The second leg of the Harris drive is even better than the first for one good reason.
The giants of Luskentyre and Horgabost are simply W.O.W. as they appear into view, cutting deep into the coast and bathed in seas of marine and green. And as you travel along the west coast there lie other, smaller but just as beautiful versions to find and explore. The campsites looked busy and the road to Leverburgh was full of walkers and cyclists enjoying themselves.
The harbour was reached before long, a right turn taken at a large Free Church, occupied at that time of day by fine singers and pious people. I sinfully made my way to the ferry terminal however and spent the next hour watching tourists arrive to try the door of the Anchorage restaurant hungrily despairing at the lack of an open cafe. Smugly brewing my own, a thought about setting up shop passed and then went back to my book.
The ferry to Berneray weaves it’s way through turquoise shallows, hanging lefts and rights all the way to it’s destination. It’s a wonderful wee, flat-bottomed boat and on a day like that, a pleasure to sit outside and up front on.
Arriving on Berneray, I’d planned to drive and explore it and North Uist but a glimpse at the fuel level put paid to that idea. The tank hadn’t been filled since Stornoway and had guzzled a ridiculous amount since then sitting almost in the red. Bugger. And on a Sunday there was no chance of refuelling. Where to go to camp having never been into the Uists before? And could I get there and then to Lochmaddy without conking out? The tent is damp too and I’ve one packet of food left…
So the difficult, brave and selfless decision was made to proceed directly to Lochmaddy Hotel, procure their cheapest single room and then prop up the bar for the Wimbledon final. Bear Grylls stylee. And that’s what happened. Three pints of Skye Brewery’s Red Cuillin Ale and a good bit of tennis later, I retired to take a long shower and promptly fell asleep on a comfy bed until morning.
Morning brought a Full Scottish of locally made sausages, Stornoway black pudding, free range egg, mushrooms, beans and bacon washed down with coffee and fresh orange. The first hot food not reconstituted with water in a bag for a week. Tasted amazing.
With an hour or so until the ferry arrived meant a visit to the exhibition at Taigh Chearsabhagh, Wanderings With A Camera: Photographs Of Erskine Beveridge. Then it was time to head for home.
A ferry taken from Lochmaddy to Uig, Skye then, after filling the tank, a straight five hour drive through Skye, Fort William, Glencoe and finally past Loch Lomond in the pissing rain and stuck behind idiot drivers pretty much all the way to dirty, ugly Glasgow…