Monday 1st July 2013
Our final day on the Hebrides started again with a hearty breakfast at the Old School. We had a lovely chat with our host Heather, only to discover that amazingly we live next door to Martin’s (Heather’s husband) Aunt and Uncle! It certainly is a small world, all the way to the remoteness of Mharbhig and we discover this connection. We packed up the car and reluctantly managed to tear ourselves away.
Our flight home was not until the evening so we set out to squeeze in as much as we could before then. We wanted to return to the Harris Tweed Mill in Carloway to stock up on some tweed, and also to travel up to Eoropaidh in the very North of the island.
We took the road across to the West and then forked North, pretty much as far as you can drive. Eoropie Tearoom was a welcome sight for a lovely cup of coffee and piece of cake (and it wasn’t even scone o’clock!). We follow their Facebook page which, if you enjoy photos of epic night skies and the Northern Lights, I highly recommend checking out.
There is a huge play park at Eoropaidh which the kids would love, it looks very fun. However we restrained ourselves from having a shot on the climbing frames and headed down to the beach. What a beach! It’s a fairly strenuous walk up and down the sand dunes, but it is definitely worth the burning thighs.
The first glimpse you get is just through a space in the dunes which gives you a small taster for what’s to come. The sheer enormity and force of the Atlantic crashing onto the beach is nothing short of breath-taking. We stood in silence for a long time, mesmerised. As always, it’s very difficult to capture the true feeling, but we tried!
Another beautiful, natural feature of this area is the machair, which are fertile low lying grassy plains. The sand and crushed shells are blown by the huge Atlantic winds onto the grasslands and result in a very rich and unique habitat, which supports a diverse range of flowers, insects and wildlife.
Windswept, and with sand in every nook and cranny, we drove back down to the Carloway mill. We spoke with DK again and after a lot of deliberation settled on a few gorgeous tweeds to take home with us. We could have left all our clothes and filled the cases with tweed, but in the end decided against it. Before going to the airport we made a last stop in Stornoway town centre and popped into the town hall, which just so happens to be home to the Harris Tweed Authority HQ. We had a quick chat and even got into the board room! Devastatingly we didn’t have the camera with us but you can see pictures of it on the HTA website, there’s tweed chairs, a tweed table, a tweed stags head, it’s so cool. We took a couple of photos of the outside of the building, which is rather pretty too.
And so it ends, we travelled back to the airport with heavy hearts.
We must take the opportunity to thank some people who really made our trip – Heather and Martin at Planasker Old School for such a warm welcome and looking after us so well, Kay at Hebrides.co.uk for her inspiring emails with suggestions of places to go, the Harris Tweed Authority especially Jenny MacLeod for arranging our tour of the mill (and all the other support she has given us), DK at the Carloway mill for showing us around and generally being a nice guy and Roger Goundry for welcoming us into his loom shed. The people who live on these islands are so proud and enthusiastic about showing visitors the best the Hebrides have to offer and it isn’t hard to see why. (Also have to mention that the soundtrack to our trip was mainly the album ‘All The Roadrunning’ by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, which was perfect!)
What a place, we will be back very soon…