Monday, 31 July 2006

The road to Berneray

The last five miles to the Berneray causeway involves travelling along a single track road. Increasingly, looking to the left, you catch glimpses of perfect beaches and clear seas. Here's a good picture from Ian JC of such a scene, a few miles before getting to Berneray:


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Sunday, 30 July 2006

En suite facilities

This is a common sight when travelling around the Outer Hebrides. And makes good sense of what to do with old bathroom fittings i.e. recycling as water troughs for farm animals. On the horizon of this picture are the snow-capped hills of Harris. Thanks to Flickr user Bluewave for the picture:


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Saturday, 29 July 2006

Camas na Clibhe (different perspective)

A close-up shot of this beach was featured previously on this blog. Here's a different shot, from the same Flickr photographer (Ian JC), showing more of the surroundings:


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Nudist beaches of the Outer Hebrides

That got your attention.

This is a question (or several questions) that is asked increasingly by visitors. Are there official nudist beaches here? Would people mind if nude bathing took place on a nearby beach? Is it safe/cold/discrete enough?  

Bearing (ahem) in mind that 1 in 4 Brits have "skinny dipped", it would come as a surprise if people weren't plunging into the sea in the buff on a regular basis. I've done it myself, in Norway and Sweden, and more locally off a beach on Barra and off the west beach of Berneray. Not frequently here, for temperature-related reasons (37 year old flesh is even worse when it's your own and it's turning blue).

The Naturist UK Factfile advises, for the Western Isles: "Many coves, bays and beaches among the Western isles are deserted and could be used by naturists". The legal situation is not clear; there aren't any official (or unofficial) signs up saying "No nudity" - and Berneray is a place where people like putting up signs -  but the few residents I've asked don't know. There's possibly an idea in there for next years Berneray week?

How frequently does nudism occur on Outer Hebrides beaches - difficult to tell; many of the beaches out here are seriously remote. Which is a good thing if you are apparently the more discrete type of nude bather, as opposed to the exhibitionist type. In fact, the latter would be disappointed; beaches here are usually too deserted for that. My (non-legal) advice is to check the weather forecast, get the map out, have a look for a remote beach or cove, check it's absolutely deserted, then go for it.

No picture today, as I was unable to find a picture online of an Outer Hebrides nudist beach. A quick google search draws up the article below:

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Nudism: is it time to grin and bare it?
Scottish beaches get rave reviews in a new book on naturism. A fully clothed Adrian Turpin investigates: 
  
Scotland and nudism — an unlikely mix? You might think so but Nick Mayhew, the author of the naturist guidebook Bare Britain, is out to correct a few misconceptions. "Up until 100 years ago, when people went swimming in Scotland they would have stripped off," he says. "Look at Rob Roy. Remember Liam Neeson famously swimming in the nude?" It may come as a shock to discover that Rob Roy MacGregor was a proto-naturist, skinny-dipping between skirmishes, sunning himself in the altogether, hands on hips by the banks of Loch Voil. But the rest of what Mayhew, a 36-year-old London-based travel writer, had to say this week was even more surprising. Scotland’s beaches are apparently a naturist’s paradise. "As someone who has written a naturist guide to Europe, I can say that Scotland is the most beautiful place in it," says Mayhew. "For me, it’s a wilderness thing. It’s nice having your own bit of wilderness."

There is, in fact, only one official nudist beach in Scotland: Cleat's Shore, in the south of Arran. "I suspect it’s probably the least visited nudist beach in the known universe," says Mayhew. The other sites mentioned in the guide — including Glenaladale by Loch Shiel, Glengarrisdale Bay in north Jura and Loch Arienas in Morvern — have been chosen for their mixture of remoteness and beauty but are offered with a warning: "If you do decide to enjoy a spot of unofficial skinny-dipping, do so with care and respect for others. If in doubt, cover up rather than risk offending."

As for the small matter of the climate: "I was swimming in Sanna Bay near Ardnamurchan Point earlier this month," says Mayhew. "Not for very long, but some of the word's most famous bare-bathers are Swedish. Compared to Scotland, that’s a lot colder. In the far north of the country, there’s a naturist beach inside the Arctic Circle. In midsummer, you get 24-hour sunlight." And has he found an answer to intimate midge bites? "Isn’t that what everyone wants to know? I'll sell you that for a million quid," he says.

