Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Western Isles - Scotland

 Eight islands in the Hebrides visited
by air
sea
and land

We flew to Edinburgh, travelled north to the Kyle of Lochalsh, and crossed the sea bridge from the Scottish mainland to Skye. 
We encountered traffic jams along the roads
and curious looks from the locals
A profound sense of remoteness 
peace and quiet
and timelessness
stunning scenery
A unique culture
and ancient history

62 comments:

  1. What a fabulous photo journey of a fabulous trip. Can we look forward to more?

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Mike - yes more to follow, but first I have the usual pile of debris to sort out from our suitcases.

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  2. What lovely photos and it brought back some wonderful memories of our trip to Skye in 2011. Take care.

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    1. Thank you for your visit Susan - I am pleased that this post reminded you of your visit in 2011.

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  3. I don't often envy people but I could make an exception for you on that trip. Driving to the North of Scotland was the most pleasurable experience when I lived in London but I have never been to any of those islands. That Macbraynes bus stole my heart !

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    1. The Isles do seem remote and a long journey away but it is surprisingly quite simple to visit them. Several are now connected by causeways which then link up with regular ferry services which you do not have to book beforehand. However, this might not be the case during the main summer holiday period.

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  4. Oh wonderful Rosemary. In good weather the western isles are the best place on earth. I have been as far as Skye, but would love to do the outer isles too. The ones I can fly to anyway. Look forward to seeing more.

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    1. Dear Jessica - a plane ride to get you up to Scotland is a good idea, but crossing from one island to another is very easy as many now have causeways and of course regular ferries.

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  5. How beautiful and remote it all looks, Rosemary, and a perfect time to show this part of Scotland as the world's eyes are upon her. I too love that green and red bus, which has quite the look of the past about it. Are those white and pink flower heather? I'd like to think so. Scotland is high on my wish list of places to visit, and thank you for sharing your trip. Great post!

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    1. Dear Patricia - the pink flower is Chamerion angustifolium - Rosebay Willowherb - or Fireweed which grows prolifically in the UK especially Scotland. The cream flowers are Filipendula ulmaria, commonly known as meadowsweet.
      When we arrived back in Edinburgh there was lots of excitement everywhere with their own festival and of course the Commonwealth Games.

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  6. So utterly beautiful!!! I have no words to describe how wonderful I find these pictures, but your pictures show the beauty so who needs words! I like that coloured glass window too! xx

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    1. Thank you Amy for such a kind comment - the coloured glass window was in a small church on the island of Benbecula where they had just had a wedding. The reception was held in the hotel we stayed at which was lovely to see - all the men wore kilts even the little boys who were barely out of their prams.

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  7. Wow! Looks like just the trip I'd want to make. Peace and quiet, nature, culture,.... Love those typical cows.
    Marian

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    1. If ever you get the chance to visit these islands I am sure that you would enjoy it Marian.

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  8. Looks very picturesque Rosemary. I trust you had a lovely holiday. Your photos are indeed lovely :)
    Regards,
    Margaret

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    1. Thank you Margaret it was a lovely trip which all worked out according to plan. Glad that you enjoyed the photos.

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  9. completely stunning....I love it. x

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    1. Lovely comment - thank you Janice. As you travel north up the UK from the Peak District, your area of Yorkshire, The Lakes and on to Scotland there is something rather special about the scenic colouring which I think is unique.

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  10. Rosemary thank you so much for this post. I'm terribly excited about the Islands and seeing your pictures makes me want to get up there right away. Alas i will have to wait until next year before we can go.

    Jean x

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    1. Dear Jean - just do it - we felt the same last year, and I am pleased that we made the effort to visit this year.

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  11. Looks nice, first I didn't know where it was located but after a while you see the UK.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Following your comment I have now added Scotland to the title to make it clearer - thanks

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  12. Hello Rosemary
    The scenery is spectacular and those rocks with stripes are quite unique. Your images show the vastness, remoteness incredible beauty. Thank you for passing this along. We have the Shetland Isles on our list.
    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - I agree with you about the rocks - these rocks were on the island of Benbecula, and my recollection is that the Hebrides were mainly formed out of volcanos - I must question my Geologist son when he is next home.
      Having done the Outer Western Isles, I am also hoping to visit the islands of Shetland and Orkney on the east side of Scotland too - may be we shall bump in to one another!

