I feel like I cannot even begin to tell you how dreamy this trip to the Hebrides was, but I have too many good photos not to share, so nevertheless, I shall attempt to. And yes, dreamy is a word that I overuse, all the time, but it really truly was. Something about those white sandy beaches, the open expanses, drift upon drift of dunes, the open Atlantic… Its giving me the feels just writing this. Also, all of these photos are unedited, partly because I suck at editing, but it will also give you an idea of the perfect quality of the light out there.
To start this trip, Rosie Dog and I drove up from Pembrokeshire to Mallaig, to meet Gabe. Yes, its a hell of a drive, we actually did it over two days as I ended up setting of kinda late the first day. Although a night in Gretna services car park is not exactly the stuff dreams are made of, it is one of the realities of #vanlife, and I hate driving when I am tired. It was also worth stopping over night, so I could enjoy the drive past Loch Lomond and Glencoe in the day light, its like driving through Mordor or something, super beautiful, but usually quite slow as its pretty touristy. After picking up some cool hitchhikers on the way, I finally got to Mallaig, ready to take the ferry to Lochboisdale. I will say one thing about the ferry. CalMac and Cheese. That is all.
The next day, we drove up to what has to be my favourite spot we have ever stayed in in the van ever ever ever.
It was above a beach called Traig Stir, near Hosta, N.Uist. Straight off, when we got there, we pretty much ran to get in the surf. My impression of surfing in the Hebrides is that you have to get it when its good, as it is so exposed. We both have been wanting to surf here for ages, so jumped at the chance. We also both wore winter suits, with boots, total error, I really got a sweat on! We hauled out as the wind picked up, took some time to chill, explore the dunes, read, I worked out, ate dinner, before jumping back in for an evening surf. THIS WAS TOTAL MAGIC. The sun was setting, the moon rising, the wind had swung round offshore, there was even a curious seal thrown in the mix.
If anyone is wondering how I’m surfing with sciatica, it ain’t easy. I struggle to lift my chest, so will either be a little nose divey, or miss quite a few waves. No bother, at least I can get in.
The next day, my arms, legs, everything were mega sore from surfing and working out, and seeing as it was a rainy day, we decided to get the ferry over to Harris, driving up the island towards the Butt of Lewis. Gabe drove as far as we could before I got too hangry, and we had to stop for the night because noodles, to journey further north the next day.
It was totally worth the drive, as Ness is one of the coolest places I’ve been in a while. If you are thinking of going there, stock up on food etc before you go, as there ain’t much there. There is actually a food store called the Cross stores if I remember correctly, which was pretty sweet and allowed us to replenish our supplies of Lindas. Lindas and salad, basically my staple diet in the summer.
The first park up we found was cool, right on the beach, if a little busy. We walked out to the lighthouse, then Gabe surfed, I painted, because #noodlearms.
Phahaha at my Mr Burns arms here!
The dunes at our park up were insane, felt like Tatooine. If you had a vehicle with a little more offroad ability, you could find such a rad park up here. After dinner (did someone say pasta again), we watched the sunset from the near by point. Highlights: The awesome pulsing energy of the waves below. In a copy of Carve once, I read this amazing quote from Dave Rastovich, talking about energy travelling 1000’s of miles in the ocean, everything conspiring together to create just one perfect moment that you happen to be a part of. I don’t know, I come back to that a lot. And that is saying something as I often find the reporting in Carve to be super meeeeeeh. Downside: The 50.000 midges that decided to try and eat my face.
I of course popped a forearm stand, as it would be rude not too. Result: amazing experience of tuning in with the waves beneath me. Plus, 1500 midgey bites on my back…
We continued to explore Butt of Lewis, hitting up the kitschiest tea room we could find (love a good tea room), and moving to a more secluded park up, over looking the light house. There were fulmars wheeling around, this super cool bridge, and I even persuaded Gabe to watch Rogue One with me again for the 1000th time, the stars aligned!
If you have ever wondered, the fulmar petrel is my favourite bird. Something about their projectile vomiting abilities, it does something for me.
The next few days consisted of a lot of sunshine, a little spoon whittling, the consumption of many a cup of tea and reese’s peanut butter cups (not spon but wish it was ;)), and a little bouldering on Harris. I was being a giant baby as I really didn’t want to fall on my back, but Gabriel Clarke, as per usual, smashed it.
The weather turned on our last day, which gave a touch of pathetic fallacy to the trip. Our last night consisted of us snugged up in the van, while the winds howled, log burner on, eating a fresh lobster, delicious salad and crusty bread. It also gave me the perfect excuse to try out this #vanlifeepicheadstand scenario that I saw on https://www.instagram.com/40hoursoffreedom/ .
To conclude, it pretty much was the most perfect trip ever. From there, I shall leave you with a picture of my main girl. And yes, that sandy tongue makes me cringe too, but she’s into it.
Cheers, thanks for reading!