Now Orbit likes to travel…and take me with her….she mentioned Thailand en route and I thought goodness will I make it back on time for work..well she is dynamic right enough…so just trust I guess….
But then I realised what she was talking about. We cycled past the signs to the ferry to Harris, past some houses and then we arrived…and I mean arrived…white sands, sheep with blue tags matching the blue sea, islands in the distance…I knew now what she was talking about..the beach at Berneray had once been used by the Thai Tourist Board for their ad campaigns and I saw why. Truly wonderful!
The Gatliff hostel is also a highlight. A lovely little white washed cottage with an annex. The kitchen has the atmosphere of your gran’s house…warm, the fire on, board games lying about which may or may have all the pieces, half a jigsaw on the table…I grabbed a bunk in the room adjoining the kitchen. Alan had arrived at the same time. I’m not sure what age Alan was but his energy was twice of that most folks half his age! With 6 children and some of those retired I could only guess. He had come with his tent for 3 weeks touring the islands. He loved these islands he said and had come before with his wife cycling and camping all over. We went a walk over to see the point. Alan was faster than me and regaled me with tales of doing mountain marathons with his daughter and trekking across Corsica with his son! A true inspiration indeed!
Skylarks soared above us – why is it impossible to see them??? Are they transparent?
We spent ages in the old cemetry reading the inscriptions and were amazed by the wonderful condition of the gravestones even the old ones.
Tired we went back to the hostel for tea and biscuits. Some others had arrived. A couple – him Scottish, her Italian, I’d met them in Nunton. She’d looked a bit bored and I asked if she was enjoying the trip. She said yes but that there was nothing to do at night. I thought about it then realised she was exactly right and that the fact there was nothing to do at night was what I loved most about a trip like this. The beauty of the scenery and physical tiredness of the day followed by chilling in a wonderful location I (or Orbit) had propelled myself to for the night. I met the guys from Ayr – of the “Eriskay is flat” saga! One of them, Boaby (Bobby but that’s how we say it) had climbed all the munros twice and was on a mission to see all the islands. This trip they’d gone to Mingulay. Chat moved on to Shetland and a Londoner said she had been there and the weather had been awful. Boaby said he’d been there several times and the weather was always awful so I guess that was that!
The Gatliff warden popped along later to collect the fees (£12) and see how we were. Alan remembered her from before and promptly she joined us to partake in some red wine! Like so many folks of the islands, she has more than one job and was dressed in her carer’s outfit to head straight to her next job. The guy at Nunton hostel had a hostel, a croft, a b and b, was a builder….I guess it’s interesting what it takes to survive at what felt like times to be the end of the world!
And with that Orbit and I retired to rest before our next adventure!