We’re getting used to this weather now – although it would be nice to have a change. More wind and rain, but nevertheless we headed off down the road towards Castlebay again. Mary had told us that the library had internet access and so we thought we’d try to upload the blog at least for three days.
Unfortunately, you could only access the internet via the library’s own computers but we took the opportunity of checking the weather forecast (always a dangerous occupation) and other local information. The forecast was as dire as dreaded but showed the possibility of some finer weather in the late afternoon today and maybe next week – in between the rain showers.
So, plan B, and we decided to renew our acquaintance with the Castlebay Hotel, where we had stayed in 1971. It looked much the same from the outside, although with an extension, and we enquired about lunch at the bar – and of course their wi-fi. No password was required and the food was plentiful and nicely prepared so – bingo!
A windy view from the window…
The manager (?) came over and started chatting. Apparently, the fire that we had seen as we approached Barra on the ferry the other night was merely a practice for the local fire brigade and the house was an old one which was already gutted. I suppose they don’t get a lot of fires to deal with and felt it was useful to get their hand in just in case of a real emergency. Good to know no-one had lost their home anyway. He also told us that the people who owned the posh Isle of Barra Hotel were trying to sell up, despite the magnificent position on the beach that they had. We always felt that the concept was wrong somehow. Although the island is beautiful, it isn’t a glamorous place and the weather can be unpredictable as we know!
I managed to upload some of the daily blogs and then spotted a couple from one of the other motorhomes on our site (they come and go – we are the only long-termers). They were from Yorkshire and were at the end of their tour of the Hebrides so we were able to pick their brains. They only had three weeks but recommended the campsite at Balranald in North Uist, where we will be heading to next week. They were keen birders and had seen some unusual birds when they did a day trip with Steve Duffield, who we had read about. A Hoopoe no less!
We eeked out the meal as long as we could while I finished uploading and then decided to try the causeway to Vatersay, a smaller island which, when we were last on Barra, could only be reached by boat. The weather started to improve, as forecast, and it wasn’t long before the sea looked blue again although the wind was still bitingly cold. Vatersay is much like its bigger neighbour but with a smaller population. Still quite a lot of sheep though!
We took this great view of Castlebay before we crossed the causeway once more back to Barra.
There is an interesting monument to the men of Barra who lost their lives in the two world wars set atop a hill.
The wind had increased once more and there were some exciting photo opportunities along the Atlantic coastline on our way back to the campsite and a Raven soared overhead.
Meanwhile on the rocks down on the beach the comical Turnstones were doing their stuff and in the far distance Peter spotted this Eider Duck and his mate (you need to look hard to spot the dull brown female).
Vatersay looks idylic. I’m sure the brighter, drier skies enhanced the photographs – not to mention your spirits.
It’s certainly beautiful but everything looks so much better in the sunshine. 🙂