When I talk to people about the Western Isles (or Outer Hebrides) most will identify Lewis and Harris as constituent Island and a smaller number will then go on to mention ‘the Uists’, Benbecula and Barra. There are however about 60 significant Islands that make up the Western Isles with about 15 of them inhabited year round. This weekend saw a visit to several of the smaller Islands as part of a trip across the Sound of Harris.
The trip left from the Harbour at Leverburgh following a night in am bothan bunkhouse.
The route weaved through the skerries between Leverburgh and the first Island of note- Killegray.
At this point we stopped for lunch and met up with two paddlers who had joined us from North Lewis.
By this point in the trip we had seen a fish eagle perched on a rock on Ensay as well as porpoises playing in the bay that Killegray overlooked. The crossing from Killegray to Berneray was made all the more enjoyable by a chance to play about on the surf.
This was the first time I had visited Berneray and arriving at the bunkhouse was incredible. It lies at the tail end of a beautiful sandy beach and looks just like you would imagine a Hebridean bunkhouse would…with thatched otter embellishment!
I think my love of the outdoors can be explained almost entirely by the shared interest in eating extremely well which appears to be a common characteristic of lovers of the outdoors. Even by the high standards I have come to expect after my time with the PMC and CCCC the meal we had in the bunkhouse at Berneray was really special with everyone contributing something delicious- baked ham and pickled oranges, chili-blackened salmon, trifle, sticky toffee pudding, sangria, dhal…yum! My own contribution? The butternut bulgar wheat salad…