A&E, elusive eagles & a camera crisis in North Harris
by denfinella » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:25 pm
Route description: Harris Eagle Observatory
Date walked: 22/05/2018
Time taken: 2 hours
Distance: 5 km
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A couple of weeks ago my partner and I finally got the chance to spend time in the Western Isles - on the list for a while but we'd never got round to it until now. We based ourselves in Harris (Scalpay) for the first five nights, before moving to Lewis (Stornoway) for a couple more. There's not much to do indoors on Harris, so we prayed for good weather... and after two or three days of heavy rain (it was still pouring as we waited for the ferry from Uig on Skye), the clouds parted just as our ferry sailed into Tarbert on Monday afternoon, with consecutive days of sunshine predicted for as far ahead as our weather apps would forecast!
One major snag though - I'd been suffering from a painful foot injury for the last few days, which made it very painful to take shoes on and off, and difficult to walk (or even to stand at times). I'd made my first ever trip to A&E the night before driving up to Harris and was now on a week's course of double strength antibiotics, but I wasn't going to be able to do anything too strenuous for a couple of days at least.
So on Monday late afternoon / evening I was housebound, watching the sun go down out of the window, feeling sorry for myself and imagining all the beaches we could be catching the sunset from. Fortunately by the next morning the antibiotics had started to kick in, my foot looked more like a body part rather than an inflated balloon, and more importantly, it wasn't too painful to walk (carefully).
We decided to venture out to Huisinis, North Harris, with a scenic road leading to a sandy beach. On the drive we stopped numerous times to admire the beautiful scenery...
...before marvelling at our first (of many) Harris beaches:
On the way back towards Tarbert, we decided to try the walk to the North Harris Eagle Observatory - a 3-mile return walk, fairly flat and on a good track. Ironically this was pretty much the only day of the week where we didn't spot any eagles, but it's still an interesting walk with some dramatic scenery. Binoculars recommended for scanning the crags from the hide.
I returned to the car with my foot still intact, and we had another leisurely drive back to Tarbert, where a distillery tour awaited (a waste of a sunny day, but it didn't involve much walking). Then... disaster! Our barely-a-year-old camera developed a fault, rendering it totally unusable We have cameras on our phones, but it was the worst possible time for the camera to break: the start of our holiday, and a trip to St Kilda booked for the day after next...
We tried not to let this latest development spoil a delicious lunch, an excellent distillery tour, or a tranquil sunset on Luskentyre Bay. But (at the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat) it was very frustrating that a much-anticipated holiday, bucket-list trip to St Kilda and a miraculously perfect weather forecast was threatening to be marred by my injury and lack of a decent camera. And we reckoned Harris was just about the worst place to be based if you need a camera to be fixed quickly!
First-world problems of course, and of course we were lucky to be here at all. I'll post about the rest of the week in the coming days, and you can read all about my injury and the camera crisis in the next installment
>> next day: Lewis whistlestop tour
by RosieBaillie » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:25 pm
- Hill Bagger
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by iangpark » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:14 pm
by PeteR » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:14 pm
by denfinella » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:46 pm
Ian, I'm sure you'll have a great time in September - think it'll be a good time of the year to go.
Rosie - thanks. We'd never been to the Western isles at all either, and we've been in Scotland for 7 years, so about time. Uists and Barra still on the list though, plus the other smaller islands.
by Sgurr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:52 pm
What a bind getting both foot and camera problems almost simultaneously. Hope to read that camera problems were sorted as easily as my glasses problem in Stornoway (Would you like the near optician, or the good one?)
by denfinella » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:15 pm
Sgurr wrote:I have been to that observatory a few times and have never seen an eagle, however, if you carry on up the path and round the corner, there are several to be had.
Ahh shame - when researching this walk I had actually been considering carrying on to the loch. But not sure my foot would have been up to it in the end!
Sgurr wrote:What a bind getting both foot and camera problems almost simultaneously. Hope to read that camera problems were sorted as easily as my glasses problem in Stornoway (Would you like the near optician, or the good one?)