Heading to Harris
After a restful night at Berneray beach, it was lovely to wake with the sun and hear the gentle sounds of the waves lapping up upon the white sand beach when I opened the van door in the morning. Always a great back drop for my early morning breakfast by the sea. My plan for today was to head to Berneray ferry port this morning and see if there was space for the crossing back to Leverburgh on South Harris.
Arriving at the port I was first inline in the no ticket/unbooked lane. It wasn’t looking too busy so I was hopeful I should get a space onboard when the ferry docked. I met another VW camper waiting in line and we soon got to chatting about our experiences etc. of our different trips around the Outer Hebrides. This may have been a solo road trip for me, but there were plenty of interesting people I met and spent some time with en-route. I might be a little more social than I think I am sometimes!
When the ferry arrived, once all the booked vehicles/passengers had embarked, there was still room for me to be directed on board. Once parked onboard the ferry, time to enjoy another mini maritime scenic adventure. It was a beautiful day for my return crossing back to Leverburgh so up on deck to make the most of it!
I normally like to check out and support local independent shops on my travels, and the ‘Butty Bus’ just as you come on/off the ferry at Leverburgh Harbour (for obvious reasons) caught my eye. I loved its strap line of ‘A catering establishment with 4 Michelin Tyre’s’ 🙂
From this seemingly inauspicious setting, I admit I had some preconception of what might have been on offer. Sure, it had all the classic offerings, plus a few local twists. However, everything was freshly cooked and of a really high quality. I opted to try a soup of the day, which in this instance, was a superb Roasted Red Pepper and spicy Tomato soup. It was delicious. I also had a great Lorne sausage, bacon and onion roll as a brunch time treat. Again, really nice. I will be coming back here again. Highly rated!
After my brunch time meal, it seemed like a good time to enjoy some more of the islands many beautiful beaches. A walk along the golden sands of Luskentyre beach was a good way to try and work off brunch a bit, plus it is always good for the soul.
There was also some pretty cool examples of simple, understated off-grid architecture that I loved in the area. When you live in a landscape so wild and beautiful as this, it seems to just fit really well with its surroundings.
Leave no trace
I appreciate that sometimes ‘wild camping’ in a camper van can often attract negative connotations. Especially in this time of ‘staycation’ and ‘van life’ where motor homes and camper vans popularity has gone ballistic! Having grown up camping with the Scouts/Venture Scouts, where campsites had to be kept immaculate, the more recent idea of ‘Leave no trace’ is firmly part of my ethos when I travel.
Stopping overnight in spots like this, I make sure to leave them as good as, if not better, than I found them. Ready for the next person to enjoy as much as I have! Unfortunately, there are a small minority that might not follow the same principles which spoils it for everyone. Having chatted to some locals, the summer influx of people to the Outer Hebrides there had been some issues with litter, waste disposal, parking and road usage (single track roads). I suspect they might have been first timers to camping or motor homes, but it is really no excuse.
The ‘Golden Road’
New day, new places to explore. There was one more thing I needed to do in the North of Lewis, so I had the perfect excuse (like I needed one!) to make my back up and across new areas of the Isle of Harris and Lewis.
From my stopover, it would be easy to retrace my tracks back to the main route on Harris back up to Lewis. I had already previously come this way, so where’s the fun in doing that again? To my right, the road continued off in to the mountains along what my sat nav determined was an ‘Unknown Road’…, subsequently I’ve learned that this amazing stretch of road is actually known as the ‘Golden Road’ – it certainly made for an amazing driving experience with priceless views!
It had to come out somewhere I thought? If nothing else, it would be a great way to see and explore more of the Isle of Harris.
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference
– Robert Frost
So glad I took this road. The spectacular scenery was awesome. Even just on the small landmass of the Isle of Harris, the scenery coast to coast varied so much! The wild coastline and rocky landscape on the East coast was amazing.
Then of course there is the wild and vivid colour that punctuates the landscape. On the one hand, there is the natural colour details found in the flora, but sometimes it can be seen in a more abstract man made form. Like this crazy bright orange coloured store building in the wild mountain landscape! Such a brilliant contrast, love it! 🙂
Mountain tea break
It was fantastic just to slowly meander around the single track roads of Harris. It’s such a dramatic and raw landscape. There is so much to try and take in. It feels like a visual way of cleansing and creatively refreshing your mind. At least it does to me!
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