This morning I am in my final Hebridean destination before I return to the mainland and start driving back down South. Yesterday after a 135 mile drive and a ferry journey I reached Stornoway.
By far the largest town in the Outer Hebrides (it even has traffic lights, roundabouts, an Argos and a Tesco), Stornoway is the second largest island town in Scotland, with a population of around 8000.
Getting to Stnornoway involved driving the length of the Uists (up to Berneray where I went a couple of days ago), and getting the ferry to Leverburgh – then it was a 90 minute/56 mile drive to Stornoway.
On the way to Berneray I stopped at the monument to Flora MacDonald’s house. She is famous for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape from Scotland after the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
I arrived in Berneray a couple of hours early for the ferry so I stopped in the village where there is a small gift shop, and – having bought a sandwich in the Co-Op on Benbecula on the way up – I sat on the beach and ate my lunch.
It was a windy day but the beaches on the Eastern side of the islands are usually calmer / more sheltered than the West.
Later in the afternoon I got the ferry from Berneray to Leverburgh on the Isle of Harris, a crossing which takes around an hour. It was about 4pm when we got in. The 56 mile (90 minute) drive to Stornoway went past some great looking scenery.
Compared to the Uists and Barra, where a lot of the roads are single track with frequent passing places, the main road to Stornoway is (mostly) dual track, no need for passing places – the locals overtake a lot. In some ways it is a little bit like being on a Greek island…just not with the weather to match. Even the petrol stations here are like the Greek ones – not self service.
Breakfast at the B&B this morning was one of the specials on their specials board… I started with cereal and toast, then had giant pancakes with bacon and syrup, served with a sausage and black pudding.
It’s a rainy morning but listening to BBC Radio Scotland‘s weather forecast this morning, I think the rain should clear later on (it is heading East to get the Mainland) leaving the Western Isles with something a little drier. I’m probably going to stick around Stornoway this morning, then go out for a bit of a drive this afternoon (weather permitting).