I left the island of Lewis on Saturday. I drove south through North Harris to a town called Tarbert* and entered South Harris. If you look at the map below you won’t see that the boundaries between Lewis, the posh end, and North Harris. They are arbitrary. A wee isthmus divides the North Harris from South Harris.
When I arrived end of the highway into Tarbert with brakes smouldering I debated whether or not to fill up with diesel. It was raining so being idle and a bit nesh, I passed on the refuelling. Almost immediately the highway reverted to a cart track. A steep cart track! I was in South Harris.
Whatever the moral downside of having an empire may be; whatever the idle, lazy, incompetent, soft, southern, fat governors are, they are very keen to have their empire mapped properly. Thank the Lord! I pulled up in the first convenient driveway to consult the Ordnance Survey Map. All was well I was on the only road.
The road got thinner as I took the C97 to my destination at Flodabay. The back wheels kept dropping off the blacktop on every sharp bend. I didn’t get out of second gear for five miles. I was feeling a bit frightened when I met a fish freezer truck bowling along towards me at sixty miles per hour. Frightened…I then became terrified…..I hit the passing place with all six wheels locked up and the dogs in a heap round my feet. The fish truck thundered by with a wave and a toot. After changing my trousers and cleaning up as best I could, I settled into the system and got to enjoy the road and scenery. There is a method here, if you spot a bigger vehicle pull over and quickly, if the oncoming conveyance is smaller then just keep going and blast past with a cheery wave and a tap on the horn Think Mr Toad and ‘Wind in the Willows’ Toot Toot!….
In the UK we have ‘A’ roads and ‘B’ roads and bridle ways. Here they have introduced the ‘C’ road a ‘C’ road is like a narrow ‘B’ road, it’s a tarmacked drovers track. They do the job I arrived at Flodabay.
This is a campsite and a very expensive one. It is well worth the money. It takes just four vans, has electric, water, forty acres of bare rock, lochs, bog, orchids and other plants like heather and moss. It has great views over the Minch, an Eagle, two Buzzard, Wheatear, Stonechat, Pipets and some birds I don’t know. The owner is a incommer from Chorley, I’m chest deep in Lancastrians up here. He has fenced the sheep out and is planting as fast as he can go. He is determined to restore his little corner of Harris to the state it was in before the Clearances. He’s been at it for ten years but these things take time. He has stopped land drainage so one can walk on sphagnum moss rafts, it’s absolute heaven though heavy going. I have this temptation to bounce on it. Not a good idea!……If one breaks through then ones welly is full. Even the dogs have learnt to tiptoe across it.
There is just one downside…A great big modern lodge owned by our ruling family. He’s planted Rhododendron in his garden. I only hope the big, daft , elephant eared bugger lives to regret it. His sister-in-law is staying there at the moment and had the cheek to moan because I’d left a light on. It is only dark here for a couple of hours. I didn’t do it on purpose your Highness I was awake and writing. I need light to enable me to place letters in the right order…..Kcuf Fof!. Daft old bat. Fancy Planting Rhododendrons.
This is a grand spot. I came for three days and stopped for seven. I’ve provisionally booked for January. I wish I could have stayed longer. No internet but I did have EE phone. I’ll get an EE dongle for my next visit.
It’s as if the glaciers retreated a few years ago. Rock scraped bare……
A Four Spot Chaser. I did have one hot, windless half day. There were several of these patrolling their territory and occasionally falling out. They kept me amused whilst waiting for the illusive otter. For my part I did my bit for the midges by providing food for pregnant females. Irritating little devils they are.
I’ll hunt some more snaps out for tomorrow and get catching up.