Forget all your foreign trips to far flung places for some photo opportunities this is Seilebost to be precise Isle of Harris.
The simplicity of life on Outer Hebrides (OutNa h-Eileanan Siar in Gaelic) is very refreshing the air is as pure as the spread of light off the Atlantic, with a slight tang of peat fires in the evenings – like burning wood and tobacco and possibly something else ‘grassy’. The people are very friendly and helpful though the accent takes a bit if getting used to. On our 6-day exploration by campervan from Lewis to Harris with a short hop over to South Bernera the sun only stopped shining to let the moon have a turn.
There are camp sites but wild camping is easy and cheap, some parking is free but at the most scenic sites, such as Horgabost, you are encouraged to pay a minimum fee. We were happy to add to the islands economy by purchasing food and drink and the odd meal though places to eat are few and far between. There is of course the compulsory purchase of gin from the islands one distillery in Tarbert.
The rocky, near-treeless terrain of the Hebrides is peppered with atmospheric and prehistoric sites, lonely abandoned cairns and brochs and, most famously, the standing stones of Callanish which line a ridge on the west coast of Lewis. The site is free and open all the time – you can wander among the stones and feel the peace of long lived in ancient places.
The islands’ most poignant human traces are the old taigh-dubh (“blackhouses” in English), the traditional thatched homes of the crofters who fished and made a subsistence living from the land. It’s easy to be romantic about the dwellings at Gearrannan Blackhouse Village on Lewis with its beautiful setting, however the reality is of trampled mud floors, leaking roofs, smoky peat fires and the incessant sound of the working loom.
We loved the islands the effect of all this freedom, lack of traffic and the space to breath on lonely beaches is exhilarating. It was sobering to return to mainland and a long trip down the A1.
Next time the Uists!