Monday, 17 October 2016

A week on Harris & Lewis

A month early this year, myself, Spud,Martin,Gordon & Phil armed with all that would fit into my van and Gordons car set off at 23:30 Friday night heading for the Isle of Harris, share a cottage for a week and blow the place apart with some fantastic photography ( well that what we told ourselves ). The ferry left Uist on the Isle of Skye at 09:20ish Sat. morning 1hour and 40 mins. to Harris and a 15 min. drive to our home for the next week in the 'village' of GEOCRAB. 
Unpack when it's dark there's pictures to be taken, first stop Losgaintir beach about a 15 min. drive from the cottage, this beach has a bit of a reputation and yes as beaches go this is a big beach but for me, if you drive to the car park at the end of the road the beach there ( name unknown ) is better with spectacular sand dunes a great skyline and it goes on forever

We spent most of the rest of the day here but as expected my 4 companions who will be known as the colour junkies from here on wanted the traditional sunset at Losgaintir so that's where we ended up at the end of the day and if it happens then it's worth the wait

The first drive back to the cottage in the dark on single track roads which wind like a drunk snake kinda keeps you alert and you will be ready for food when you get home
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 Sunday :- Day 2

Early rise and a drive in the dark to the small island of SCALPY which is joined to Harris by a bridge and get the first of the three lighthouses done, parked the cars and walked about a mile to the lighthouse, yea pretty good location and well worth the visit

The lighthouse buildings are all derelict now but worth exploring for photographic gems ( of which there are plenty ) and a short walk along the coast presents you with some great angles on the lighthouse. On the return from the lighthouse there are various derelict buildings and ship wrecks all of which deserve some time, only problem, the morning light at the lighthouse didn't last and by the time Spud and myself were exploring some wrecks the sky was pretty grey and what little light there was didn't reach where we were but with a little perseverance we left with some OK shots. The plan was to go from there to Huisinis but Spud and I didn't make it that far coz we stopped at what turned out to be an old whaling station of which there is only the chimney left

We called it quits there coz Spud had NO BEER and wanted to get to a shop before they all closed
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Monday :- Day 3

Today was total tourist day
You can't go to this part of the world and not visit and photograph the standing stones at Calanais, ( well some of us can't ). we got there just after 9 Spud had a quick look about and decided there was a derelict house more interesting so off he went, next was Phil, he had a quick look about and decided he needed a latte and a bun and we didn't see him again until we were leaving at about half past 12. we've all seen the photographs of these stones but I thought this was not a bad, simple shot

Martin thought the same and I think Gordon did as well ( so much for being creative ). After a cuppa and and a bite we descended on another stone circle called Cnoc Fillibhir Bheag or ( Calanais 3 to the non Gaelic speakers ), this time in the company of Spud & Phil ( glad you could join us guys )
This site is not fenced off and is in a grazing field so the area around the stones is pretty well chewed up by cattle but still worth the walk

While we are in the area we might as well visit the Caroway Broch and the Black House Village where there are opportunities for selective close ups, then the sky went into overdrive and I was off up the hill looking for some interesting foreground just to get the sky in a photo. ( the jury is still out on that one )
To end our tourist day out the colour junkies wanted another sunset and we ended up at Horgabost beach, I don't do sunsets so I shot another standing stone and another drive home in the dark along the snake trail

This is known as the MacLeod stone and it overlooks the beach at Horgabost

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Tuesday :- Day 4

Yup, you've guessed it, it's another early rise and a drive into the unknown for the sun rising, this morning we are heading south to the bottom of the island to Rodel ( the colour junkies have a plan  :  NOT ), they did what they had to do in the dark, crossed their fingers because we had never been there and I think they were a little disappointed with the location ( crossed fingers always let you down ) Rodel has a quaint wee harbour which might have been ok if the tide had been inand a lovely old church which is worth a visit. Back on the road and the car had already gone when we left destination unknown, when we eventually met up we were asked  Is Martin with you ? answer No, OOPS we better go back and find him then. Back on the road and Spud and I stopped at an old derelict house which looked promising only to find it was shelter to about 50 years worth of sheep dung, 2 dead sheep, some sheep skulls, various sheep bones, an old cooker and some pots & pans, a quick shot of the cooker with the pots & pans then we were gone. East coast for a cuppa and a chat

Couldn't resist this after the house of dead sheep

We ended up back on the fabulous beaches on the east coast for the rest of the day and yes we started the day in the dark so we finished the day in the dark

This is why I don't take sunsets

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Wednesday :- Day 5

Ah Wednesday, a get up when you waken day then a drive to the top of the island to the Butt of Lewis, ( there are three lighthouses and we are going to do them all )

This is number 2

There's a lovely small bay just along the road from the lighthouse which lends itself to a bit of creativity if you can let your head off the leash, there's also a finger stac just by the lighthouse but the sun will only ever light the top quarter so getting a successful photo is a real challenge but you've got to try ( did it work ? don't know yet ! ) There are some great cliff top views and wee coves to explore so we spent the whole day doing just that.

Spud getting wet trying to be arty ( was it worth it ? he didn't say )

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Thursday :- Day 6

Our whole week seems to be up for the sunrise drive about to random places then back to a beach  for the sunset and Thursday was to be no different only this time the colour junkies did some homework ( well Martin looked at the map on Wednesday night and said well go there it's looking straight out to some small islands and the sun should come up right in line, and it did !

I've got to say it was worth the early rise and the location at Loch Ceann Dibig was ok ( well done Martin )
We came across a shed with the legend Alan MacAulay Boatbuilder this place hadn't seen a boat for a lot of years but when we were looking about for " interesting stuff to photograph " we were shoo'd off by the owner, I tried to reason with him and told him we're no gonny nick anything we're Fifers but he wasn't having it so we were back on the road with a sneeky wan for devilment. By this time even Spud had had enough of the sunrise malarky so when the guys were back at Horgabost beach we headed back inland on another mystery tour and came across a smashin we stone built with a red roof in the middle of nowhere

Martin has been looking for this shot all week but he's on the beach ( nae luck Martin ). Spud and I were back at the cottage early so it was feet up, telly on , can of beer :- BRAW
Apparently it was a spectacular sunset ! but we got the wee hoose

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Friday :- Last day

Last day, last lighthouse. The weather had been great all week but today it was heavily overcast and the wind was blowing a hoolie, undaunted we were off destination Stornoway and over to Eye Peninsula where the lighthouse doubles as a boarding kennel and cattery, 

this must be the most scenic kennels/cattery in the world, we spent probably half a day here but the wind was horrendous so we decided to call time and head back down to Geocrab with stops along our map identified 2 sea stacs neither of them was worth the stop and there was always the chance of being blown over the cliff, the next stop was marked as a chambered cairn which might have been 500 years ago but now it's a circle of stones,

 had enough ! going home ! 

Any body thinking of visiting Harris should know one thing
They are everywhere, take care in the mornings , they sleep on the road.

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Saturday :- Going Home

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DISCLAIMER :- All the images on this blog are shot on my compact specifically for this bolg and should not be regarded as proper photographs ( coz they'r in colour )

1 comment:

  1. I like the write up Rab. The name of the first beach is Traigh Rosamol.