By Bernie Bell
“We’ve been together now, for 25 years, and it don’t seem a day too loooong………………………”
Monday 7th May – our 25th wedding anniversary! On which we drove down to North Harris. On the way to Tarbert, we stopped for a woodland walk which includes Loch na h’Aibhne Ruaidhe, with a heronry in nearby trees, and reflections in the still water. A very peaceful place.
We then stopped in Tarbert for lunch, found the Tarbert charity shop – I can always find the charity shop – and got some Frankincense scented soap and two C.D.’s. We then had lunch in the Hotel Hebrides, which is in the main street of Tarbert, by the water. It was very good indeed – lovely food, big helpings, and though the waiters were very busy (Bank Holiday Monday), they took it all in their stride and were friendly, pleasant and efficient. I told them I’d give them a mention in TON – so here it is!
Full of good food, we carried on to Scalpay Island, and walked to the Eilean Glas lighthouse. It’s a good walk – views, small pools of still water,
Hills near and far, and …the sea.
We reached the lighthouse, or should I say lighthouses. There are two, the more ‘modern’ Stevenson one, and the original one which was first lit in 1789 and is now an ancient monument. I took a pic of the tops of the two of them, together, which was the only way I could get them both in one picture, but I think it looks groovy that way!
There’s a bothy near the lighthouses, and in the bothy there’s a shelf, and on that shelf is a slim volume by Robert MacFarlane entitled ‘ The Gifts of Reading’.
There’s a label in the front, telling of how Mr. Mac. has donated these books, to be placed in bothies, read, and passed on, to raise awareness of those people who have no-where permanent to stay, nowhere to call home, one ‘bothy’ to another – if they’re lucky.
Pat Law has distributed them, and asked folk to let her know where and when they came across the book. We left the book in the bothy, as my pockets were full of stones, twine, tissues, pruck bags, cough sweets, camera, and the other paraphernalia that a bear carries. Mike’s pockets were also full, with the over-flow of my stones, maps, and other sensible things. I’ll let Pat know where and when we encountered the book, though, and also Mr. Mac, as I should imagine that he’d like to know, too.
And now from the sublime, to the silly stuff. According to the OS map, we should have been able to complete a circuit walk, by following the blue-topped posts from the area of the lighthouse, along the coast. This was a snare and an illusion. We started off, fine, with clear marker posts and a defined stony bit to the beginning of the walk, then we ran out of blue-topped posts. We carried on anyway, until we were stopped in our tracks by a big wall, which ended in a steep drop into the sea!
So we walked back the way we had come, which, as always, meant that we saw things from a different angle, and saw some things which we hadn’t noticed on the way out. Still, I’d rather not have had this fruitless, boggy diversion! The circular path might work if approached from the opposite direction? Who knows! It didn’t work for us.
We headed for home, noticing the big standing stones on the far side of the bridge to Bernera, and deciding to stop by to say “hello” to them another day. Then, near Croir, we saw two Golden Eagles gliding gently over the hill – TWO GOLDEN EAGLES!
No’ a bad way to spend a silver wedding anniversary. No silver exchanged hands, but Mike did find me a nice, bright orange fishing float near the lighthouse.
This is part VI of a series of articles written by Bernie Bell about her trip to The Western Isles. Use the search button to find more.