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.
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…
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.
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.