Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Isle of Harris, Scotland 2018 ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ

Date:  18th June 2018

Travelled: 167 kilometres from Tarbert, Isle of Harris to Cliff, Isle of Lewis, the Outer Hebridies.

Visited: Isle of Harris, mostly.

Stayed: Beachside car-park, village of Cliff, Isle of Lewis, free. N58.22010, W06.96615

At 5 am our ferry departs Uig on the north-west tip of Skye, exactly on time.  The wind has been blowing hard all night and we expect a rough crossing, but we donโ€™t talk about it.

Isle of Harris HS3 3DJ, UK

The Outer Hebrides or Western Isles take your pick.  This 210 kilometres long chain of islands stand off the west coast Scotland, there are three substantial areas or groups of islands, Uist the most southern. Then Harris and Lewis to the north, they are the most habited and according to the Lonely Planet most interesting to visit.  So for Pam and I, Harris and Lewis will be our adventure.  For the Hymer and two passangers the fare is ยฃ43 (one-way), with a sailing time of 90 minutes from Uig in Skye.  It will be more expensive for the return to mainland Scotland but thatโ€™s an issue for another day.

Our CalMac ferry departs on time out into The Minch, the waters that seperate the western isles from Skye and mainland Scotland.  The crossing was a little rough, but the wifi on the ship was excellent.

As we approach the port of Tarbert on Harris the waters calm again.  Looks like a day of full Scottish weather ahead.
As we dock in Tarbert I grab a quick photo of Ian and Jo before we go our separate ways.  As you can see there are another 4 or 5 motorhomes on board.

Once off the ferry we drive up the road to a layby overlooking the bay, have some breakfast and recover from the 4.30 start.  Tarbert stands on a narrow isthmus linking north and south Harris.  So we head south on the only road.

The landscape is harsh and sometimes baren, then just as suddenly the road will drop down to a golden sandy beach.
We stop for coffee at a layby.  The heavy swell pounding the shoreline provides an interesting backdrop.
No one swimming today.
We pass these amazing ponds with small islands of peat.
There is little traffic as we continue south. The road surface varies, with passing places strategically located.  40 mph seems a comfortable pace to take in the view, slow to pass another vehicle, dodge sheep and cross the several hundred cattle grids that litter Harris.

Isle of Harris HS5 3TW, UK

Literally at the end of road we come to Rodel and St Clementโ€™s Church.  There is no village to speak of just a couple of scattered houses and this church overlooking the bay.
Commissioned by the 8th Chief of the MacLeods as a family church and tomb in 1520.
The 8th Chief Alasdairโ€™s final resting place in 1547.
Partially destroyed in the english reformation, of 1560. St. Clementโ€™s was abandoned for 200 years then re-built only to be destroyed by fire three years later. In 1873 it was again re-built following a grant from the Duchess of Dunmore.
Anyway it was well worth the long drive.
So we start the long drive north back along the A859. The scenery is still beautiful the second time around. We stop at Tarbert briefly to fuel as the service stations are rare.
Another beautiful beach as we start to make our way inland.
The scenery changes rapidly, it becomes very stark and barren. Only 10 miles of this and we cross into Lewis, turn left onto the A858 and the landscape changes again.
Slowing for a couple of cars parked on the side of the road.  Looking up the hill we can see what all the fuss is about.  A mini stonehenge.
Seriously the wind is at least 40 knots up here and freezing to the bone. My new thermal shorts came through with a big ๐Ÿ‘ !

As we approach the west coast we turn on the B8011 and Miavaig. The Lonely Planet tells of some beautiful beach up there and we find this one at the village of Cliff.  Calling it a village, maybe more of a place really.  Two or three isolated houses, but a bitimen car-park, a garbage bin and this view !

Isle of Lewis HS2 9HP, UK

So thatโ€™s it another evening of wildcamping watching the gannets dive for bait fish just past the white water. Cold beer and wine, another great dayโ€™s touring.

Michael and Pam

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