I shouldn't criticize the weather forecasters, and normally I don't even bother to look, but I am marginally getting to grips with the i-phone I bought in February. I think I am only doing it now because of the endless laptop problems I have had. Anyway there is a weather app already installed which finds your location and gives a five day forecast. Needless to say it had forecast a lovely day, supposedly much better than the stunning sunshine we had had the day before, and they were most definitely wrong.
I did hang around at the Polochar for a bit hoping it would brighten, but in the end set off to wander on down to Eriskay. We crossed the beautiful causeway between the islands, only opened in 2001, with views out across the seas, but sensibly marked with 'No Stopping' signs, so no piccies of that bit.
I have recently discovered that I can do basic editing on the iphone so once I get some internet I should be able to add photos again, and where I am typing the scenery is truly beautiful. Anyway back to Eriskay...
Eriskay is much smaller than I imagined, and within minutes I was nearly at the ferry for Barra, but I stopped at the shop in the village for a few basics, and to check my chances of seeing the Eriskay ponies, the rarest of the rare breeds. In fact so rare there were non to be seen. Though it was a miserable day, so perhaps they had tucked themselves away somewhere.
I had thought to visit the pub which I had thought was used in the film Whisky Galore, it was just off Eriskay that the SS Politician ran aground in 1941 with its famous cargo of whisky but the consensus of opinion in the shop was it was not a good idea in Thebus and too far for me to walk, and in any case it was quite modern, and just named The Politian after the film. But the lady at the shop told me that the beach where Bonnie Prince Charlie had landed to start the ill-fated uprising was in fact he same one that my ferry sailed from and I could park in the ferry car park to look at it, so I drove on down
As I arrived the ferry was just in and was being hurriedly loaded with big black bin-bags of “stuff” by a team of policemen and women from a police car. Goodness only knows what it was!
When they had finished I asked one of the policewomen whether if I tried any of the small side roads which led to the various beaches would be able to turn Thebus round at the ends, but the reply made the idea seem a bit doubtful. And enquiring about the ponies I was told they were normally 'around' so maybe I was just unlucky. If anyone has visited Eriskay and has a photo or two I could post that would be great.
As one of the ferrymen was there with the police I checked to see if I would fit on any of the sailings, but apparently they can't book you on and you need to ring first, so getting back to Thebus I got in touch and the earliest sailing was the last of the day – six thirty that evening. I was just deciding what to do on this rather grey and miserable day when suddenly there was a knock at the door sending Phoebe into barking overdrive, and it turned out there would be space on this ferry if I wanted to go. In my haste I agreed, though with hindsight felt I really hadn't done Eriskay justice. Perhaps it was the right decision though. The day stayed dull throughout, and I think Eriskay is one of those places best enjoyed on foot, which is out of the question for me anyway. I only hope Bonnie Prince Charlie on his way to the to start the 'Forty-Five Jacobite Rising stayed a bit longer.
We got Thebus onto the ferry boat with only inches to spare, I had to be put in the middle, and the last car which was then fitted in behind me was just too tight against the rear doors which wouldn't close till he could be found amongst the milling passengers to move his car forward a couple of inches. As I have said before I think the ferrymen always regard Thebus as a bit of a challenge, and really make an effort to fit him on as a point of professional pride.
Having paid the Purser for my trip I climbed on up to the top deck to make the most of my views of leaving Eriskay after my all to brief visit, and got chatting to a lovely couple who had bought their dog up on deck with them. And before too long we were approaching Barra.
Beach on Eriskay Where Bonny Prince Charlie landed to start the Uprising