The weather forecast is occasionally reliable, but we go through phases when its complete and utter rubbish. So much for a mega-super-computer and loads of experts. Its been like that this week. Temptation is that you go out and do something with half an opportunity, just in case it deteriorates later.
A bike ride to the lighthouse. I was convinced we’d get wet, pessimist that I can be. Five miles later we’re sitting on a nice flat rock up at Stoer Head, drinking coffee and admiring a lovely seascape across to the top of Lewis. Glassy sea below us; loads of shags, a few gannets and a skua, but no sign of dolphins today. We’re going back via Balchladich, and stop at friends’ house for a brew, then get home dry! Clouds are still a bit heavy, but nothing happens.
After lunch, it actually looks fairly bright. Its late August, so the heather is flowering right now. I haven’t taken any photos of it yet this season, and never in Clashnessie. Time to put that right. I make my way along the hillside overlooking the beach. A great big cloud turns up, so I wait for half an hour. Once the cloud gives up, its wall-to-wall blue sky and sunshine. I certainly didn’t expect that, and now I’m over-dressed and getting rather warm. I get some photos too.
There’s a few people on the beach; bank holiday weekend and there’s probably a total of three families down there. One group have a boat, and the skipper is making waves to splash the kids and make them squeal.
Back at the ranch…. “do you fancy a swim?” Bravely, we go down there without wetsuits, and…. its OK! Admittedly not tropical, but not freezing either. We do a couple of widths of the bay and it is very refreshing. Being residents we do have a bit of an issue: walking down there in swimming gear, someone is bound to see us, so once we leave home we are totally committed to getting in the water, no matter what. Reputation intact!
Two rump steaks have defrosted. Grabbing a disposable barbecue we drive two miles to Stoer beach, as it faces west. Thinking sunset now. The sunset never happens, as there’s cloud over Lewis, and it does spoil that particular moment. Never mind; the barbecue was good. Four blokes are down there too, and offer us some spare crab they’ve caught and cooked. Its Velvet Swimming Crab; smallish with a vicious reputation, but I’ve never eaten them before and they are really tasty.
That’s it we give in now; we’ve had our fill of the day, as well as the food!
Do It Yourself
Cycling to Stoer Head Lighthouse
As roads go around here, this is probably the flattest one, relatively speaking. In good weather, the views over the sea and across to the mountains are stunning. Blue tea-van at the lighthouse car park. Or divert to Culkein Stoer for tea, coffee and home-made jam.
Car park opposite. No local facilities.
Heather flowers best late August to mid-September.
Hillside has no paths; its rough and can be wet; walking boots best.
Swimming is generally safe in this shallow sandy bay, but the water is cold!
Car park at the graveyard opposite. No local facilities.
Huge pebbles on a steep bank dropping to lovely sand at low tide.
Amazing quality of light looking out across the Minch.