Huisinish and an otter

The day was set fairer and warmer. There was low cloud that lifted as I drove done to Harris. I decided to attempt Hushinish. Once I got to within a couple of miles of Tarbet this meant turning off down the road that had previously also led to the eagle observatory track. This was an ‘old harris road’ – windy, lots of blind summits and bends. Initially I was following a cement mixer (rather him than me!) as he was as wide as the road. Thankfully after the first few miles it got less near a precipitous edge but no easier to drive, and then after about 6 miles it got worse, as the surface deteriorated and the helpful white lines to show where the edge was disappeared. There was a stunning stretch through an estate down by a waterfall and eventually we arrived at Hushinish. I didn’t really remember it at all, and clearly things had been added, not least toilets and facilities for motor homes! (though I would not have wanted to drive one of those down that road!). I had a coffee to calm down, and then attempted the track, after a delightful section across the machair…. which was a sea of colour with the biggest buttercups I have ever seen and awash with marsh orchids.

There were two ways to the deserted beach I had gone to with my university buddies 24 years ago. I remember it being  quite a hard walk but I wonder if we approached it from the other way. I had doubts about the track I tried from the start, and in the end decided against it – lots of jumping from rock to rock right near a precipitous edge is really not me!!! It was a bit disappointing but sense prevailed, and there were lots of compensations. For starters the view across to the island and the beaches beyond was absolutely stunning…. I went around the easier headland and had my second coffee whilst the gannets put on a spectacular display against the panoramic view. It was like watching a firework display – unbelievably beautiful… My heart soared!

On the other side of the headland I found an idyllic beach and finally ate lunch on the hoof for only the third time on this trip (it’s generally been too cool and one of those three I got very wet!!). It was a relatively balmy 19 degrees in the sun today! I walked the length of the beach and back again to the car. What a fantastic place!

I gently drove back on the windy road, the views even more spectacular going back with the backdrop of Harris and the sea lochs all around, and all but a few misty clouds on the very high bits had lifted. I stopped a couple of times to take pictures, and also stopped at the refreshment stop just after the mountain road to get the view down loch seaforth.

I went back to the visitors centre on Loch Erisort, and finally saw my first ever ‘wild’ otter. It came up twice, second time diving down showing its ‘whippy’ tail! I was beyond pleased…… I stayed there for quite a while, hoping for more sightings but sadly not!

Wildlife of the day OTTER!!!! (sadly no pics), amazing firework gannets, and the machair, buttercups and orchids. The toe of my boots shows you the size of the buttercups!


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