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  13. Hi Rosemary, sounds and looks (!) like you had a fantastic trip! I love the photo of the two cottages and that of the coast line. Scotland is so beautiful and I hope to be able to visit it one time myself. Wishing you that you are happily settling in back home! Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hello Christina - I know you come over to the UK regularly so may be you could fit in a trip sometime. It seems a daunting journey, but in reality is surprisingly simple. The islands are well served each day by ferries, small planes, and now many have causeways to cross over from island to island.

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  14. Dear Rosemary,

    I have always been enamored of pastel stained glass windows like the one you've featured — they really do convey a sense of peace. The side of that MacBraynes bus is truly glorious graphic design.

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    1. Dear Mark - the simple coloured glass window was in a very tiny little island church on Benbecula where they had just had a wedding which the whole island seemed to attend dressed in kilts. I will endeavour to put together a collage of the graphics from that wonderful old bus in the next post for you.

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    2. I don't know if it's my imagination, but one doesn't often see that bright orange-red in American graphics, and I've come to think of it as a British color. I think American designers automatically go for the Coca-Cola red, which is less yellow. Anyway, I love that old bus, and I'm glad it's still in service.

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    3. Apparently the bus used to collect passengers from the ferries, but now it is used for special occasions. It was taking guests from a local church to the hotel where we were staying on the island of Benbecula.

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  15. Hello Rosemary, I am just reading your post after returning from a walk during which I saw masses of thistle and teasel, and so was thinking of Scotland. Your trip encompassed so much history, continuity, and a remote way of life; it must have been a great getaway. I especially liked the geological photos, and the buildings with the thatched roofs.

    Now the song The Road to the Isles will be going through my head for the next few days.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - you have pre-empt me!!! - The Road to the Isles features on the next post.
      I shall question my Geologist son next time I see him concerning those wonderful rocks. The red coloured ones in octagonal stacks along the coast are basalt, and are very similar in formation to those we saw in Northern Ireland forming the Giants Causeway.

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  16. That looks wonderful. I wonder what sort of accommodation you were staying in (or perhaps it was with friends or relatives).

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the post Susan - we actually stayed in hotels, most were quite old fashioned but had all the amenities you require. Some of the larger Crofts do bed and breakfast too.

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  17. Wonderful photographs Rosemary. Nearly as good as being there - it's many years since I visited Skye and at that time we made a dash for the ferry.

    Ms Soup

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    1. I have visited Skye for the day previously but never stayed on the island which gave us more chance to actually discover it more. Of course you used to have to visit by ferry from the mainland until they built that wonderful bridge across.

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  18. I truly believe many of us would love to 'run away' to this beautiful area. Your really stunning photos really bring close the awesome feelings that most places have lost, serenity, cleanliness, silence, solitude……….

    Did you stand close to the edge? The cliffs are so high! How warm did it get, or didn't it?
    I would love to take this trip Rosemary - or move into that sweet croft for a few lazy, quiet Summer months!

    I wonder of there are any film documentaries available of the Western Isles - would love to see them - or perhaps some movies have been shot there?

    Welcome home Rosemary, and many thanks for sharing the beauty of the journey - Mary

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    1. Hello Mary - thank you for your kind comment and your welcome home.
      I know that Whiskey Galore was filmed in the Outer Western Isles, and that the BBC series 'Coast' did a documentary programme on the area.
      May be you will be able to visit at some stage in the future Mary, it is not such a complicated journey as it may appear at first glance.

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  19. It was lovely to be taken with you to Scotland again as always your images are fantastic and bought back memories of our holiday in Skye. Sarah x

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing the photos from Scotland Sarah - next post I will concentrate a little more on Skye before then moving on.

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  20. And I've never heard of any of these lovely islands off the coast of Scotland. Such natural beauty there. You must have enjoyed it very much.

