by Paul Gallagher Published 01/12/2009
Uig Bay, Lewis
You leave Berneray from its quaint ferry jetty and the crossing is a fascinating affair. Because of the scattered nature of the Hebrides the waters that separate them contain many small outcrops of rock and mini-islands which the ferry has to navigate around. This makes it well worth standing out on deck as the ferry travels at a leisurely pace and winds in and out but close to these individual environments hardly which ever visited by humanity. As you approach the southern coast of Harris a change in the landscape is clearly evident. From here the flat lands are left behind and you enter a place that resembles the mainland in many ways, with mountains and glens. I left the ferry port at Leverburgh and headed north once again on the A859. As the road hugs the coast and winds upwards you begin to realise the scale of Harris and the adventure starts again. The first bay you will encounter is Traigh Scarasta which serves the whet your appetite for things ahead. The beaches and bays on Harris are vast in size and consist of turquoise seas and white sands. When I say white sands I really do mean white sands. Not pale yellow or bright, but tropical in appearance. After Traigh Scarasta you will encounter the biggest and best beach of the all, Luskentyre. My advice is to prepare yourself; slow down the car, as you will be at risk of careering off the road when you see the beach from the road above. Stop and soak it up; then please allow yourself half a day to explore this expanse in your own time. Rushing will not do the location justice and you need to watch the transient light passing.
Try to make time, whilst travelling north from here, to take the small road which leads to the small island of Scalpay. Here there are abandoned crofts, some of which have not been touched since the clearances. It is easy to retrace your steps back to the A859 and head north to pick up the B887 which concludes at the stunning Hushinish Bay, with more white sands and amazing views across the Atlantic south towards Taransay (where the TV series Castaway was filmed).
Harris and Lewis have a varied history, but one of the oldest stories they can tell lies in the rocks that appear particularly beautifully at Uig Bay.
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