Isle of Harris: Spirit of The North

dscn2232

A year ago last week, I returned to Harris for the first time in 25 years (that post is here), hoping and needing to let its ‘Northern spirit’ wash over me. It had, once again, a huge impact on me and I knew I’d have to return soon. I did just that, last week, hugely relieved to escape all the madness and noise of the world in recent weeks.

It was bliss to get back to the calm and quiet of these huge skies, endless beaches, vast expanses of tundra-like ’emptiness’. A kind of re-balancing and re-energising  of the spirit.

Again, we were unbelievably lucky with the weather and we were treated to the most dramatic, clear, sharp light and vivid autumn colours imaginable.

  For anyone who hasn’t been, Harris is an island of extremes, the contrast between the east and west of the island extraordinary (above and below).

dsc_6936

The famous Seilebost Beach above, Chaipeval and the salt marsh flats at Northton, just a few miles down the road, below.

dsc_6926

dscn2248

This time of year, especially, it’s abundantly clear how the colours and textures of the land and sea here have influenced the making of the famous Harris Tweed.

 

dscn2272

dscn1740

dscn2285

dsc_6252

dscn2235

dscn1743

dscn2079

The village of Finsbay (above)…

dscn2082

and the tundra-like landscape around it.

dscn2085

dscn2260

The east, above, from what’s known as “The Golden Road” and the west, a view of Northton across the salt marsh.

dsc_6920

dscn2036

dscn2240

dscn2244

dscn1898

‘Our’ bay for a week, again, was Lingerbay and our base the lovely MolBan. Even the abandoned and decaying croft house next-door again provided colourful and interesting subject matter, if disturbing to see how much further it had deteriorated in just a year, as nature and the elements take their inevitable and indifferent course.

 

dsc_6290

dscn1574

dscn1909

The landscape here is as powerful and reverberating as ever – uncompromising. Walks along the beach, but especially seeing the decay of abandoned homes here, made it sink in how events of this moment, this day, this week, this year are just microscopic drops in the ocean of time, which will pass quickly…. the decay of a house is a powerful metaphor for the passing of time, the inevitability of nature’s course and the insignificance of humanity.

 

dscn1561

dscn1646

 

dscn1765

dsc_6310

 

The staggering views from the house:

dscn2037

dscn2213

dscn2179

img_0226

dscn2201

img_0236

The road to Huishinis (below)…

dscn1992

Leverburgh, from the Peat Road (below)…

dscn2090

Rodel (below)…

dscn1806

dscn1813

The tower of St. Clements Church, Rodel (above)

dscn1988

Huishinis (above and below), where we braved the chilly on-and-off drizzle for a mad picnic on the beach.

dscn1948

dscn1933

The west approach to the Clisham, in North Harris, from the road to Husinis (above) and looking south towards North Uist, from near Rodel.

dsc_6913

It wouldn’t have been complete without a visit (or two) to the Isle of Harris Distillery at Tarbert to stock up on a few of their now iconic bottles of the much-loved gin (based on the flavours of sea kelp, of course!), for my friends.

dsc_6683     dsc_6674

dsc_6676

Finally, a few of our favourite beach at Borve:

dsc_6783

dscn2133

dsc_6391

dscn2099

dscn1609

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Isle of Harris: Spirit of The North

  1. Heartbreakingly beautiful scenery and photos. Such contrast in colours and textures: you really show the whole pallete. And I love the intersperced tweed, haha! That really works. Thank you, what a tonic in these troubled times!

  2. Oh Alison …… more information, please! (photographs or prose) I love HOW you say inevitable and indifferent … but am heartsick THAT it’s this way. In a world gone so so awry, this looks like a safe place to retire, to hide, to read, to think, to survive. Are there grocery stores? Local farms? Artisans? THANK you for sending this out … and for the timing, too, as many of us are still in grief-silence over the new U.S. xx

  3. Thanks to my sister Val Moretti for sharing this with me. The beauty of the photographs jut reconfirms my love of Scotland. I especially like the one of the boat LINGERBAY leaning against the stone wall but could easily get lost staring at those of the rocks, peat and waves of Harris. Thank you Alison for staying connected with Val so that I can vicariously get to know your art and prose.
    T.L.

    1. How super to ‘meet you’ after all these years, Tamara. Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m delighted that you enjoyed this. I’m thrilled that Val and I are still in contact all these years later – if you are ever in Scotland, please do say hi!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s