The lonely sea and the sky …
The first four images were taken on the return from Eilean Glas along the Out End Road. Unlike MacCaig we were not “greeted all the way”, just a hearty hello from one dog walker – he had an English accent. In the afternoon we drove the road from Tarbert to Leverburgh, following a circular route around South Harris.
There are only two images from the southern tour; the storm that was gathering over Taransay and Luskentyre broke over Scarista, Leverburgh and the circular road north back to Tarbert. This only served to instill a desperate urge to return. South Harris is the most spectacular of the small islands and there is more to see, not least the sandy graveyard at Luskentyre:
She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot.
Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little, she lay
silenced in the absolute black
of a sandy grave
at Luskentyre. But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull’s voice
across a hundred yards
of peatscrapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions
Norman MacCaig – an extract from his poem Aunt Julia, March 1967.
Then it was north again and the twelve mile road out from near Ardasaigh to Hushinish.
In this last image, a house on the small island of Scarp is just visible, top left.
In 1934, the island was the location for the launch of Scotland’s first mail rocket. On July 28th the islanders gathered on the eastern shore of Scarp to witness events. Gerhard Zucker, the inventor of the system, pressed the launch button, there was an explosion, a flash of flame and when the dust settled, all that remained was a shattered launch pad and scattered smouldering letters that never left the island.
A second launch was attempted at Amhuinnsuidhe Castle some weeks later. This was equally unsuccessful so the islanders of Scarp never got their superfast broadband connection to the mainland. At one time there were thirty two families living on the island and now there are none – if Zucker had succeeded maybe things would have worked out differently.
A film loosely based on these events was released in 2006. Directed by Stephen Whittaker and starring Ulrich Thomsen, Shauna Macdonald, Kevin McKidd and Patrick Malahide, the film was given a limited release in Scotland.
that was interesting! and I would love to live there… the mama too… to get the mail via rocket is the better way than with the snail of La Poste :o)
Me too but the good lady is still not persuaded 😦 Some nice synchronicity – our postman, Bruno, is French and a very fine chap. There can’t be that many French posties in the UK and probably no others in Northumberland.
we have a French postie(lady) in Cramlington, Northumberland!
That will teach me to make sweeping assumptions 😉
Wow! I so want to visit!
I recommend it, you would not be disappointed, such a magical place. Thanks for stopping by.
Such beautiful images. And I do love the MacCaig poem. 🙂
It is a wonderful poem Su, probably my favourite of many. I do MacCaig a dis-service by omitting the first part – here it is:
Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her —
I could not understand her.
She wore men’s boots
when she wore any.
— I can see her strong foot,
stained with peat,
paddling with the treadle of the spinningwheel
while her right hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.
Hers was the only house
where I’ve lain at night
in the absolute darkness
of a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.
“While her right hand drew yarn marvellously out of the air.” What a wonderful line. I only discovered MacCaig recently, through “Memorial.”
Our imaginations have lately been tending northwards. These beautiful vistas may well spur us on. Especially love the first shot – red corrugated iron. Delicious!
I hope so Tish, you will not be disappointed (assuming the weather is kind). Golf in the Wild describes the perfect mainland route north – sorry I couldn’t resist that 🙂
No need to apologise 🙂
What a gorgeous scenery. And such interesting information. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
A pleasure Pit, glad you enjoyed it.
Ohhhh, what beauty. Thank you so much for taking me there.
A fabulous place Cate – hopefully I will take you back again before too long.
My heart aches with the beauty of your photos and that of the poem. Thanks for adding to my Saturday morning.
Glad you enjoyed it Janet – I am sure Aunt Julia lived somewhere very like this:
The natural scenery is so beautiful, and I truly enjoy the vivid colors in your photographs. The poem is lovely, and perfect for this series. Thank you for sharing!
It’s like another world isn’t it? A very lovely one.
It is, Jo – almost paradise – I think paradise should be a little warmer though 😉
There’s always a catch Robin x
Many thanks Maureen
I am so enjoying your journey in this faraway land. This is a place of true escape. Love the vibrant colors, especially in the first photo. I can imagine that many months are shrouded in gray up there. Looking forward to seeing/reading more!
Thanks Julie, I am enjoying the virtual return journey too. There are more images but none quite so good as on Harris, our favourite island. The very best of the many days.
Don’t tell too many folks about how wonderful it is because then ‘the wonderful emptiness of the place’ will no longer apply!
From now on I won’t say where the images were taken :-). Just received The Rocket Post from Amazon – I will let you know if it is any good.
Thank you for posting these incredibly beautiful sceneries. I’d love to go…someday. I will return to your poetry and photos…and my dreamy longing for solitude and serenity.
Thanks Leya, I recommend it although I am not sure how it would seem in a storm force gale and lashing rain – a frequent occurrence I fear.
You were lucky then!
wonderfully evocative photos
Many thanks, much appreciated
Seeing your photographs of Harris brought a wee tear to my eye. It’s my favourite place in the whole world – such a peaceful and stunningly beautiful island. It’s been four years since I was last over but I can still so clearly picture every hamlet on the Golden Road and the vast expanses of the beaches on the west side.
Sounds like you need to get back there and soon, Karen. That is certainly our intention 🙂