Tuesday began with a short drive north to Callanish – an easy walk followed from the “Walks in the western isles book” – I bought with Jane on skye in 2011 when we were considering going to Harris and Lewis. This book has sat on a book shelf for the intervening years! This walk went better than my previous effort from the book on Monday, and took in the three stone circles. The last and largest one near the Callanish stones visitor centre was awash with tourists as I arrived just as a coach was unloading. I had been to the visitor centre once before (in fact on the day it was opened by Donnie from Runrig!) and the sign inside showed me that my previous visit to Harris and Lewis was in 1995 so 24 years ago!
I moved on to have a coffee at Alpacaccino’s the café a little further on in Callanish. As well as alpacas, exotic sheep, goats, chickens, peacocks and Indian runner ducks, I really admired the cappuccino marketing. I had my first alpacaccino – such a simple idea but very effective. Special mention should also be made of the chocolate brownie I had with it, with genuine and extremely indulgent hot Peruvian chocolate sauce, whilst being able to admire the friendly alpacas. Should you ever be on Lewis – http://www.callanishalpacas.co.uk/. Hot chocolate sauce was very welcome as it was rather cool as well as wet!
Then on abit further north to exploring the beaches at Dailbeag and Dailmor whilst dodging the heavy showers. I could also see there was a potentially passable coastal path that I might try on another day. It was on the road to Dailmor that from the car I also saw a much larger bird of prey, which I think was a juvenile golden eagle, but hoping to have some more definitive sightings in the days ahead. As is often the case there was a graveyard right by the beach at Dailmor, again with war graves and the lewis and harris men who had died in the HMS Iolaire disaster on 1st January 1919. So near to home and yet……
Contenders for wildlife of the day as well as the alpacas et al and the possible golden eagle (not photographed as I was driving!), was some really impressive lichen on one of the Callanish stones! This shot shows also some pale blue sky appeared at least at one point during the day
Wednesday, I decided to bite the bullet and drive to Leverburgh at the far end of Harris – so I could see the lay of the land and work out what else I might do travelling south from my base. The scenery, particularly the section leading to Tarbert was amazing, and the road had definitely been improved. The weather was kinder (well at least in the middle of the day!). Leverburgh turned out not to be very exciting, so I retraced back to a rustic café in Northton for a coffee, before exploring the beach and headland at Horgabost. At the café was a splendid young cat, who did briefly let me stroke him. I loved how well camouflaged he was for the local surroundings, his impressive tail and very tufty ears.
There is a wide selection of glorious sandy beaches, and turquoise seas in this part of Harris, and I am sure I will also go to Luskentyre and Hushinis at some point too. I had lunch overlooking the beach at Seilebost, in a parking space where camping overnight was allowed. The island you can see in the distance over my colourful lunch box and in the final picture below is Taransay (home of the year 2000 castaways on the BBC!).
The weather deteriorated to heavy rain, so I gently drove back and by the time it had cleared had a walk along the shore near the holiday let. Though I saw a scottie dog yesterday, sadly I haven’t seen any westies yet. I dont think this stuffed one I saw in a car counts (especially as it is wearing a tartan tam O shanter!)
Wildlife of the day: Lunch also included watching an industrious oyster catcher and more orchids were found on the headland at Horgabost, plus a magnificent mushroom!!