Back to Outer Hebrides, June 2008
Outer Hebrides, June 2008
The Outer Hebrides are great. White sandy beaches, turquoise seas, and temperatures in excess of 15 degrees... also, in June, the sun doesn't set till after eleven, and even then it doesn't really go dark. So at last we got to spend a summer solstice somewhere ridiculously far north. Unfortunately after the first few days constant heavy rain set in, and the locals kept telling us how they'd just had eight weeks with only one day of rain.
We didn't visit South Uist or Barra, but out of the remaining islands, North Uist and Harris were the best. You could disappear on Harris for days and not see anyone. Lewis was a bit flat and bleak, and by the time we got there, the weather certainly wasn't helping make it appealing.
None of the islands have much to do for people who don't like being outside, which of course didn't bother us, but it can't help the tourist trade. Nothing is open on a Sunday, and only recently have they stopped chaining children's swings up on the sabbath. The outlook for the islands doesn't look so great - all the local youngsters either leave for the mainland and never come back, or stay and become alcoholics, according to one fisherman B&B owner, who incidentally sold all his langoustines to the Spanish. Airfreighted live via Newcastle, of course. All the schools and shops are closing, and many houses are becoming derelict. It's really sad, because the islands are stunning - they're just a bit of a pain to get to. We're intending to go back next year though, and hopefully take more people with us. Maybe we can rescue them...!