But as the Bare Britain guide admits: "It’s not only the midges that can make life unbearable for bare bathers." Naturists may be ready for the west coast, but are the locals ready for naturists? One of the beaches also singled out by Bare Britain is Glasnacardoch on the Ardnish peninsula, locally known as the "singing sands" because of the noise made as you walk over it. Are the locals aware that they are living near a nudist hot (or should that be cold) spot? "I can honestly say I've never seen anyone nude round here. It wouldn't go down very well at all. It’s a place for families," says Jilly Jones, who runs the Old Library Lodge hotel in Arisaig. Maybe that’s a sign of how discreet they are? "I don’t think there’s an awful lot to hide behind down there to be honest," says Jones. You’re sure you’re not missing out on a niche market? "I'm not missing out on anything."

Wouldn’t coachloads of Danes and Germans, not deterred by the weather but eager to be buffed to a high gloss by the Atlantic gales, provide just the shot in the arm which the Highland economy needs? Wouldn’t you be tempted, I ask Jones, if VisitScotland offered to pay for a free advert in Health and Efficiency magazine? "I don’t think so," she says. "I’d rather people just kept their clothes on. Normally nudists are just old people who tend to let it all hang out."

The writer and Highland historian John MacLeod, a native of Harris, adds: "It is difficult to think of a nudist invasion without an awful lot of hilarity. The horizontal rain. The icy chill of the Atlantic. Bumpy, wobbly flesh. Unspeakable." As the son of a minister and an occasional outspoken commentator on public morality, however, MacLeod’s objections go beyond the aesthetic. "The fact is we are meant to be clothed," he says. "The English language suggests that. 'Stripped', 'naked', 'nude' are all synonyms for diminished. The whole point of clothing is that it’s a social discipline. To put it crudely, it's there to cover signs of sexual arousal. Men and women, boys and girls, naked together is an affront on many levels. The naturist thing is an assault on decency. There is something very aggressive about it."

What would be the reaction of the typical minister to a nudist invasion of the west coast? "Horror, pity and disgust I should imagine," says MacLeod plainly. "After the Fall of Man, one of the very first things in the new order was clothing. First fig leaves, then animal skins."

Rebranding the Western Isles as a nudist riviera from Butt to Barra may have to wait a while yet.

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(Entertainingly, the last person interviewed in that article is a local celebrity. A few years ago, we went to view his house on Harris which was up for sale (we didn't bite). Found him to be a pleasant chap, but (a) he was trying to sell his house and (b) it's probably a good thing we didn't get onto subjects such as politics. Before and since then, he's had a colourful career (never a dull moment), culminating in a truly spectacular start to his current job as the press officer of the local health board. As an example of (a) some of the politics here and (b) how two different news organisations report the same story, see these BBC news and West Highland Free Press articles.)

Friday, 28 July 2006

Tràigh Bostadh and the detail of satellite pictures

Here's a picture of Tràigh Bostadh, a beach on the north west coast of Lewis. In the middle foreground is a restored iron age or Norse hut. Thanks to Flickr user Ian JC for the picture.

On the Flickr page for this picture, Ian JC also includes a link to the relevant Google map, highlighting where the picture was taken from.

Though I've played with it for many hours, I am still stunned by Google Maps and Google Earth. Follow the aforementioned link, and make the map as detailed as you can (the notch on the detail scale needs to be one from the top or "+"). Have a look around. See the outlines of old buildings? Now go to the beach and look at the sea - you can see individual waves - hundreds of them.

Which makes me wonder - just how much detail is being captured in each picture. It must be a huge, huge amount. And this by a camera that is not nearby, but hundreds of miles away. Head-spinning stuff.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

I know this shed…

(If you are taking my blog as a feed, then this may be a repeat posting. Bear with me; think I've figured out what is going on).

It’s about halfway along the Luskentyre road, between the junction with the “main” Tarbert to Leverburgh road and the new graveyard that marks the end of the Luskentyre community. We sheltered by it a few years ago when it started to rain.


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The exact location of the shed is highlighted on this Google map mashup. I haven’t been to Luskentyre for nearly two years now, something I’ll be amending in September on my (shudder) 38th birthday.

Thanks to Flickr user Ofarrnba for the picture.

Shallow waters of Uig beach

Another excellent picture from Bluewave. I think I'll holiday with him in the future, as the sun seems to permanently follow him around, judging from his pictures.


