Sunday, June 29, 2008

Western Isles: Berneray

I spent Friday night and Saturday night on Berneray, an island about 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles at widest. It's home to about 130 people, is joined to North Uist by a causeway and has a ferry link to Harris.

Since the weather had improved, I pitched my tent at the youth hostel, after clearing away the sheep crap littering the ground first. The first night was good camping, but the second night the wind changed direction so that I was in the brunt of it. I was impressed with my wee Tesco tent - it shook like mad but it didn't collapse or come uprooted. It did make sleeping a bit harder that night - I used my earplugs to block out the noise of the flapping nylon.

I walked all around the island one day, going anti-clockwise from the youth hostel. It only took me about 4 hours and that was not at full tilt.

Looking out over a sizeable chunk of Bernerary from the top of one of its hills.After the rain stopped on the West Beach; it runs for about 3 miles up the west side of the island.
I would bet that there's more sheep on Berneray than people.
Houses along the island's main road.

I left the island Sunday. I was taking the ferry from Lochmaddy on North Uist to Uig on Skye. That particular ferry runs on Sundays, but nothing else does. It was about 10-12 miles from the hostel to the ferry, so I decided that I would walk that Sunday morning as my ferry wasn't until 11:50am. It wouldn't have been a bad walk except that the weather turned bad again and the wind blew fierce, against my direction of travel, and there was heavy rain much of the time just to make it that bit extra special. Needless to say I ended up wet; waterproofs are only waterproof for so long. I've been drier after soaking in a bath. It took me 3.5 hours in those conditions to reach the ferry terminal and the only thought that kept me going was that I could be dry again. I couldn't even have hitched a lift if I'd tried; the only traffic I encountered was going the opposite direction to me.

Anyway, I did make it, changed all my clothes but having only one pair of boots spent the rest of the day travelling to Inverness with slowly-drying feet.

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