Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Hebrides 2012 - Take One (March)

Hebrides 2012 - Take One

Last year, while visiting the Outer Hebrides with the Airstream in the autumn, I went three nights without sleep during a particularly rough spell of weather. By the fourth day I was practically crying, desperate and delusional thanks to a severe lack of sleep.

It was at that point that I decided that any trip to the islands outwith May to September would involve bricks and mortar.

Therefore, for my winter trip in March, hotels and cottages were the order of the day. The dog-friendly Accor Hotel Group once again proved a good choice for night stops on the way up, both at the Ibis in Rotherham and the Etap in Glasgow. Mind you, it took well over one long frustrating hour in Glasgow's notoriously awful road system to get from the motorway to the hotel car park - a distance of about 50 yards as the crow flies.

In Glasgow, I met up with friends Carys and Craig, and we all enjoyed a wonderful evening.

The plan was to sail from Oban the next day. But as we left Glasgow, Carys and I received a text from CalMac to tell us that bad weather had caused cancellation of our ferry. The next one 'might' sail a couple of days later. But Carys only had four days. So we decided that it would be best to take a long drive to Uig in the Isle of Skye and take the substantially shorter and more sheltered crossing to Lochmaddy instead.

It was a long drive that involved a night stop on the Isle of Skye. But as a result we discovered Lochbay B&B. Our host, Johnny, was a lovely guy. Carys, myself, and Dougal spent a wonderful, quite, relaxed evening sprawled out on the carpet reading in front of the open fire. Well, Dougal wasn't reading. He is a dog after all.

The crossing to Lochmaddy passed without event, and the cottage on South Uist was lovely. We enjoyed a wonderful four days walking in the wild weather during the day, and chilling out in front of a roaring fire during the evenings. Absolutely wonderful. And Dougal met his new Best Friend Paddy, the dog that belonged to the groundsman at Askernish Golf Course. They loved playing together.

All too soon Carys had to fly home to get back to work, leaving just me and Dougal to cross over to the Island of Harris and spend a week in the most wonderful, wonderful little cottage you could ever imagine:

The whole week was spent doing more of same… deserted, white, sandy beaches during the day, and roaring fires during the evening. More details about Harris in a later blog entry.

It was bliss. Absolute Bliss.

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