Three words that perfectly summarize today: rain, clouds, and fog. The day wasn’t a complete washout though, as I was able to see a remote beach and drive up the “Golden Road” on the east coast of Harris. I’ll stick with the “highlights” format again, though these are pretty much the only things I did today anyway. (Plus a reverse repeat of the drive along Harris’s west coast – not nearly as nice in the rain – and another treacle scone at the Temple Cafe.)
Huisinis (Hushinish): I spent the morning driving the 15 mile road out to Huisinis from Tarbert and back. Huisinis literally feels like it’s at the edge of the world. And I guess in a lot of ways it is. The road is twisting and winding and constantly goes around blind curves and over blind rises. All single-track, of course. But at the end of the road lies the most beautiful beach, with clear turquoise waters, and a scattering of crofts and cottages. I walked the entire length of the beach and then decided to brave the water and dipped my feet in. The morning was cloudy and it was in the mid-50s temperature-wise, but it was the perfect place to experience the cold Atlantic waters.
The Golden Road: There are two routes from Harris’s southern end to Tarbert – the west coast/beach route and the “Golden Road” (so named because it cost so much to build, people said it “must have been made of gold”). Yesterday I took the west coast, and today I drove that in reverse and then drove up the east coast on the Golden Road. I almost turned around at Rodel and went back the way I came because the fog was so dense. But I decided I would just take it slow and take my time. By the time I was about halfway back to Tarbert the fog wasn’t quite as thick.
The Golden Road is also referred to as “The Bays” because the road weaves in and around many small bays with fishing boats and crofting cottages (which look like miniature fjords). The landscape is completely different from the west coast. It is almost other-worldly with a mostly rocky terrain and very little grass. It took about 2 hours to drive the 20 mile length of it, but I was in no hurry. Like the road to Huisinis, it is single-track, twisty, and dips up and down over many blind ridges. (That is one thing I won’t miss about Scotland… all of the narrow, single-track roads. I cannot wait to drive on a highway again!) I stopped at Clò-Mòr to visit the Harris Tweed exhibit and check out the shop. (When I was in Benbecula, I bought a framed Fáilte sign that is crafted with Harris Tweed. It’s wrapped up for travel, but I will take a picture when I get home.)
The weather forecast for tomorrow looks dismal, but I am packing up (again; I’ve already been in 6 hotels 😦 ) and heading north to the Isle of Lewis in the morning. It’s connected to Harris, so no ferry this time. EVERYTHING is closed in this area on Sundays. I did check tomorrow night’s hotel online and was relieved to see that their restaurant is open on Sundays. Otherwise, I plan to visit Lewis’s west coast beaches as long as the weather cooperates a little.