Monday, 17 September 2012

Mon 17th: North Uist to Harris

Carrying on round the coast of North Uist with it's White sandy beaches, we were soon on the causeway and then on to Berneray. The village gets a good write up, so we checked it out before heading for the ferry terminal.

It's georgous!! Harbour bay surrounded by cottages. We sat on a bench and watched the seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Eventually we got a but chilly so headed off to the cafe for tea before the lunchtime ferry.

Disaster! Ferry cancelled due to exceptional low tides! No other option but to wait for the next one at four o'clock... This was not good - our plan once on Harris was to do the 20 mile rid from Leverburgh to Tarbet which included our first ever experience of hills on a laden touring bike. I was worried....

So there was a tense wait, more tea and cake consumed, and lots of watching the tide come in.

Finally the ferry arrived. I then completely understood why the previous one was cancelled. The sound of Harris is really shallow with lots of small islands and sandbanks, and the route between the two harbours is circuitous to say the least. The ferry was making some very sharp turns around the marker buoys and I'm sure that at some points the depth alarm was going off!!

Once on Harris it was time to crack on - 20miles, some hills, and two hours of daylight left. The climb up from Leverburgh was a steady plod and then we got to the top and rounded to corner to see some absolutely stunning coastline laid out before us. Beautiful sandy beaches!

Then further on Harris golf course with it sternly worded "No playing on Sundays" sign. Bless. And some great beaches with crashing waves and plumes of spray. We had to keep stopping to take photos! Amusingly we saw the same people at each stop, so it looks like a bicycle is a quick as a car on Harris...

Eventually though we had to crack on and head up and inland away from the amazing beaches. The first climb was a short stiff 1in10 (?) but then it slacked off a bit. The landscape here was completely different to anything we'd seen on the islands so far - brown, with big boulders everywhere, it really felt in the middle of nowhere. We plodded on upwards, eventually reaching the top of the pass. I was so relieved. I'd been quite worried about my ability to haul a laden bike up hills. And actually it really wasn't that bad. OK, in the grand scheme in things they're not very big at all but everyone has to start somewhere.

The there was the cracking fast descent to Tarbert, but the sting in the tails was the heavens opening just as we got to the village. A few minutes cycling in that and we turned up at the B&B looking like drowned rats!

No comments:

Post a Comment