Because we had risen so early and wasted no time getting back on the road, we had several hours left before the ferry was to sail from Tarbert. We decided to use them seeing a little more of the island and set off back towards the tiny port. The morning was still clad in grey mists, but that took nothing away from the beauty of the hills, moorlands and lochs through which we passed. There were few places where we could stop to get pictures on Lewis, but it was enough to just drive through the wild majesty and to be there.
Seeing a sign for a café, we turned off the man road towards Ravenspoint… a name at which we smiled, given our associations with these birds… hoping to find coffee. The road took us along the shores of Loch Èireasort, an eight mile long sea inlet whose name echoes a time when the land was home to invading Vikings. We saw no sign of coffee for miles, so sat beside the shore for second breakfast from our supplies, watching the clouds, before turning back to rejoin the main road south.
We eventually found a small shop where we replenished our foodstuff before continuing southwards. The bleak peat moors had already given way to more mountainous country and was now changing yet again as we moved from that part of the island known as Lewis to the Isle of Harris. The rocky terrain and narrow road that snakes between the hills effectively hid the landscape ahead from view. We had no expectations, no idea of what we would find… until we turned a corner and saw paradise laid out before us.
The clouds broke, leaving a sky full of both drama and sunshine. The sea was a rainbow set in turquoise crystal, ringed by dark hills, emerald lawns and silver-gilt sands. I have never seen a lovelier place… and it took my breath away.
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