers were forced to squeeze awkwardly past, no doubt considering how big a scratch they could make along the bodywork without being noticed.

But the sunset made us forget the pressures of the car and cafeteria.  Our stomachs may have been rumbling but to watch the sun go down from the deck of a boat is something special.

Darkness had fallen by the time we drove down the ramp of the ferry and onto the island of Harris.  Our first culture shock came very quickly…

SteÒrnabhagh

That’s what the road sign at the T-junction said.  I opted for the right turn…right meant north.  What the jumble of letters and consonants meant was purely speculative.  I could see we weren’t in Kansas any more.  It was dark and we had a seventy mile drive in front of us to the B&B at Galson on the north west coast of Lewis…hopefully the journey wouldn’t require any decisions based on my knowledge of the Gaelic.  We were strangers in our own country.

Other than a wrong turn in  SteÒrnabhagh (Stornoway) the drive was fairly uneventful, well…other than through the mountain section of Harris.

“Bloody sheep!”

There they were dozing in the middle of the main road, the ferry traffic waltzing around them, counting cars until they dropped off into a peaceful slumber oblivious to their impending demise.  Why they should feel so secure in this precarious position is impossible to fathom, for who can tell the mind of a sheep.  1…2…3…4…zzzzz.

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4 Comments

Posted by on October 17, 2010 in The Islands

 

4 responses to “Never on a Sunday…or a Monday for that matter! (Part 2)

  1. Simon

    October 17, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    SteÒrnabhagh: I have an acquaintance whose parents were born on Lewis and live a few miles out of Stornaway. Their opinions of public money being spent on Gaelic road signs is not really repeatable on a (more or less) family friendly web site! (I should add that Gaelic is the first language of them both.)

     
  2. fatdogwalks

    October 19, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Street lighting in rural areas seems to be another issue. I was amazed at how many strung out hamlets had street lighting. I suspect that it had more to do with the requirements for the application of speed limits than public demand. I got the distinct impression the lights weren’t wanted.

     
  3. Linda

    October 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I visited the Western Isles 4 years ago. Myself and a friend took the ferry from Berneray to Harris. I bet it was the same sheep on the road that we encountered driving from Harris to Lewis, as they just did not want to move and looked at us as if we were daft!

    Fantastic picture of the sunset, which are are spectacular from these islands.

     
  4. fatdogwalks

    October 20, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    We travelled from Harris to Berneray later in the trip…a wonderful ferry journey weaving in and out the small islands! 😀

    Can’t possibly be the same sheep Linda 😯 …they can only have a life expectancy of weeks on that road! 😉

     

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