Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Rhum, part 2

In the morning, it was quickly clear that I wouldn't be paddling. Despite being on the sheltered side of the island there was a brisk, cold breeze coming down the glen. Harris bay was flat calm, but out to sea a jagged horizon was moving in the wrong direction. It didn't seem worth either the effort or the risk of attempting to gain a few miles.
I set off to explore, meeting first the various inhabitants of Rhum...

,,and then climbing the western hills of Ard Nev and Orval. I'd been here once before, on a hill walking trip. It was sobering to realise that this had been 30 years ago, travelling between the bothies of Dibidil and Guirdil Bay. A pause to reflect on the passing of time would have been in order, but I was being blown about by a vicious wind and it wasn't a day for hanging about on the summits. I wonder how many others have climbed these hills in the 30 years- possibly not many.

Ard Nev in the foreground

Back at the tent I settled down to a pleasant afternoon and evening. By and large, a busy life discourages me from reading big books, so it was a pleasure to relax with Nelson Mandela's autobiography. Only a few weeks before I had been walking the Indian Ocean coast not far from his birthplace. It was easy to picture the rolling hills and grand rivers he describes. Robben Island also put a day stuck on Rhum into perspective.

Behind the mausoleum I came across the remains of an earlier grave. Apparently the Bulloghs didn't find this one good enough, so blew it up and started again with the Greek temple affair.

Harris also boasts a large raised beach and a fine crop of primroses.

That evening there was no spectacular sunset. Instead there was a moonrise that was truly magical.

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