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" Outer Hebrides 2019 - 4 - Golden Beaches - Golden Roads "


Date & start time:    Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th May 2019.     ( NB 141 043)

Location of Start :   Bun Abhainn Eadarra, (Bunavoneader), Tarbet, Isle of Harris, UK.

Stayed at :                Number 4 Harris, self-catering for the week.

Places visited :       Seilbost, Horgabost, Luskentyre and Rosamol beaches.

Walk details :           Walks on the beaches and Horgabost headland.

With :                         Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                  Fine weather with a slight breeze.

Welcome to Harris . . . from an unknown sand artist.


The Hebrides are home to some of the best beaches in Britain.

We make sure we leave time to visit the delights of South Harris, to enjoy the beautiful sands and the azure colours of the sea.

The Luskentyre Estuary is south of Tarbet and here at low tide offers wide expanses of golden, almost white beaches.

This was the view from the roadside between Seilebost and Horgabost.

The hills of North Harris (where we are staying) are in the distance, the island of Taransay is the one with two white beaches across the bay.

From here the road heads south towards Leverborough and on toward the southern Hebridean islands

but we stop on the corner near the beach of Traigh Iar, looking across to Scarista Bay and Toe Head.

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With the onshore breeze and direct access to the North Atlantic

the slow waves were breaking around the rocky headland

in a lazy but dramatic way.

Tucked into these maritime cliffs were pockets of pink Thrift

which seem to thrive in the salty environment

with little if any soil underneath them.


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The wind whips the tops off the waves as they break on the shore.

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A change of location and a change of environment . . . just half a mile back up the road.

With the protection of the rocky shore and the Horgabost headland we are now into grassland and machair.

We are also adjacent to the entrance of the camping site and very close to a rather nice cup of tea.

We stayed locally with the caravan during the last century (!) before this present camping site was formally in business

and well before this sea shell stone artwork was created.

It highlights the characteristics of several of the shell types found on the beach, the design itself also looking like a oversized limpet on the boulder.

Time for sandals not walking boots for our stroll down to the beach.

We think we put our caravan on the darker grass slopes of the promontory, whereas the current camp site is much nearer the road.

The sand was just as lovely as we remember.

The view looking north to the Luskentyre beaches and beyond to the hills of North Harris.

Don't look now but I'm being followed . . .

I only came across for a photo incorporating the seaweed covered rocks.

The Eider is the UK's heaviest duck and is a true sea duck, rarely found away from coasts where its dependence on

coastal molluscs for food has brought it into conflict with mussel farmers.

Eiders are highly gregarious and usually stay close inshore, riding the swell in a sandy bay or strung out in long lines out beyond the breaking waves.

Courtesy of the RSPB  . . . couldn't say it better myself.

Someone not riding the swell . . .
. . . in fact he was mildly put off by waves to start.

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Later that evening we sent the family this photo as a postcard

with the words "We're having a lovely time on the beach"


When we got home it was pointed out that Dylan's expression

wasn't quite up to the optimism that the postcard suggested !


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Horgabost Beach (Traigh Niosaboist in gaelic).

Turn the clock back thirty one years (1988) to when the kids were young and I didn't have grey hair.

One of my all time favourites from the old album.

Our son and daughter, Gareth and Jenna, plus sunshine, blue skies, a garden rug, flowers on the machair, a Guinness towel . . . what more do you need.

Our caravan is in the background . . . fewer visitors to the islands 31 years ago !

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Present day curiosity satisfied and a beach walk enjoyed, we drove round to the other side of the sandy estuary.

This photo was taken from the road out towards Luskentyre.

The sand below and the sunshine and blue skies above, cast a deep azure colour on the water, the shade of which was dependent

on the depth of water in the channel.  It is currently low tide, but at high tide all this vast expanse of sand sand is submerged by the sea.

We parked at the road end and headed for Rosamol Beach.

Marsh Marigolds on our way through the dunes.
Scottish Black Face sheep rules the other side of the stream.

The machair grass is characterised by a carpet of flowers . . . these are Birds Foot Trefoil.

Daisies growing in with the Marram Grass.

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Primroses in profusion alongside the path over the dunes.


It is only May and the blossoms of the machair flowers

have not yet reached their full potential.

