Good news… I love Scotland again! I mean, I never really stopped loving it, but you know what I mean. Seriously, it’s incredible here! If I could just skip over the last couple of days and go right from Skye to the Isle of Harris, it would be perfect. I’m going to skip the play-by-play of the day today and just go for the highlights. So pretty much we’ll start at 11:30AM when I got off the ferry in Leverburgh on the Isle of Harris. (Before that, I went to the beach, ate breakfast, went to another beach, and took an hour long ferry ride.) Harris is much more rugged and mountainous than the Uists. I think that’s what I like about it the most. So here are the highlights:
St. Clement’s Church in Rodel: An quaint and historic church/chapel in a very picturesque location on a hill in the tiny village of Rodel. The church is surrounded by a graveyard and you can climb up the tower in the church. It reminded me of many of the castles and ruins I saw in Ireland last summer. (This is also the location where I discovered that my camera lens was covered in salt water… I have no idea how long it has been like that, but it is amazing how much clearer everything looks now that I’ve cleaned it!)
Temple Cafe in Northton: I had read a million good reviews of this little place, and stopped for lunch on my way through today. It was amazingly good! Everything smelled delicious, but being the picky eater that I am, I ordered the “treacle” scone with cream and jam. The gentleman in line behind me told me treacle is basically molasses after I asked the waitress to repeat herself three times because I had no idea what she was saying. I had her write it down for me when I left so I could look it up. The scone was amazing. Did I already say that? Like probably the best I’ve had in the U.K./Ireland. And the cream was thick like clotted cream too (though I’m not positive it was). Depending on how the day goes, I may have to make a stop there tomorrow too…
Northton Temple walk: This walk was about 3 miles, and so worth it. After leaving the village of Northton and cresting the first hill, you can see four different beaches spread out along the coast, with the Northton Temple on a bluff at the far end. After being attacked by birds on the first beach (which was also the most beautiful, Traigh an Taoibh Thuath), I wound my way along the pathway all the way out to the Temple. Northton Temple is actually the ruins of a 15th or 16th century chapel built on a rocky headland at the tip of the Northton peninsula.
Isle of Harris west coast: The views just kept on coming! The drive from Leverburgh up to Luskentyre is incredible. Around every bend is another white sand beach with turquoise water. It’s hard to believe this is Scotland and not the Caribbean!
Scalpay: After dinner, the sun actually came out. Real sun, not just a break in the clouds. I decided to drive out to the Isle of Scalpay, a small island about 8 miles east of Tarbert and connected to Harris by a bridge. This little island was perfection, especially with the sun finally shining. It is all single-track roads which curve dangerously around outcroppings and above lochs and harbors. It’s very small, and I was determined to drive every road. I think I tried just about all of them, just to see where they go. They all ended at dead-ends, but the scenery was unbelievable. A perfect end to the day!
PS – I’m still ready to go home, but with scenery like this, I think I can “suffer through” a few more days of vacation! 🙂