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On parts of some of the larger beaches, the slope is barely noticeable. That means you get large areas where the sea is, for a while, just a few inches deep. On days like we've had recently, with warm sand below and hot sun above, you often get a nice bit of warm sea to go paddle in. Dogs, cattle and horses in particular love it. Though I don't think my cats would.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

Barra (not quite International) airport

As previously mentioned, Barra is the airport where the planes land on the beach. It connects this most southerly of inhabited Outer Hebrides islands with a short flight to Glasgow, and a very short flight to Benbecula (for this, you can get a cheap day return ticket if you want to see a bit more of the Outer Hebrides).

Here's the beach, looking south towards the Airport terminal:


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And here's a wider picture of the beach at low tide (both pictures by Flickr user Dowens):


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It's worth getting on one of the flights in order to experience landing on the beach. We did the one from Glasgow, and it was spectacular; the plane flies quite low, especially over the hills. Then for the latter half of the trip, you fly over deserted islands and bits of rock with perfect beaches.

Here's the plane on the "runway" (picture from Ejbaurdo), awaiting boarding and departure from gate number 1 (of 1):


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Alternately, you can watch the planes land and take off from outside the "terminal building", though you can end up with the complementary sand-blasting treatment. The building itself consists of a couple of rooms and an excellent little cafe that serves home-made chocolate cake. It's more fun waiting for the plane to land, as the truck zooms up and down, chasing the cattle off the beach/runway.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Midges and clegs: biting and avoiding

This is the time of the year when midges are apparently at their worst in the west of Scotland. It is true that if you are very unlucky, then you can receive a number of irritating bites; this picture from Flickr illustrates a worst-case scenario (I presume the leg owner was wearing shorts and no socks):


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And here's a worst-case swarm picture, shown with someone wearing a protective net:


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However, midges are rarely this bad. After a decade of living in, and travelling around, the west of Scotland here's my notes:

  • Most repellants don't work. The ones which contain some goo from the eucalyptus(sp?) do appear to have some effect; the rest are of questionable value. Some people swear by various products; others report no difference or protection with the same products.

  • There are many kinds of midge; other 30 types in the Outer Hebrides. Some will bite a particular individual, some won't. It is possible that you get immune to them; I've hardly been bitten by midges in the last two years.

  • Protective gear can help. The headnet is good, but cumbersome. The main thing is to keep bare skin covered. The damned things can also crawl inside and up trousers (possibly what happened in the first picture). Tight jeans are thus more effective than flappy flares!

  • Any kind of wind and the midges disappear. Bearing in mind that the Outer Hebrides is generally windy, this is a good thing.

  • The worst kind of conditions are near to water (especially still water), on an overcast humid day, with no wind, in the evening. Avoiding still water helps.

  • Top tip. If there are midges around, don't stand still; keep walking. This is the most effective technique for me. Midges apparently can't fly as fast as a human can walk, so you literally leave them behind.

  • Midges apparently dislike smoke of any kind.

  • There is a midge alert or midge forecast system. Ignore it; very local conditions dictate how bad the midges are.

  • Midge bites are not painful, just slightly irritating. Look at that leg; it probably itched a bit for a day or two, then that was it. Imagine if each one of those bites had been a bee sting...


...or cleg bites.

I hate clegs, known also as horseflies. And they hate me. Thankfully, they are much bigger than midges, and thus easier to spot. However, by the time you have spotted them, they have often got their teeth in as you don't usually notice them landing on your skin. They usually leave much bigger marks than midges; if left unattended to feast, they can create an impressive bruise.

Here's a closeup of one feeding on human skin (I'm not putting the actual picture here as some people will faint). Oh, it's to scale by the way, not actual size.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Col Uarach

I haven't been to this beach on Lewis, but I've heard good things about it. Another one on the list for my Outer Hebrides beach expedition. Thanks to Flickr user cjcampbell for the picture:


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Sunday, 23 July 2006

First of the Harris beaches

One of the most celebrated "beach trails" in the Outer Hebrides is that of the west coast of Harris. Take the west road out of Leverburgh; the first beach you will come to is this one:


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This is the beach overlooked by the village of Northton. When the tide is fully out, you're left with a huge expanse of sand. In previous times - and during displays and emergencies in more recent times - planes landed on this stretch of sand.

Stay on the "main" road and head gradually north, then other beaches, such as Scarista and Luskentyre come into view. If you do this on the coach, then you often get a personal commentary from the driver.

