Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for May 13, 2013


Getting dressed here ready to face the day takes a lot of effort! My layers for this weather are, a vest, long sleeved Tshirt or skivvy, jumper, tights, Jeans, thick socks then a Polar Fleece lined, wind proof, rain proof jacket. Although I often leave the house, wherever it is, without a hat I never seem to get far before that goes on then a bit later the hood comes up to stop the wind knifing it’s way to my neck and ears. The houses are always nice and warm so a few layers come off when we come inside.

There is a VERY HEAVILY pregnant sheep just outside the kitchen window and we’ve even seen her belly contracting so we’re expecting to see twins soon.

We went to Keose and had some catchup time with Alex’s cousin, Mary and her family. Lots of memories were shared but the one none of them had any trouble remembering was the time their Uncle Iain took ten of them in their glad rags in his small open fishing boat with a 1.5 hp Seagull motor across Loch Erisort from Keose to Cromore to visit relatives. Two of the boys had to sit in the bow to try and balance the boat as the back was sitting VERY low in the water. Coming back Uncle Iain decided it was probably wiser to put all the kids out when they’d crossed over the loch so they could walk home across the Moor but the waves must have subsided a bit because he changed his mind. They were all grateful when they reached land safely.

Just up the street from our B and B in Crossbost is an old structure being used to store various farm stuff. We’ve been told the old building was the home eventually built by Alex & Lena’s maternal great great grandfather. In 1843 he and his family were evicted from their croft at Lemreway when the landlord decided he had a better use for their land. John (Iain) MacMillan and his family spent the first winter sheltered under the upturned boat they had used to sail from Lemreway. The landlord allocated them this croft in lieu of their original croft, other crofters accepted passages to Canada and the US. Obviously the croft they had at Lemreway would have been much better agricultural land. Crofts consisted of a strip of land and the right to share common grazing land. The strips of land were used for subsistence crops eg potatoes and animal fodder. Each crofter would have eventually kept a dairy cow, hens and sheep. They supplemented their food supply by fishing in the lochs. Crofts in other areas eg Mark’s at Betty Hill were much larger. I read another explanation of a croft somewhere in the last couple of days, “A croft is a parcel of land entirely surrounded by regulations.”

About 7:00 tonight I took a photo from the front of the house, showing the sun shining on a house just across the road and on the loch. It’s now 8:45 and we just saw the sheep come racing down the hill to the little shed followed by BIG gusts of wind and rain. Hail is now piling up on the front windows. The sunshine is gone!

We intend going into Stornoway tomorrow to try and access the Internet at the Library. There is no McDonald’s in Lewis. (Have just checked this fact but when I asked to clarify I was told, “There are LOTS of MacDonalds in Lewis, our granny was a MacDonald!” He wasn’t teasing this time, just not on the same wavelength!

Berneray to Harris

After another big breakfast we packed up and left to do some driving about before getting on the ferry at about 1:00. I managed to get some photos of what I thought were Judas Sheep but are apparently Black Hebridean Sheep. The behaviour of the young ones makes me think they’re close realtives of goats, they leap about with all four feet off the ground and seem much cheekier than normal lambs. The adults have wicked looking horns. Twitchers were about everywhere and as Alex and I walked back to the car a man armed with binoculars came from his car parked up the road a bit and headed straight to where we’d been. I’m sure it was beyond his comprehension that we’d be looking at sheep, not birds.

We stopped at a Broch which was on a small island which would have been accessible by foot at low tide.

The ferry trip was great, we thought we’d worked out the channel navigation markers, red on the right and green on the left but then it changed so we really don’t know. Going as the bird flies would have been a very quick trip but the ferry had to weave in and out between islands and rocky sections. One small island not far out of Leverborough seemed to be covered in seals.

Driving up through Harris the road snakes its way through rocky hills, not hills with piles of rocks but hills that seem to be all rock. Inhospitable hardly covers it.

The cottage here has no WiFi or phone coverage, it’s like being in a time warp. We went into Stornoway so Lena could phone the organiser of family get togethers (Chrissie) and in the Tesco carpark she met Chrissie’s daughter which was just as well because her contact info was on Facebook, not accessible without WiFi.

We’re planning a nice long walk tomorrow morning, in this area Sunday is still very much a day for church but in the afternoon we’re going to see Alex’s cousin, Mary, who is on Lewis for a holiday and is staying in the old family home at Keose, a village about 15mins away from Stornoway.