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    1. Dear Sanda - I think that is one the reasons why blogging is so good - it introduces us to new things all the time. It was a lovely trip and now I have my sights set on seeing more Scottish islands on the eastern side.

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  21. Thank you for this, Rosemary. I've been to Scotland (thank goodness) but not to the islands. I always thought I'd get a chance to go back but never did. At any rate, I have your posts to travel with vicariously. LOVE that bus. :) My daughter is named after the Isle of Skye, that's how much I adore this section of the world.

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    1. I like the thought that you have travelled to Scotland Yvette, and named your daughter after Skye - many people that I know in England have not visited, they do not realise what they are missing.
      Looking at the map the isles appear to be rather distant and difficult to reach, and yet, in reality, they are readily accessible with a little planning.

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  22. This was delightful. Brought back memories. Tom and I drove through the Highlands of Scotland on our honeymoon, and were stopped by a similar traffic jam of long haired sheep that were surely on their way to be sheared.

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    1. Lovely - I am pleased it reminded you of your trip to Scotland - I think that these sheep must have been on their way back following shearing.

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  23. What wonderful pictures of a truly beautiful place - your stay sounds idyllic.

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    1. We have been saying that we must do this trip for years, and finally got around to it - I am pleased that we managed it - now I want to see the islands on the eastern side of Scotland.

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  24. I've been as far as Skye and would love to explore the western islands. Was the last photo taken in Callanish?

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    1. Spot on Valerie - the island of Lewis was our last port of call.

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  25. Beautiful photos, Rosemary. I did visit Skye and Mull on my first trip to Britain many years ago, but have long dreamed of visiting the Outer Hebrides. Thank you for sharing these wonderful scenes.

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    1. For someone living on the other side of the world I think that you have done extremely well with all of the Scottish islands that you have visited. I know several people around here that have never even ventured over the border, they don't realise what they are missing.

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  26. What an exciting adventure Rosemary. Can't wait to follow your trail.
    Love the fringe in picture 9. I think I may grow my hair longer to achieve the same look :)

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    1. Yes, now I look at it again perhaps she couldn't see me after all.

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  27. I've enjoyed reading your series of posts about your trip and was particularly interested in the geology - the rocks and the ancient standing stones, the idea of being somewhere remote and utterly beautiful, although it must be only the few who would choose to live and farm on some of those islands. I wonder where you stayed other than in the hotel which I imagine was on the mainland?

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    1. We only stayed at one hotel on the mainland and that was in the Aviemore Highland area on the return home. The hotel I mentioned in a comment was actually in Stornoway which is on the island of Lewis.
      We stayed at hotels on all the islands, but choice is very limited as they are few and far between. The people that choose to live on the islands are often people who have made a 'lifestyle choice' and wish to get away from it all and get back to nature. The other people are those who have lived there all of their lives following in the footsteps of their ancestors.
      If you are interested in going from Skye up through the outer Hebrides then I would suggest that you should look on the internet for some B/Bs on the Lonely Planet site where I noticed that there appeared to be some good ones.

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  28. Thank you Rosemary for the information. It's interesting to note that it's possible to stay for longer as a visitor in B/Bs on the islands.

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    1. Altogether we spend 7 nights staying on various islands - you have to spend at least 6/7 nights in order to see everything.

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  29. What a wonderful photo journal of this stunning part of the country, Rosemary. I've visited Mull, but not as yet the Hebrides, an omission we must repair one day. Now to enjoy your other posts.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - when you are sojourning up in your Highland home for a few months it would be easy for you to visit the islands. You could catch the ferry with your vehicle from Ullapool to Stornoway on Lewis and work your way down to Skye and then back to the mainland again over the bridge.

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  30. Hi Rosemary
    Just catching up on your fascinating Scottish posts - the Western Isles are so very beautiful and remote. It's been a few years now since we took a short trip over to Skye then up the West coast and across to the Kyle of Tongue.

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    1. I have never been as high up as the Kyle of Tongue - Ullapool is the furthest I have been on the mainland.

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