Day 8: 2nd August 2013
Today we left the flatter hills of Lewis for the more mountainous area of Harris, as we ventured southwards in order to catch the ferry over to Skye in the afternoon. It was fairly barren, given the landscape, but quite beautiful.
We stopped off at the newly opened Harris Tweed Centre in Drinishader, Harris, where you could see an exhibition on how the process is making tweed from the initial stages of getting pure virgin wool to the mills where it is dyed according to requested colours to the spinning of the wool onto spools and spun into cloth in the weaver’s homes then returned to the mills for finishing. To get an idea of the process of how tweed is made, the Harris Tweed Authority demonstrates this in a 4-part series of posts on their blog: How to Make Harris Tweed. It’s really quite fascinating if you really like crafting as it is a detailed but fascinating process.
We browsed through the shop at the various items from tweed iPhone covers to hats, jackets, and various other things made with Tweed. Looks wonderful, alas, I can’t wear wool such as a sweater or jacket unless it’s fully lined and I’ve got a cotton long-sleeve turtleneck on. Mum’s the only one in the family that can wear wool.
After this we headed south to Rodel in the south end of Harris to see Tùr Chliamainn (St. Clement’s Church), a fifteenth century church that had been built for the Chiefs of the Clan MacLeod of Harris. There are two chapels on either side of the main hall, and the rear of the church, there’s a tower that you could go up along to a small room. The high winds could be heard loudly as you went up the tour and the overcast skies made for an eerie atmosphere.
After a while, we headed up a little to have lunch at The Anchorage Restaurant in Leverburgh, over-looking a lovely bay. We then drove up the western coast of the lower end of Harris, heading back to the Port of Tarbert where we were to catch the ferry over to the Isle of Skye. Along the way we stopped at for a couple photo opportunities on the A859, overlooking gorgeous beaches with soft sands and shallow turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
On the ride over to Skye, the winds were up and so were the waves. I found a place to sit down, and watch a bit of tele that was running a few episodes of “Midsomer Murders”, though at some point I fell asleep and woke shortly before we were to disembark the ferry as we arrived in Uist on the Isle of Skye and from there we made our way to Portree where we were staying for two nights. There was a minor quibble when we got to the hostel in that they couldn’t find my reservation, but they were able set up an extra mattress in one of the dorm rooms. Anyway, I got my stuff sorted for the time being and headed out to wander the streets of Portree. Given that my computer was down I was happy to find a shop that had some books to buy. I found a copy of Denise Mina’s “Still Midnight”; I couldn’t remember if I had a copy of it at home (ETA: I do), but I hadn’t read it yet, so I picked up a copy to read. I stopped round the Cooperative supermarket to pick up some cereal for the next two mornings, some fruit and soft drinks before heading for food for supper.
It was still mostly overcast, but as I was headed down to the pier to get some supper from the Fish & Chips shop, it had started to clear off a little. I took this shot down at the pier and took my take-away back to the hostel. I finished my tea and got ready for bed, curled up on the mattress and read for a little while before turning in for the night.