The ferry over the Sound to Harris takes a very tortuous route through outcrops of rocks and very shallow water, and is marked out by red and green buoys.
Someone we’d met at the campsite had seen dolphins on his trip the other way across so our eyes were peeled. Unfortunately all we caught a glimpse of were gannets, gulls and ducks.
Approaching the ferry terminal at Leverburgh.
A view across the mountains of Harris. It reminded me very much of Snowdonia.
Our plan had been to drive straight up to Lewis and to head for the campsite at Uig. Unfortunately the ferry was an afternoon service so we were short on time and Uig turned out to be quite a lot further than we anticipated. To add insult to injury we were also low on petrol which wasn’t good considering it was a Sunday! We decided the best thing to so would be to head for a campsite on the outskirts of Stornoway. This was a bit to of a shock to the system as it was positioned on the edge of a housing estate and was rather crowded, we’d been used to empty, wide open spaces.
Thankfully the next day we filled up with diesel, did a shop and headed off to Uig, which is on the south west coast of Lewis.
Uig is a pretty remote settlement almost at the end of very long, windy B road. At one point it takes you through a wonderful dramatic gorge called Glen Valtos which was formed by melt water running off a glacier during the ice age. The glen is about 2.5 km long with a stream running through, rock turrets, rock falls and a tiny forest. It felt like we’d wandered into a Tolkien novel. There was an amazing feel to the place and it really did give you the sense of passing from one reality to another.
At the other end of the glen you arrive at Uig. Our destination was the campsite at Traigh na Beirghe, which is just a glorified carpark with toilets and a shower room. It’s just a few hundred metres walk across the dunes and machair to the bay.
The campsite is operated by the community and fees are paid via an honesty box at a local croft.
The geology is wonderful, opposite the site is a huge outcrop of pink gneiss which was littered with basalt erratic’s. The hill was covered with rabbit holes and haunted by ravens. I could have sat up there for ever, such a strong sense of place.
Beautiful harebell – these are one of my favourite flowers.
And more wonderful white sand.
We had the best weather yet, and a wonderfully clear evening sky at last so Mr Stoatie and I lay in the sand dunes star gazing. Beautiful views of the Milky Way, fantastic!
The sea goes out for miles at low tide.
Uig is where the Lewis Chessmen were found in 1823. There is a carving of one of the Kings at the entrance to the campsite to commemorate their discovery. Apparently a cow rubbed itself against a sandbank and uncovered them, maybe it was one of this one’s ancestors!