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).
The famous Seilebost Beach above, Chaipeval and the salt marsh flats at Northton, just a few miles down the road, below.
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.
The village of Finsbay (above)…
and the tundra-like landscape around it.
The east, above, from what’s known as “The Golden Road” and the west, a view of Northton across the salt marsh.
‘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.
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.
The staggering views from the house:
The road to Huishinis (below)…
Leverburgh, from the Peat Road (below)…
The tower of St. Clements Church, Rodel (above)
Huishinis (above and below), where we braved the chilly on-and-off drizzle for a mad picnic on the beach.
The west approach to the Clisham, in North Harris, from the road to Husinis (above) and looking south towards North Uist, from near Rodel.
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.
Finally, a few of our favourite beach at Borve: