This morning we awoke to gales and rain – yes more rain.  We donned our wet weather gear (me my hooded sheepskin jacket, scarf and gloves) and struggled over the field to the beach opposite the campsite.  Not an arduous journey in normal circumstances but in the howling wind it was demanding to say the least.

DSC_4397The tide was not fully in but was covering the white sand, leaving a wide ribbon of seaweed and, even with the cloudy sky, the water was still varying shades of blue.  Oh for a blue sky – what depth of colour will there be then?


I painted in the morning while we waited to see how the day would pan out weather-wise.  We still haven’t got internet access so decided to got for a run down to the new Isle of Barra Hotel on the west coast to see if we could get access there.  I say “new” but only new to us as it was being planned way back in 1971 so was decidedly established by now.  It’s a low-slung modern building in slate and, judging by the lack of cars in the car park, wasn’t exactly busy at the moment.

The lady on the desk said she could make us some tea and coffee so we took a seat in the enormous lounge overlooking the bay.  It was furnished in variously coloured sumptuous leather sofas and chairs with expensive looking decorative objets around the room.  We had brought the laptop in with us and the lady, who turned out to be the proprietress, was happy for us to log on to the hotel internet.  Unfortunately, however, this proved to be extremely flaky and completely useless.  So it was an expensive tea and coffee in the end.  Apparently it gets very busy in the summer months,  Overall, I wasn’t impressed – the self-conscious grandeur didn’t sit well with the island’s simplicity to me.

We drove down to Castlebay and passed the turning to the new(?) Hospital, which had featured in ‘An Island Parish’, and then a largish Co-Op.  There have been so many additions to island life in the 42 years since we were last here.  These have all got to be great for the islanders and have no doubt encouraged the growth in population but it has made Barra seem less mysterious and special somehow.  This is a selfish thought though, as I am the one who is mourning my loss of internet connection and it’s got to be good that the island is thriving.

We did discover that we could get a full signal on our O2 phone in a couple of places so was at least able to phone Sally.  So we weren’t completely cut off from the outside world at least.

Back at the campsite, we found we had been joined by two new motorhomes although, when Peter knocked on Mary’s door to report a calf that had strayed on to the road further down, she said that they were not happy and were leaving tomorrow.  Probably hadn’t read the ‘no toilet’ information!  Later on another smallish campervan arrived and parked next to us – although a reasonable distance away I suppose.  We spent the evening playing Canasta (the first of the holiday) and went to bed hoping that tomorrow would show a change in the weather.