ST KILDA VIEWPOINT, NORTH UIST
Sadly we had to leave our delightful spot on the machair, as before I had even started on my travels I booked a boat trip to visit the iconic island of Iona. The sailing was on second of June and I wanted to travel as far down the Outer Hebrides as possible before then, but Berneray is a truly delightful place and the whole island is worthy of a slow and careful exploring, though maybe in something a little smaller than Thebus.
So we crossed the bridge from Berneray over to North Uist, and as my researches told me there was a shop on the west of the island that was the road we took, and sure enough before long we came to a Co-op, and stocking up with provisions for me and chicken and mince for Phoebe I looked at maybe parking up somewhere down the lane opposite, which looked as though might lead to somewhere as lovely as we had spent the last few days. Bad mistake. The lane was just wide enough for Thebus, and then petered out ending in a field gate. There was nothing for it but to open the gate and turn in the VERY rutted and potholed field surrounded by a large herd of curious cattle, which involved opening and closing the gate very quickly on both entrance and exit. All in all not one of my best choices.
So we finally made it back up the tiny road, negotiating our way past the refuse cart which had now entered from the top. Even the turn out onto the road was tight, but we managed it all, and headed on along the road.
Suddenly I spotted a sign saying St Kilda Viewpoint - I couldn't resist it, and checking in the mirror slammed on the brakes and reversed back up. Billy had given me a book to read when I was feeling at my worst, and it was all about the island of St. Kilda over the centuries and the hard lives of the people who had lived there. I knew we had no chance of getting Thebus over to St. Kilda, so perhaps the Viewpoint was the next best thing.
Sadly there was a sign at the bottom of the hill road saying the road was unsuitable for large or heavy vehicles, and I might not have chanced it but at the corner house there were a couple of guys out in the sun digging the garden, so leaning through the window I asked if they thought I would make it - As long as you can get up the hill to turn at the top you should be fine, was the reply, with the adjoinder – Its a good day for the view! - So telling them to send out the search parties if I was not back in a couple of days up we went.
The road was far easier than many I have been on, with bags of space to turn at the top as well, though the pot holes in the turning spot were more than a bit fearsome.
At the very top of the hill was one of those big white spherical things, what are those? I have been told they are weather stations, but that seems a bit unlikely to me. It turned out that all the masts for the phones and internet were on the top of the hill as well, and having suffered from no internet for days I decided to stay the night as there were programmes I wanted to try and download for the newly emptied laptop so we found some where not too much in anyone’s way and settled down.
The views were stunning, Not quite 360 degrees as all the masts and whatever the big white thing was were at the very top. I took some photos and hoped they were St. Kilda, but until I can get some sort of photo programme back on the laptop and get the Olympus camera to download they will just have to wait. There is a telescope there, but I couldn't seem to make it work, although apparently the innards are removed in the winter, so perhaps I was too early in the season.
Later on into the evening I wasn't sure if I had spotted an eagle, but it was so high up I couldn't be sure, and after a while lost interest in watching such a small spec, but shortly after a group of three photographers with tripods and ultra, ultra long distance lenses turned up and focused on the area where my possible sighting had been, and in view of the fact the RSPB reserve was only a few miles down the road I assume it must have actually been an eagle, so I will leave it to you to picture the tiny speck rather than present you with a photo of some blank sky.
I am not sure if my Skin So Soft is working, but there were definitely midges. We were parked up amidst a high patch of heather bog with lots of pools and squidgy bits. Apparently this is perfect for midges who's larva live in damp soil eating nematodes, other insect lavae, fungi and decaying plants. Phoebe and I had a good spray of Skin So Soft before we went walkabout, and though we did bring some of the little darlings back inside, so far, fingers crossed no itchiness. Mind you I have set off Thebus' gas alarm several times with the amount I have sprayed on us both.