Today is my birthday and the weather looks set very fair for our planned trip to Berneray. Once again, it was lovely to open cards from the family (another great hand-made card from Lucy and Charlie). Alexandra texted me in the morning.
It was great to spot a couple of Red-Breasted Mergansers and quite a crowd of Eiders in the bay just around the corner from the campsite.
We had planned to have lunch at the Cladach Kirkebost café so, to fill in some time, we paid another visit to Loch Euport to see what was happening there. The sun had come out by this time and it was looking good for a bright, if not particularly warm, day and thank goodness, that biting wind had abated.
The loch was looking glorious and the hills rich and vibrant. There was a Teal out on the water today and a Grey Heron suddenly took to the air above the rocks.
It wasn’t long before we saw some of the little Goslings from the other day – they seemed to have grown already.
We discovered that there was another road that we hadn’t explored the other day, so Bessie valiantly took to the narrow track in search of new panoramas. Every bend in the track held new delights and I was photographing this scene when son, Rob, phoned with birthday wishes.
Around another bend and we found there was a spate of house building going on and this one, partly finished, was sporting a turf roof. It was built right onto the loch and had an amazing view – particularly today.
An artist had a studio nearby and this elegant sculpture was evidence of his talent.
Some young deer watched us curiously as we drove past…
We arrived at Cladach Kirkebost just after 2pm and were hoping that they hadn’t sold the last of their delicious peat-smoked salmon. They hadn’t and we had a wonderful lunch, finishing with some chocolate fudge and lemon cake to share.
Then it was back in Bessie and our journey to Berneray, the island above North Uist, reached by causeway and from where we would be catching the ferry to Harris the next day. The skies were exciting with streaky clouds cutting across the deepest of blue.
We knew that the forecast for the next day was not encouraging and this was our last opportunity to see Berneray at its best. The dunes are white and the machair grows in spiky tufts as on most Hebridean islands. It’s what gives them their character and uniqueness. The dark shapes of the Harris hills loomed in the distance.
The extraordinary sky turned stripey with the clouds forming a diagonal pattern.
There are some traditional crofters’ cottages, now in the hands of the Scottish Youth Hosteling movement. This one with the thatched otter was particularly gorgeous.
We were walking back from the cottages when we saw a black and white bird swimming and diving in the sea. After many photographs we have concluded that it was a Razorbill – the first we have seen. There was an Eider too and a Black-Headed Gull who was diving and successfully catching small fish.
We reluctantly left the beach and headed back to the causeway, pausing near the harbour where we caught sight of some seals on rocks quite close to the shore.
I rather liked these two!
It really was our day, as on the way home we saw a Short Eared Owl out hunting. Not the clearest of photos but what a sight.
To cap it all of we passed these young stags.
It’s a rock – not a halo btw!
And last but not least, a Buzzard waiting patiently from a handy perch.
Sally and family made a Skype call to us in the evening – connection wasn’t brilliant but it was lovely to chat with them all.
What a remarkable day and a fitting last day on North Uist. The campsite at Balranald is great and we hope that Anne makes a real go of her new venture there – she certainly deserves to.
Tomorrow we are travelling across to Harris on the ferry and then driving on to Lewis.
Some superb captures today. I’m impressed with the shots of the birds in flight; I’ve always loved watching herons in flight and there is something magical about owls on the wing too (nothing to do with Hedwig of Harry Potter fame)! The first photograph of the sky would make a lovely painting.
I think the owl was probably the highlight of our day. We had previously gone to a certain spot to see if we could see the Snowy Owl which has been seen for a few weeks now (on recommendation from Brian, the RSPB man) but had no luck. Seeing the Short Eared Owl was a bonus. Sadly, I don’t seem to have had much time for painting lately. Editing photos seems to have taken all my spare time! 🙂
Incredible photos as usual. What a location for the new house!