Yesterday was the one dry day we’ve had in the Western Isles since I got here at the weekend, and I spent the day doing a road trip to Berneray – a round trip of 150 miles.
After breakfast I got in the car and set off. I didn’t make it far, as the road had been flooded overnight and was closed; I drove around a bit trying to see where I could stop until it was open (there was no diversion) and eventually made it to the Cladh Hallan Roundhouses and the beach nearby.
Later I made it through the flood; The water level had dropped enough that I could drive through it, with a briefing from the Coastguard before doing so (at own risk, take your time, keep to the right, etc). My next stop was the very interesting Kildonan Museum, the South Uist Cultural Heritage Centre which is all about the history of the people and lifestyle of South Uist.
Next I drove in to Balivanich, the largest village on Benbecula where I stopped briefly at one of the local tourist shops.
My next stop was Baleshare, an island off North Uist, where there is a long sandy beach. The afternoon was Sunny so this made for a decent stop, where I could get the chair out and sit and read for a bit. I made the most of it – the rain is expected to return from Thursdsay onwards.
Then it was on to Lochmaddy, the largest village on North Uist, to get some cash from the cashpoint (probably the cashpoint with the best view in the country), and I got some lunch while in the village too.
I continued my journey North and arrived at the small island of Berneray, where I saw the gray seal colony and had a little walk around the village. I’ll be back on Berneray later today, to get the ferry over to Harris & Lewis.
Making my way back South as BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Newsdrive‘ programme came on the radio, it didn’t really feel like an evening rush hour. On empty single track roads on these islands, you can get up quite some speed and travel quite some distance without seeing another vehicle.
On the way back I stopped at the Barpa Langass, a 5000 year old burial chamber – the earliest evidence of humans in the Outer Hebrides. Once back on South Uist I then stopped briefly at Loch Druidibeg on the road to Loch Skipport where there is a nature reserve and plenty of space to walk about and see the island wildlife… including the famous friendly wild ponies.
I came across the ponies while driving back to the main road and one of them came up to the car and stuck its head through my window. So I pulled in to the next passing place (strictly speaking not meant to park there) and got out the car to take some photos – the whole lot of them followed the car and came over for a chat…
In the evening, I had a curry at the hotel and then retired to my room just in time to watch The Nine on the BBC Scotland channel. It has been an interesting dsay politically, as I had been hearing on the radio all day. Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson had been the main subject on the radio all evening.
Today, quite a drive again – I’ve got a ferry to catch from Berneray this afternoon and my final destination is Stornoway, the largest town in the Outer Hebrides. It will feel like London compared to where I’ve been the last few days!