A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson:

I had desired to visit the Hebrides, or Western Islands of Scotland, so long, that I scarcely remember how the wish was originally excited; and was in the Autumn of the year 1773 induced to undertake the journey, by finding in Mr. Morris a companion, whose acuteness would help my inquiry, and whose gaiety of conversation and civility of manners are sufficient to counteract the inconveniences of travel, in countries less hospitable than we have passed. On the eighth of August we left Edinburgh, a city too well known to admit description, and directed our course northward.

Hmmm. choices choices.

It turns out that while pannier bags are quite large, they’ve never quite as large as you’d like. I don’t think everything is going to fit. Plus, I have to (have to!) remember to pick up some deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, suncream, etc. I suppose the camping pillow is a luxury that I will have to do without. I wonder how cold it will be. What about a spare pair of shoes? Hmmm.

Still, it will be an adventure. Time to sort out some music for the journey. I wonder if Moz will be happy to listen to Donald Fagan’s Kamakiriad. I will forever associate that album with car journeys in the Hebrides.

So, the plan: today we drive up to Skye and find somewhere to camp and leave the car. Then we catch the boat out to North Uist, and will aim to cycle as far south as we can be bothered (ie, this will depend on how heavy everything seems, the wind, the rain, and the attractiveness of any pubs that we pass). I’m personally hoping we can reach Barra, as I’ve never been. But if we don’t, there’s always next year 🙂

Then, we plan to turn about, and with the wind at our backs (hopefully) we will head North, and catch the ferry over to Harris. After that, well, that will depend. I remember Harris being pretty hilly. Maybe we’ll just find a nice quiet beech and build a giant sand castle. Maybe we’ll make it up to Lewis.

Anyway, Moz has now arrived (having driven up from Manchester) so it’s time to buy final supplies and then have a nice meal.


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