by Paul Gallagher Published 01/12/2009
Uig Cliffs, Lewis
One of my greatest loves is coastal photography. I certainly come into my own when wandering beaches and dune systems, but here in the Hebrides the solitude and pristine bays make the experience awesome. In the south islands I visited the beaches on Vatersay and Barra and was stunned by the vast desolated beach of Traigh Eais. It is worth bearing in mind that there are two beaches at this location, either side of a tall, narrow dune system. One side is Traigh Eais and the other is a beautiful white sandy bay with a difference, which is where I first set up my camera. In the distance I could see a building; a 4x4 vehicle came hurtling towards me and I was politely asked to move off the runway! (The beach is regularly used by Hebridean Air Services and a flying windsock indicates that the service is active, a flashing light on the 'terminal' building indicates an arrival or departure - Ed). I happily spent the rest of the morning un-disturbed on Traigh Eias. I recall vividly that it was at this location that the sea breeze was soft and warm and I had set up my camera on the top of the dunes.
Uig Bay, Lewis
The moment was so peaceful that when I had made my photograph and was ready to move on I then heard my assistant snoring whilst lying atop the marram grasses! All in a day's work.
As you leave the Uists behind, you cross a narrow causeway which takes you onto the small island of Berneray. When you arrive it looks like a combination of pure, small, white sandy bays and flat 'bowling greens' which are actually grasslands kept neatly trimmed by the local sheep. If I was to list the greatest beaches on these islands it would be difficult to rank them in order of beauty but one that would certainly be up there in the top ten would be the single long beach on Berneray, which looks out over the Sound of Harris.
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