Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Hebridean Sharker, part 1

An unsettled forecast and big tides put paid to any ideas about a big tour, so I set off to the Isle of Lewis with this book to read.

It's quite a short book, more about harpooning basking sharks than about Tex Geddes himself, which is a shame. It has a lot of interest for a sea kayaker, and some hair raising stories of stormy seas.
I've never seen a basking shark from a kayak, though I have from bigger boats. With tales of Tex finding dozens of them at a time, I went in search.
I based myself at the wonderful campsite close to Bhaltos, which is a very outer part of the Outer Hebrides.

It's also a good place for day touring, and I had a bike for shuttles.
First trip was round the island of Great Bernera. The attraction of Hebridean scenery depends very largely on the light and weather, and to begin with Bernera seemed a very bleak grey place.

As I reached the north end, however, the light suddenly changed, and I came across this wonderful place.

An old graveyard was perched above a golden beach on Little Bernera. The island hasn't been inhabited since the mid 19th century, but burials clearly happen here still. One small plot seemed to be dedicated to a clan of local doctors.

Since there was quite a strong headwind for my return to Bhaltos, I decided to come another today to explore more.
Uig Bay is close by. It is the origin of the Uig chessmen, found in the early 1800's. A big one is still here.

Uig sands are enormous, when the tide is out. I found a burn that would float my boat, but unfortunately not if I was in it.

A shortish paddle took me round Gallan Head back to camp. There are some wonderful coastal features along here- big caves and arches.

A short detour took me into the "lagoon" of Pabaigh Mor. It's a delightful sheltered spot, with a huge arch opening from the sea on to dry land.

On the shore facing the camp site are some near subterranean bothies, I presume used by shepherds or fisherman. They have a fine herb garden a large collection of floats.

Still no sharks to be seen, though.

1 comment:

  1. Superb Iain, the lagoon at Pabaigh Mor is one of the most enchanting places I've ever been.....

    Kind regards