Thanks to Flickr user Dowens for this picture.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

Molinginish: seriously remote beach

If you go to beach towns such as Bournemouth, Eastbourne, Rhyl, Weston-Super-Mare and so forth, you will often see "knotters". These are more elderly people who will trundle out on a sunday afternoon, tootle at 30mph till they get to the seafront, park facing the sea, and sit in their cars. Not getting out. My grandparents were like this, in their Austin Allegro. I don't think, in 30 years, they ever actually walked on a beach; the convenience of parking and an easy drive to the beach was the main attraction.

So they would never have visited this place, Molinginish. Even if the Austin Allegro had been nimble enough to hop across peat bogs and down precarious slopes:


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This place is REMOTE. As in: first get to the Outer Hebrides. Then go to Harris. The village can be found on the map about 6 miles east of Tarbert. Getting to it either involves walking along a strenuous path, or taking a boat around the coast (advisable to be skippered by experienced local sailors). There are three buildings left with a roof. One is a byre, a second doubles as a shed and the third is a house.

Here's some information on the place; thanks to Simon Fraser:

The village was occupied as part of the large farm of Scalpay and was like Scalpay sparsely occupied until the 19th century. The village was occupied until the early 1820's by shepherds of Campbell the tenant of the tack, or farm of Scalpay. In 1823 the whole population was cleared out of the land on the west of Harris from Bunamhuinneader round to Loch Resort. A family of Campbells, evicted in this clearance from Teilisnis on West Loch Tarbert, were given the lease of Molinginish and moved there with their stock. One or two others came and went, or married in.

The population grew rapidly and the village grew to a maximum of about 40 people in the 1880's. While agriculture was the original occupation, it was very much on a subsistence basis. Through time most of the able bodied men became employed in fishing mainly for herring and fished around the mainland coasts. The women when not employed in agriculture dyed wool amnd made tweed for sale. The herring industry died with the First World War and the village seems to have gone onto a long terminal decline from then on although it did not go without a fight.

After the war the Board of Agriculture encouraged families in Harris to relocate to Portnalong in Skye where new crofts were established. A number from Molinginish went there. The school was however built in 1921 and continued until 1935 when the authorities withdrew the teacher and paid a lodging allowance for the children to go to Tarbert.

The last two occupants were brothers in one house. One died in 1963 or 1964 and the other had to leave then. There is only one person left alive who ever lived there.

The picture is taken from a blog on the BBC website (part Gaelic, part English) by someone who is restoring the path to the village.

Friday, 21 July 2006

Triàgh Shanndaigh

Another beach on Lewis. This particular picture is more curious because of the footprints in the foreground. Expanding it, we aren't quite sure what made them. Cattle? People wearing flippers? The Seal People (that's a blog posting for another day)? Some two-toed Hebridean Yeti?


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Picture by Shirley Grant from her Flickr collection.

Berneray weather: June summary

One of the most common misconceptions about the Outer Hebrides is that it is permanently windy, rainy, cold and so forth. For a little clarity, here's the readings from a weather station about 300 metres from us, summarising June:

  • Average Temperature 12.7C

  • Highest Temperature 20.9C (10th)

  • Lowest temperature 6.3C (25th)

  • Total rain for month 49.4mm

  • Wettest day 17th (11mm)

  • Rain occurred on 20 days

  • Average windspeed 11.6mph

  • Highest windspeed 54mph (20th)

  • Dominant direction SSE


So there you go. Not tropical, but people here don't freeze either. July is set to be hotter, and we've had a few days and one night of what I'd call "mildly unpleasant heat". I think, looking back at diaries from childhood, that's not far off what I experienced then several hundred miles to the south of here.

Of course, if you like the smell of lightly burning flesh, the other option is to go down to the midlands and southern parts of England. 36 degrees centigrade; no thank you.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Lonely cloud over a beach

Another picture of an Outer Hebrides beach; and, a bit of sky. From the Flickr collection by Bluewave:


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Today on Berneray it is very hot, but there's a slight breeze off the sea to make it bearable. Tomorrow, am off to explore the island of Boreray - yay! Photos will follow.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Camas na Clibhe, Lewis

Another remote beach from the north west side of Lewis. If your browser can handle Google Maps, then you can pinpoint the location here. Thanks to Ian JC for another one from his collection.


