A Nautical Nomad

Days two and three trip to the Outer Hebrides.

Once upon a time I carried out tours of Scotland . I have not done anything like that for quite a time but one of our clients from Sweden was setting up a tour of the outer Hebrides for a group of his friends and he managed to persuade me to take the tour myself. I was a bit apprehensive but it turned out a great tour and I enjoyed it very much. Here is a couple of days of that tour, from September 2018. it brought back many great memories.

Good dinner and some traditional music at the Ceilidh Place on Thursday and a decent breakfast before heading for the ferry to board at 10.30 . Brand new ferry called the Loch Seaforth. Some great views heading down Loch Broom and into the Minch en-route to Stornoway. Got the computer out and did quite a lengthy travel journal tried to save it and can’t find the bloody thing now, therefore the reason for this one consisting of days two and three.
Nice smooth crossing and managed to get a wee nap in one of the reclining chairs then went to the cafe for a coffee.

Disembarkation went smoothly, collected the group and headed the short distance to the Hebridean Guest house. Checked in the group and off loaded the luggage, mine being the last , then, disaster, no computer. I had left it in the cafe on the ferry and it was heading straight back to Ullapool. Quick about turn in the bus and headed back to the terminal where the receptionist informed me that the gangway was about to be sealed but I could try to get back on board., I ran up the stairs and along the passageway to the doorway to be informed by the crew member that the ship sailed in two minutes whether I was on board or not, ran to the cafe to discover it was not the cafe I had left the computer in so again ran the length of the ship and there it was right where I had left it. Got back to the entrance as the guy was about to close it and just managed to get on to the gangway in time, saving myself a six hour two way trip to Ullapool and back again.

So panic over , back to the Guest house collected the people and walked them into town as though nothing had happened, let them loose in Stornaway and headed to the Harris Tweed display centre which is a bit like the yard in Steptoe and Son. Nice guy though and tweed jackets etc at very good prices saving around £80 compared to high street prices.

Next job was to arrange someplace to have dinner for last night and tonight, which was rather difficult, but managed it eventually then off to Lews Castle with the group which involved about a mile walk and the main reason I took them there was to confirm that the Castle had been partially turned into a hotel and there was a Starbucks cafe there too. Yes indeed , civilisation as we know it is doomed as we now have a Starbucks Cafe on the outer Hebrides. Dinner was nice in a hotel on the other side of the town and afterwards, on the way back I excused myself and went into a wee Irish pub in the town centre, which had live music and had a very well earned pint, which went down exceedingly well.

Leisurely breakfast this morning and we headed off South and then West towards the standing stones at Callanish , always a good visit and brought back memories of when I was taking the production crew of the film Brave around the country when the film was in the production phase. If you watch the film you will recognise the Callanish stones, although it is an animated film and also Dunnottar castle. If you go to the verry, verry, verry end of the credits you will also see my name there.

So after Callanish it was off to the Black houses at Grerrinish , wonderful place and a great situation by the shore. We had a walk along the shore before heading for Dun Carloway and the broch. I remember a previous visit there over 20 years ago. I was at the Broch and telling the people about it when I looked towards the sea and there was the masts of the Royal Yacht Britannia close into the shore. Now the royal family at one time would take a trip around the coast of Scotland each Summer, to have a look at their subjects from a safe distance and at the same time make the peasants feel proud that their hard earned cash was being spent wisely keeping that privileged family in the manner they seem to think they deserve. So it looked like they had come ashore for a picnic. Being the ultimate tour guide and realizing that the Queen would be delighted to see her most loyal subject, me) and a group of Jonnie foreigners,. I decided to join the picnic and prove once and for all that the Royal family are good for tourism. So I put this to the group and although the majority of them were all for it , there was an English couple who were horrified, I therefore decided against it , pitty.

I digress. So after the Broch we had lunch at the hotel nearby. Then off north to the lighthouse at Ness point and a visit to the beach nearby where the ladies in the group immediately divested themselves of any unnecessary clothing and plunged into the water. I of course looked the other way. So coffee followed at the harbour at Ness to warm the ladies up and a cold drink to cool me down.

A drive back to Stornaway with an explanation of the Highland clearances to keep the group awake and my mind off the mermaids from Sweden. Dinner tonight at 8.30 so time to get ready. Another good day in, I could get used to this again.


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