This being a landscape photography trip we’re not allowed to take it easy; if there’s daylight we should be out photographing. In our favour the sunrise and sunset are at quite civilised times at this time of year so we found ourselves in the car park wrapped up and ready to go at 7:15.
Luskentyre beach has been voted one of the ten best in world, based on its beauty other than its climate. It faces to the west so the sun rose behind us, lighting the clouds and the island of Taransay across the water. The sun shone, it rained, we got sandblasted – this is going to be the story of our time on Harris. There was rainbow too.
An hour and a half flew by and we returned to the hotel for breakfast. Washed, refueled and ready to go again we headed for Horgabost beach. This is a broad sandy beach with rocks at both ends, lots of patterns in the sand and big waves – plenty to keep us amused for a few hours.
Just above the beach is the new West Harris community centre, this was recently completed with the help of EU finance – no need to guess which way the island voted! There is a restaurant, some artists studios, accommodation and a number of other facilities. The West Harris Pensioners Lunch was in full swing when we arrived. We spotted the couple who owned the cottage we stayed in last year and went over to say hello – they have some spaces over the winter so maybe we’ll be back soon!
After lunch, the forecast was for grey skies for the afternoon so we headed for a couple of more intimate sites – a salt marsh with a number of channels meandering through it and a small loch with some reed beds in the middle. There was a fisherman out on his boat on the loch, probably hoping for a quiet afternoon but he found himself featuring as a compositional feature of 12 photographers shots.
Last stop of the day was Rodel church on the far south east corner of the island. The church is no longer active, it was built in the 15th and 16th century and restored in the late 19th. The tower has two significant historical carvings on it; the Feileadh Mor (big covering) traditionally worn by men evolved in to today’s kilt and a Sheela na Gig, carving of a naked women – a warning against the evils of lust.
Back to the hotel, pre-dinner whisky (Florence had a G&T with a gin from the Isle of Skye) and another tasty meal. Everybody was a bit subdued after a long and full-on day. Same again tomorrow!