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That might be a good place to escape the next heatwave. Even in the Outer Hebrides (which many people assume is permanently wet and cold) it can and does get baking hot. This thursday, as part of Berneray week, I'm off on a trip to the Island of Boreray, which is about four miles to the west of Berneray. The forecast is for light wind (good - a calm sea), but, according to the BBC ... 28 degrees Centigrade.

Urgh; part of the reason I moved here was to escape the hot weather that is slowly turning the rest of the UK into a sahara climate (no coincidence that my favourite holiday destinations are Sweden, Finland and Norway). Looks like it will be a big hat, a flask of iced gin and tonic, and factor 30 suntan for the trip.

Monday, 17 July 2006

Caribbean? Erm, no - Lewis

Another Lewis beach picture from the excellent collection by Bluewave:


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Of course, when you go for a swim you realise that no, it isn't the Caribbean.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Standing stones and beaches

The Outer Hebrides is an ancient land, in terms of its population. A recent archaeological dig on North Uist revealed signs of habitation dating back to around 4000BC. A relative lack of development across the islands means that many such relics, artifacts and indications of previous civilisations, races and people still exist. 


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One of the more noticeable signs of previous societies are standing stones, which can be found in many places across the islands; in fact, it is rare to go for a long walk anywhere and not come across one or several. The one above is close to the west coast of Harris, and is from the Flickr picture set of Dowens.

Here on Berneray, there are a number of standing stones; most of the hills have one or several, and the machair has a large number of various moved stones, dating from the Viking settlers and before.

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Next stop Iceland

There are numerous coves and beaches at the top end of Lewis. From the Flickr collection by MonkeyIron, here's one beach cove near the Butt of Lewis:


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From here, go northwest and the next land masses are Iceland, then Greenland (though if lucky you may pass by Rockall). Go northeast and it's the Shetlands (if you drift a bit) and the Faroe Islands. Head north and it's the Arctic.

Friday, 14 July 2006

East beach of Berneray

Here's another one from the Flickr collection by Ian JC:

 

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This is the east beach of Berneray, about a mile and a bit from where we live. Over the sea you can see South Harris.

A question I've had a few times is why I refer to this place as the "Outer Hebrides" instead of the "Western Isles". I use both names interchangably, depending on the situation or context. Personally, Outer Hebrides is my preference as it at least contains some local description (Hebrides), wheras Western Isles is just bland (west of ... what?). The Royal Mail prefer people to use Western Isles, but the post will get here whichever one of the two is used.

The Gaelic name for the islands is Na h-Eileanan an Iar. Most places have a Gaelic name and an English name; the latter is often a derivative of the former.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Vatersay east beach (again)

Same beach as on a previous posting, but from a different angle. Thanks again to Ejbaurdo for the picture:


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Vatersay is the most southerly of the occupied Outer Hebrides islands, though there are several more (uninhabited) to the south. It was only recently connected to the larger island of Barra by a causeway. Before then, cattle would have to swim in the narrow channel between the two islands. According to local story, a well-known cow drowned on one of these swims, creating the impetus and a stronger case for the causeway to be built.

Barra and Vatersay have a good community website with lots of local information.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Mystery Outer Hebrides beach

Another one from Flickr user Ejbaurdo. This one is somewhere on Barra, Vatersay or Eriskay. Anyone out there know specifically which beach it is?


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I'm pretty sure it's not Eriskay, as the hills are too big. It might be Vatersay west beach, or one of the beaches in the north of Barra. Ach, sounds like a good excuse to wander down there myself later in the summer and solve this mystery.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

An Traigh Mor

Yes, yes, I know there's already been several different pictures of this beach so far:


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But (a) it's a big beach and (b) it photographs well from most angles. So there.

Picture from the Flickr collection by James Morrison.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Bhaltos

Another picture by Steve Sharp of a Lewis beach:


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Another Lewis beach

Stick a few palm trees on the right hand side, and you have something not dissimilar to the east coast of Barbados. Here's another deserted beach from Lewis:






That picture from the collection by Steve Sharp.

Friday, 7 July 2006

The Heggies: blogging (sometimes) from Lewis

The Heggies live on Lewis, and have a blog. Some great pictures on theirs; SWMBO was a fanatical reader of it, and it partially inspired her to move out here. So we have the Heggies to blame if it all goes wrong.

However, recently they've been blogging less. Here's the reason why in an email from a (probably bleary-eyed David) this morning:

+ + + + +  Hi John... And then there were four ...

