Saturday 29th June 2013
The plan for Saturday was Harris, the southern part of the island of Lewis & Harris.
There was a long list of places we wanted to visit and see in Harris so, after a totally amazing breakfast in Planasker Old School, we set off early.
The road South quickly took us into a more imposing mountainous landscape, in contrast to the moorlands and lochs of East Lewis.
The first stop was Harris Tweed Isle of Harris, which is based at the far end of the bay in Tarbert. There is a shop full of items crafted from the big cloth and a huge store opposite filled with tweeds, yarn and wool.
From here we travelled along ‘The Golden Road’ down the East side of Harris, on the way coming across this abandoned house which we quite fancy! There’s no road access to it but we decided we could swim??!!
Next destination was Drinishader, located here is the purpose built ‘Clo Mor’ Exhibition, which showcases the process of Harris Tweed, photographs, artefacts and designer productions. Well worth a visit, very interesting as well as a lovely place.
We discovered Ardbuidhe Cottage Gallery just across the bay, the beautiful gallery and studio of Willie and Moira Fulton. The paintings exhibited here are simply stunning, the use of light is amazing.
When we first arrived at Drinishader we had noticed a small shed with an open door and a familiar noise coming from it…. A weaver! We had been reliably informed that the weavers are used to curious folk dropping into their sheds, so we decided to chap the door and say hello. We found Roger Goundry, a fabulously friendly double width weaver with an idyllic view from his loom. We had a good old chat about the weaving and he explained the process to us. It’s mind boggling just how complex the loom is with all the different parts, the 1400+ strands of yarn that need to be individually tied and the pattern cards that need to be set for each different design. A real skill.
Leaving Roger to his loom, we carried on along the Eastern coast line of the island to Geocrab. Skoon Art Café had been recommended to us as somewhere to visit, and we would certainly second that recommendation. We got there just around 4 o’clock (a time also known to us as ‘scone o’clock’, since it’s usually around 4pm that we find ourselves seeking out coffee and cake!) The coffee and scones were absolutely delicious and the café itself a lovely comfortable space. The artwork displayed by resident artist Andrew John Craig is breath taking, again the use of light and reflection is amazing. Artists on the Outer Hebrides are certainly not short of inspiration!
Coffee and cake craving satisfied we continued our journey, deciding to cut across the island to Leverburgh rather than going right round the southern tip… we had beaches in our sights. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side, so the bikini and trunks had to stay in the case! However, even with the mist and wind, the impact of the West Harris coastline did not disappoint. Sgarasta Bheag, the dunes and, actually I felt quite emotional when we reached the sign that read, ‘Seilebost’ where we stopped to look at the turquoise waters of the world famous Luskentyre beach!
Windswept and hungry we reached Tarbert, full circle round South Harris. The Hotel Hebrides was the choice for dinner, haggis, neeps & tatties in the lounge bar. The place was pretty crowded with locals and we had great fun people watching.
And so back to the beautiful Marbhig for a glass of wine by the fire and an early night, tired and happy.
To be continued…..