So, I didn't blog much from the Hebrides this year, did I. I did do a fair bit on Instagram, and on Twitter - both mediums that suit the dubious nature of internet signals up there rather better than blogging. For a start both can be done from my phone very easily, whereas blogging is easier on the laptop, and while I have the laptop with me, it has to be turned on, and a signal obtained that is actually strong enough to do anything from...and as bizarre as it sounds, if it is raining, or the wind is in the wrong direction, that's not always going to be viable! When I blog I also tend to feel like I should post "proper" photos, from my "real" camera, rather than pics from the phone...and yes, I know that's a pressure I put on myself, not one applied by anyone else, but that doesn't make it any the less real...
When we were away in 2014 I found myself on several occasions slightly resenting "having to" do my blog post - there were other things I felt keener to do - going for a walk, or just sitting on the sofa with a book. And then I felt guilty about that, so I got on with it and blogged anyway. But you know what - we were ON HOLIDAY for goodness sake - what on earth was I thinking?! So this year I decided in advance that blogging was going to be minimised - I'd see how I went with it. I still stuck the credit on the dongle for the laptop, but then discovered when I got there that there was an intermittent 3G signal which would enable me to do almost everything I would want from the phone, so that has been struck off the list for next year.
The holiday was what I needed - no question. I've been struggling with some personal stuff for a while now - no, before you ask, nothing serious, and yes, I'm fine, thank you, it's just "stuff" that I need to work through, and work through it I will, but the fortnight away gave me the space to acknowledge that my head's not in a good place and I need to cut myself some slack to deal with it. Sometimes it's tough when you're juggling all that real life throws at you to actually step back, look at the clutter in your head, and realise that the only way it's going to fall into any sort of order is by making time and space for it to do so. This summer is looking like being another ridiculously busy one - and with the amount of fun and excitement we already seem to be having lined up for us it seems ludicrously self-indulgent to be wittering on about "needing space", but I know from experience if I don't start the airshow season in a healthy state of both body and mind, I won't last the pace - and there's no WAY I want that to happen!
So, for now, I'm going to blog as and when I feel like it. There may be photos, there may not. In the meantime though there is another bit of islandy-adventuring to come - a wee trip to Lundy Island which both sounds and looks like somewhere from the Famous Five, doesn't it! That will be my first chance ever to see one of the UK's rare-breed ponies too - the eponymous "Lundy Pony" - which is quite exciting too. There WILL be photos in due course I'm sure, but most likely not while we're there as - in the true spirit of islands, it's another place with an utterly rubbish mobile signal - hurrah!
Thursday, 21 May 2015
Monday, 11 May 2015
We’d hoped to be able to make a trip to one of the uninhabited Islands of the Hebrides this time round, and sure enough word came from Nick – who runs trips on his boat the “Lady Anne” – that he was planning on heading off to the Monach Isles, or Heisgeir, on Friday. You might remember we did a wildlife watching trip with Nick when we were here last year – seeing all sorts of birds including a close encounter with a White Tailed Eagle, so we knew we’d not be disappointed.
There were 10 of us in total including nick and his crewman Duncan – plus the adorable Ruby, a black Labrador belonging to Fergus, the owner of the North Uist estate, a lovely chap universally known simply as “The Laird”. The trip across to the Monachs took just over two hours from Kallin Harbour on Grimsay and was a fabulous chance to see various areas from a completely different angle to the usual – including the North ford causeway…
…very strange to be passing underneath something so familiar from above!
The Monachs consist of 5 main islands – the tiny Stocaidh, Ceann Ear, Sibhinis, Ceann Iar and Seillaidh. All 5 are uninhabited now and have been since the 1940’s when the last residents left – previously they had had a sort of “lifeline” provided by the regular visits of the Lighthouse Board to the lighthouse on Seillaidh (Shillay) but when the lighthouse was turned off during the war those visits ceased and they felt it was just too difficult to maintain a life there with no contact with the mainland. The village now lies abandoned and derelict…
…although a couple of the buildings – the Schoolhouse and the Mission Hall – have now been restored. The schoolhouse is still used by fisherman who put in to the islands on occasion and visitors to the Island join the select band who know where to find the key!
We walked across Ceann Ear and around Sibhinis – and could happily have spent longer than the 5 hours we had there. There was wildlife aplenty, and in common with the rest of the Hebrides glorious white sand beaches to be enjoyed.
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Monday, 4 May 2015
Sunday, 3 May 2015
I...having arrived on the ferry on Friday evening, a little later than planned due to delays but after an uneventful journey. All good. We're back staying in the same place on North Uist as last year having decided it suited us to be within walking distance of a beach...this beach...
...to be exact. And as regular followers will be unsurprised to hear that is exactly where we ended up on Saturday afternoon having unpacked and settled in to the cottage. (For those new to this blog there is a long standing tradition of a "first day beach"). It was astonishingly clear - so much so that St Kilda was clearly visible on the horizon - we'd already had a good view of it from Cleattraval earlier...
...but seeing it from down at beach level was unusual enough to make us take notice.
The other reason we love "our" beach so much is that you can find these...