Oops - sorry! Those of you who follow me on Instagram as well will be aware that we are now, FINALLY in the Hebrides for the first time since Christmas. It’s truly about time, and even at the last minute fate had one last go at “making life difficult” with the cancellation of our planned ferry (high winds) and the need to change to a different route involving a hundred or so miles more driving AND a 2 hour earlier departure time. This is turn also meant an even longer journey as a diversion was needed to avoid a road closure on the A82 in the Highlands - up there diversions tend to be a lot of additional miles. Sigh. In the event the weather stepped in again delaying our sailing from 0940 to 1300 - one of the few times we are grateful for a delayed ferry! We came across just over a week ago, spent 2 nights in a “glamping pod” at the campsite we usually use the bunkhouse at (closed this year due to Covid restrictions) then moved in to our usual cosy cottage on a wind-blown headland last Saturday. Since then we have walked, eaten, drunk lots of beer and wine, and enjoyed fabulous views like the eagle above.
Life here is none too different in spite of C-19 - small differences, the face coverings obviously, and social distancing. Greeting good friends earlier today with no hug was strange. Hopefully by the time we are next here that one may have been relaxed a little! Winston the dog had no truck with social distancing though and greeted us as usual including an exploratory jump onto laps - no pesky virus getting in the way of THAT tough terrier! Places we usually find second hand books for sale are bare of them - thankfully I brought a good supply so we will probably manage without running out of reading material - phew! The jigsaws that we had planned to leave here after doing will find their way to a second hand shop though as currently the cottage is bare of any books and similar.
Other than that life is much as normal. Seasonally we have noticed differences though - this is our first summer visit and birds that we usually take for granted are nowhere to be seen, and the flowers on the machair are beautiful but quite different to those we see in the Spring. This year harebells, ragged robin and the purple of heather abound, plus blue scabious and the vibrant yellow of ragwort and hawkweed. Generally speaking everywhere is far greener than we are used to, but bizarrely temperatures have been lower - with a chilly wind blowing these last few days. When the wind drops, the midgies appear of course! Conditions underfoot are far drier than we are used to though, meaning that already one walk we have been putting off from necessity for many years has been ticked off the list!
So yes - it’s great to be back. It already feels like we’ve been here forever yet we have another week to go yet - bliss! Will it warm up enough for me to swim, is my current big question. This is probably my best opportunity- it’s unlikely we will get another summer visit very soon, so I’m keen to get in the water if possible!