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Rosamol Beach, looking across to Taransay.

For those that remember the year 2000 "Castaways Reality TV Show"  Taransay was the island that launched the TV career of Ben Fogle.

This was another glorious sandy beach that would only be improved today by less wind and a little more sun !

The dogs enjoyed it . . . "We're having a lovely time on the beach" was much more believable from this photo.

Taking time out to enjoy the surf . . . and the hills of Harris beyond.

The dramatic cliff across the way is Sron Scourst, the outlier of the higher summit Uisgneabhal

A wider panorama as we leave the bay and return to the car.

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We also journeyed down to Horgabost  as part of a subsequent day out.

The new road to Horgabost.

Our walking route is shown here in turquoise.

This time we decided to walk Tarigh Iar, its fine sandy, west facing beach and the headland beyond.

Pied Wagtails sift through the tide line in search of invertebrates to eat.

Afternoon again and the tide is out, exposing the wet sand and a slight sand bar between us and the waves.

As the tide came in, the pool behind started to flood . . . time to roll up the trousers a bit more . . .

. . . or just walk away from the deeper water down near the sea.

Course marram grass and the softer, greener machair . . . still absent of flowers on this more exposed westerly location.

A standing stone probably raised some 5,000 years ago . . . it goes by the local name of McLeod's Stone

Looking south towards Toe Head.

On the top of the promontory was a more recent stone cairn.

A wider look around, the clarity of which is good but would be better without the bright haze from the sun.

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama

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Returning to Traigh Iar beach

The tide is further in now and the sand hollow full to overflowing.

To paraphrase an old poem . . .

"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.

I left my shoes and socks there . . . I wander if they're dry ?"

(John Masefield, adapted)


The shoes are not mine . . . anyone claim them ?

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- - - o o o - - -

We leave the golden beaches to drive part of the golden road around the lochs and lochans of South Uist.

As you can see from the map, the road twists and turns around the headlands, crofts and and tiny hamlets of this part of the Hebrides.

It was seemingly so expensive to build that the locals dubbed it the "Golden Road".

A newer section of modern road straightens some of the bends but not all of them.

The inlet at Aird Mhighe looks vaguely familiar . . .

Over the years the bridge has been upgraded and the houses improved . . . but it is more or less the same.

We reach the coast again at Geocrab . . .

. . . and drive to the end of the road  . . .

. . . to find the famous Skoon Gallery and Cafe

I don't think cream teas are very good for dogs . . . now lie down quietly and drink your water !

- - - o o o - - -

We backtracked after our rather nice refreshments and headed out

on the Leac peninsula to Grosebay (Greosabhagh), just to find this house.

The Harris Tweed Company Grosebay

I had promised myself a new jacket . . .
. . . so when on Harris buy Harris Tweed.

The authentic tweed is Scottish wool, prepared and guaranteed hand woven on household looms here on the islands.

It was then tailored in Italy but returned to the land of its birth, where it was displayed, ready for re-homing in my Cumbrian wardrobe.

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The church at Scadabhagh alongside one of the numerous tarns in this part of the island.

Loch Procrapol  doted with islands that the sheep can't reach.

Classic South Harris landscape at Drinisiadar.

Very old ruins and old properties . . .
. . . contrast with new housing on the opposite shore.

Our circuitous route finds us back on the main road and looking down onto the town of Tarbet.

The ferry from Uig that we travelled on from Skye and mainland Scotland

has returned and is ready to board a full complement of travellers, including a large number of motor homes.

They have been a feature of our visit to the islands this time.

We have a special request to buy something from Tarbet this holiday.

Sadly not from the old Tarbet Stores, which seems to have gone out of business.

Our youngest daughter requested something from here.

[ Don't tell her brother and sisters as we only had money to buy one bottle !]

Tonight we dine out with Anne and Andrew, so time to head back for wash and brush up before we head out once more.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 mid-range System Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a bottle of Harris Gin with the unique added essence of local kelp seaweed.

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Previous walk - Outer Hebrides 2019 - 3 - Bunavoneadar and Reinigeadal

A previous time in the area - 25th June 2003 A Hebridean Summer - 3 - Scarp

Next walkOuter Hebrides 2019 - 5 - Eilean Glas