Never on a Sunday…or a Monday for that matter! (Part 4)

22 Oct

Cheese and Pickled Guga

Having left the play park to its Sunday observance we hit the beach, where The Fatdog rampaged her way (in a most irreverent manner) across the broad expanse of pale sand.  FD loves going to the beach and will happily chase her ball until exhaustion sets in.  She did look a tad guilty having enjoyed herself so much, so kept a wary eye on the path from the play park in case of pitch fork wielding zealots.

Now that's what I call a beach!

The Fatdog prepares to pursue the ball.

Our walk begins in earnest on the cliffs at the south end of the beach...

...but comes to an abrupt halt when we stop to stare at the turquoise blue of the sea. Hebridean beaches are beautiful creatures of turquoise sea and pale, pale sand stretching out much longer than their mainland cousins. Throughout our trip we were unable to resist their call.

Eventually we get under way and head north to the headland and the lighthouse.

Here's where we are today.

The badly drawn orange line should give you a reasonable indication of our route...

...and this is the trail we're following (in part).

The Mushroom at the End of the World. While J and The Fatdog spent their time striding off across the springy turf, I spent most of my time trying to catch up as the camera was hauled in and out of its pack at regular intervals.

Heading along the north coast to the lighthouse. Views on Scotland’s west coast are generally interrupted by the overlapping profiles of long craggy islands but here, on the tip of Lewis, with empty horizons to the west and north it felt like we’d discovered the edge of the world. It was odd standing there looking at…nothing. The novelty ensured we stopped and stared every few minutes as we made our way around the coast towards the lighthouse.

The lighthouse...

...with a Stevenson connection

A tiny lochan...with a very BIG view. Is there anything out there?

Our circular tour must have covered about 5km before we arrived back at the car and set off to find a spot to eat our packed lunch.

A couple of miles distant, Port Nis provided an excellent bench and viewpoint.

A bench with a view...and a 20m stroll to the toilet!

As the waves crashed in towards the beach beyond the little harbour, we met a soft accented islander who described how we were looking at the setting off point to Sula Sgeir for the guga hunt.  Apparently the tradition still continues though he was of the opinion that it had more to do with a rite of passage than the provision of a luxury food item.

I recalled seeing a recent article where the Scottish SPCA charity petitioned the Scottish Government regarding this local practice of snaring and clubbing young gannets which were then cooked as a delicacy.  The Government found in favour of the hunters saying it was not cruel if done competently and was not a threat to gannet stocks.

It’s difficult to comprehend that it’s a tradition that most right thinking people would like to see continued as it appears to serve no purpose than to allow psychopaths to go and kill things for pleasure.  One for the obscurity of time I hope.

If you want to hunt a guga here's where you begin. Sad that somewhere so beautiful is the launch point for an unedifying slaughter.

Our lunch spot above the harbour was immediately adjacent to the restaurant of the man from Wagga Wagga (mentioned in an earlier post) and the menu did indeed look appealing.  Sadly, with it being closed both Sunday and Monday, we would not be exploring its possibilities this trip.  J stared at the menu longingly.

Our packed lunch was a bit of a disaster.  Well it was for me.  Our hosts had picked me up wrong when I had said “anything but pickle” when asked about lunch and had provided truly magnificent cheese…and pickle (groan) sandwiches.  It was Sunday on Lewis with sod all chance of finding anything else to eat…and my lunch contained one of my few culinary dislikes.  My bottom lip started to quiver.  Fortunately our goody bag contained lots of fruit, choccy-biccies and 4 huge slabs of fruity flapjack.  J sighed, stuffed a banana and a slab of flapjack in my hand, and wellied straight into the cheese and pickle.  Urgh…I sidled towards the other end of the bench.

I managed to make my emergency flapjack rations last through the following 2 days…until disaster struck on Tuesday.  But that’s for another “Tail”.

Attached to, and possibly part of, the restaurant were spotlessly clean toilets…and open on a Sunday!  This proved to be a feature of the islands in general, as everywhere we went we found toilets always open and always well maintained.

Next time we’ll be visiting black houses, a broch and stone circles…and probably more toilets.  I know…(yawn)…you can hardly wait!


Posted by on October 22, 2010 in The Islands


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

  1. Florene

    October 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Clay’s doc has OKd our taking the next trip to our northern California vacation spot.
    We’ll be there Nov 7-14. We’re not great hikers, that is, Clay can hardly walk from
    the garage into the house! We rent the same oceanfront home and live like a king and queen for a week, twice a year. Will send you a few photos of our last trip so you can see why we love it so much. However….. I’d also love to walk along the headlands you just visited.


  2. fatdogwalks

    October 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Glad to hear Clay’s been ok’d for a hol…excellent! 😀

    Looking forward to seeing the photos Florene…never been south of Canada myself.

    Most of the time it’s pretty blowy on these headlands (so I was told). Not sure they get many days like that one. Still, not complaining. 😀

  3. Mike Knipe

    October 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I must say that those beaches are particularly special. Its a pity that they’re so far from KnipeTowers. But both me and superdawg are drawn… we are making plans…

  4. fatdogwalks

    October 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Well worth the visit Mike…just wait and hand-pick the weather if you can. We didn’t book up until we were sure of at least 3 days sunshine. I doubt the weather is this benign very often. 😀

  5. Tessa Park

    October 24, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Lovely beaches there. Bet the sea would have been cold though!

  6. fatdogwalks

    October 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    My feet never touched the water so I’ve no idea how cold it was.

    Never mind I have an idea…I’ll ask Maisie…just a minute…

    …Maisie says…eh…”woof”! 😳


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