Yes indeed, as if we weren't busy enough, Hilary's decided to give birth to our second daughter almost two weeks early. Lovely wee Orlaith came in a flash in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Looks like I'll *never* have time to update the weblog now ......

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The blog is at:

http://www.island-life.me.uk/blog/

Berneray property market explosion!

Currently there are three houses and one combined shop and tea room for sale on the open market. Am not sure, but that may be a record for Berneray at any one time.

Details and links of these available on the Berneray website (one of my hobbies is messing around with this website):
http://www.isleofberneray.com/news/property/

The houses are offers over 150K, 110K and 30K. As you may expect, the lower the price, the more work that is required on the house. The 30K one is an ambitious property developers dream. Also - if you aren't used to the Scottish system, note the "offers over"; houses are usually sold on a "sealed bid" auction basis.

Still; with four properties for sale, an ex-resident of Berneray returning to get married today in nearby Lochmaddy (reception in the hall in Berneray), and the sheep dog trials on the machair this monday coming, there's no shortage of gossip, speculation and chatter around the island at the moment. 

Thursday, 6 July 2006

Tràigh na Beirigh and beach weddings

Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn and Outer Hebrides beaches? There may be a (future) connection; read on... 

Another picture from the excellent collection by Bluewave. In the distance are the islands of of Pabaigh Mòr, Siaram Mòr & Bhacsaigh:


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Weddings on the beach are not unknown here. It isn't a developed industry, such as in the Caribbean, for a number of reasons (the main one being the unreliability of the weather: you'd need an indoor backup plan). However, the local papers do run pictures of people who have been married locally; it's often a good indication of how windy it was on that day. The recent loosening of regulations on where you can get married may lead to more Outer Hebrides beach weddings. The locations are fantastic, and some places are well set up for it; last time we stayed at Scarista House (one of our favourite hotels in Scotland), there was a wedding about to take place there, followed by a nice 5 minute stroll to a beach the Guardian ranks as one of the best.

There's also an obvious market in celebrity weddings here. There have been a few minor celebrity weddings (mainly Scottish media folk) over the last few years out here. The seclusion and difficulty in getting to these islands would make it attractive to potential celebrities; less likely to be buzzed by a news helicopter here than anywhere else in the UK. And it is difficult for the papparazi to chase after you on single track roads with the occasional passing place...

So I think Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt missed a trick in going to deepest Africa; they should have gone to even more remote Lewis (Uig, possibly) instead, or Luskentyre or Scarista on Harris. Something there for Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn to consider if/when they do, as well as anyone else wanting a wedding far from the madding crowd.

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Camping at Traigh Mheilein, Harris

If you want to look for it on various print (and digital) maps, the coordinates of this location are 58 N 0'56.27"; 7 W 5'14.52".


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Thanks to Flickr user Darren M for that picture.

Traigh Ghearadha

Another day, another Outer Hebrides beach picture. This one is from Flickr user ShirleyGrant:


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Monday, 3 July 2006

Balranald

Balranald is the "birdie place" on North Uist. There is a large nature reserve there, where people can go and watch a myriad of birds. Picture from BCoakley:


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It's quite an open place; not much danger of claustrophobia here, as Ian JC shows in his sea-and-sky picture:


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From the same photoset; on the land side of the dunes, the ploughed machair shows how much of the ground is sand:


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Sunday, 2 July 2006

Living in the Outer Hebrides (2) where the heck is Berneray?

Another question I often get. On Google Maps it is here.

Use the + and - sliding bar to either zoom in and view individual houses, or zoom out and see Berneray's position in relation to the rest of the world.

The link is precisely centred on my house. Zoom in and you'll see the weaving shed in our garden (the roof of), the rocks at low tide when the satellite picture was taken, and Bays Loch (effectively part of the Sound of Harris and Atlantic ocean).

Zoom out, and you'll see the beaches that surround the island of Berneray, as well as the beaches around North Uist, Pabbay and south Harris.

Note: this doesn't seem to work on a few browsers. Also, if you have the choice of "map" or "satellite", then pick "satellite", otherwise you end up with a boring map.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

South Uist beach

The west coast of South Uist is basically one long beach. Here's a picture (thank to Howbeg) of a very small part of it:


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We walked parts of this; it's well over 30 miles from Taobh a Chaolais, where the South Uist beaches start, roughly northwards to Iochdar where they end. In two days of strolling, we didn't see anyone else (this was in May), apart from the occasional distant crofter.