We arrived home in the middle of Monday afternoon having left Uist just before midday on Sunday - all in all the trip back went well. The ferry crossing was stunning - the photo above is arriving back at Uig under the most beautiful skies. With barely a breath of wind the water has this glass-like surface most of the way across, and we saw dolphins and porpoises on the way too.
This years trip was all in all a really good one. The weather wasn’t the greatest, but there was only two really grim days, and those allowed a slower pace for a while plus time to visit people - great to meet birders Yvonne & Ian properly for the first time - Yvonne and I have been exchanging comments on social media for years, we finally met when MrEH and I did our autumn visit in 2018 But only briefly, and since then the instruction to pop in for a cuppa when we are in the area has been oft repeated. Me being me, I’m never entirely confident that people mean this, that it’s not just politeness, but when it’s said often enough it helps to convince even me that it’s OK to act on! Then it was on to a Lochboisdale where the ferry was laid up for the day because of the wind levels, and Byron is also generous with his offers of a brew and a natter! On the flip side of the weather we had several days with little wind and in the sun the temperatures were lovely - the fact that one of those days also allowed our first ever Hebrides swim was an absolute bonus!
We didn’t climb any new hills this time round, although old favourite Rueval got another visit, and we walked from the cottage up Cleattraval too. The walking highlight was finally getting out to Rossinish on Benbecula - far out on the eastern side, this was the location where Bonnie Prince Charlie was reputed to have escaped “over the sea to Skye” in 1746. We’ve been trying to get that walk done for about 15 years I think - first time we tried it was far too wet underfoot, several attempts since have gone the same way, then last year when it would have been dry enough, we got sidetracked by a slightly different path to another lovely spot... It was a tough walk - a fair bit of elevation, only a faintly marked path to follow for quite a bit of it, and some boggy areas, but well worth the effort!
And now in spite of hardly being back any time, the winter ferry timetables are about to be released and we are able to book our next trip. This will be our first winter visit taking the car across, and will also be the first time that we’ve been across for more than a week in the winter months. Having done so little mileage in my car this year though, plus the issues with flying or using the train in this age of COVID-19 it seems sensible to utilise the car/ferry option. Cheaper too - saving the cost of a hire car and reducing the journey cost to diesel/ferry only.
So, let the planning commence!