The Scottish Highlands - 2005
Part 2

June 12

Map of northern Scotland & the Hebrides

Our last day on the Isle of Skye

We set out from Portree to look around for a good hike, having Quirang in mind.  Driving north along the coast, we passed by the Old Man of Storr, which looked just a wee bit different under the morning clouds.

On the way up north to the east side of the Trotternish peninsula, we first made a stop at this viewpoint, Kilt Rock, with a perfectly free falling waterfall.

The light on the water in the background was stunningly beautiful but of course the picture was taken against the sparse light there was on this cloudy morning.

On this not very promising morning, we were in no particular hurry to set out on a hike. So we somehow got sidetracked and ended up at a delightful hotel for well-to-do citizens 
farther up north where we had tea and delicious scones. After this little detour we went back down south a bit and set out on our walk at the Quiraing.

Here is Siv setting out on the path that ran all along the eastern side of the mountain John taking a picture of the skyline to the east.

We are getting closer to the end of our hike and can see the water off the east coast, towards the Scottish mainland, in the background. And here in the background is the 'Prison' where I sat down and rested while John went on a little way to see if there was a stunning view beyond the scree. I was clever enough to try to walk up to the top of the 'Prison' in a deep gully and it pretty much knocked me out. I never got there and I should never have tried.

We hadn't known what to expect of this walk, but it was stunningly beautiful. Also, as it happened almost regularly,
the sun came out in the early afternoon and we had this gorgeous view towards the north.

A look north from the point where John went while Siv was resting after the horrid climb in the gully. View onto the path we had come, taken as we started back.

We drove across the Trotternish peninsula towards the west coast and stopped by the Tote Stone, Clach Ard
, a Pictish symbol stone (fenced in) on the left. From there, we went on to Uig and more or less followed the west coast before cutting back east to Portree.

Harris & Lewis
Ferry from Uig to Torbert, Harris on June 13

View  back on the bay at Uig, looking south on the day we left Skye for Harris & Lewis. Before leaving by the ferry that took us to Tarbert on Harris from Uig, we bought a couple of nice ceramic things in a gift shop to take back to France and Sweden for friends.

We settled in at our new wonderful B&B, Hirta House on the small island of Scalpay, east of Tarbert. Quote from web site: "
The Island of Scalpay "Rather I had thought of it as a place of beauty so great as to distinguish it even among the long chain of which each individual island is a brilliant jewel" Gavin Maxwell - 'Harpoon at a Venture'."

John went for a short walk before dinner to get a glance at this 'place of beauty' and discovered a hillside next to the road that was dotted with pink orchids mixed in with yellow flowers of the
pea family. Pictures will be coming along of these orchids from the morning we were leaving Scalpay and Hirta House three days later.

On our way back from dinner in Tarbert, we got a closer view of this 'brilliant jewel' of an island. We stopped and admired this beautiful scenery  The picture was taken at 7:30 and it's still almost daylight.

Coming back from Tarbert towards Scalpay and looking straight into the evening sun. This picture was taken at 9:30 and the sun is a lot lower down on the horizon giving off a faint rose colored light in the sky. 

Harris, the Golden Road, June 14

View off the island of Harris, on 'the Golden Road', as we drive around the island
on a one-lane road that was quite an adventure to manoeuver.

Field covered with wild irises growing next to a small pond by the roadside.

It was a cloudy morning when we set out on our tour of Harris, but the gorgeous scenery didn't suffer from an overcast sky.

Primroses en masse show us better than anything else that it is still spring in the Scottish Highlands. A gorgeous orchid of a kind that will have a large number of followers during the days to come.

A small village on Harris under a cloudy sky. Marsh marigolds which we saw in huge numbers all over the low-lying areas.

The walk this day was to an old ruined chapel on the west coast of Harris. Here John is walking out on the wide beach before we make it over to the chapel.

A tiny corner of the ruined chapel near Greabhal with the beach that we walked across in the background. Sea pinks on top of the stones.

An end wall of the old chapel, the top of the bottom wall overgrown with sea pinks or thrift (armenia maritima).

We are treading our way back through the fields of march marigolds and black headed sheep A proud ram guarding his territory at the edge of the sea.

On our way out to the chapel we met a very nice English couple who gave us our first birdlesson. We kept watching black and white gannets from the dunes through and without our binoculars for quite some time. Looking out over the sea, we watched them dive for fish with their long pointed beaks. They are much more graceful than seagulls and also not as noisy. They are mostly white but with black wing tips and some black tail feathers. Here is a photo of a northern gannet (Sula bassanus) from the site of Arthur Grosset's site of European Birds.
As we were walking back on the sandy paths, we also saw some lapwings. Here is one (tuft on his head) pretty close up, in a field dotted with marsh marigolds. On our way out, we had practically been attacked by a lapwing who we guessed was feeling threatened because of her young ones nearby. But on our way out, we didn't know what kind of a bird this was. We are learning.

Harris, June 15
On the only completely cloudy and even rainy day that we had during our two weeks in the Scottish Highlands, we set off on a trip to the beach at Huishinish on the west coast of North Harris, hoping that it would clear up during the course of the day, the way it usually happened.

Our first view over Huishinish Bay under a cloudy sky.

John took a nap in the car while I walked around admiring the views and chatting with friendly people.

After his little nap, John also went for a walk. The sky is stubbornly refusing to clear up. Marsh marigolds growing in masses in the fields next to the road.

We are on our way back to Scalpay from Huishinish and the clouds never lifted all that day. A lively brook is cascading over the rocks down into Loch Tarbert.
View over West Loch Tarbert on our way back to Hirta House on Scalpay.

Coco, Margaret's sweet black cat in one of his favorite places, busy doing his toilet in the conservatory. A bit hard to see against the ratan sofa. Margaret's second pet, a herring gull, named Marty, at one of his outposts. He only got closer when Margaret clicked her tongue. Quite a wondrous bird.

Go to Scotland - Part 3

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