Now I really, really did plan to do some epic posts from ‘Cairns Callanish’ http://www.cairnscallanish.com/ , they did after all advertise ‘Wi-Fi’. Truth is though that I went on ‘me jollies’ and forgot both laptop and phone charger Gotta say though, apart from missing out on replying to two important emails it was ‘boodly marvellous’. Sure I missed being able to look up online some of the many wondrous sights, sounds, people and places we encountered, but on the ‘upside’ I read a couple of books that were left at our lovely holiday cottage. I say ‘lovely’ in respect of it being warm, cosy, well placed, clean and with every facility one could wish for. My only reservations being the decor and screaming red sofas,
still, they were very comfortable and after several large vodkas you hardly noticed them. Seriously though, Cairns Callanish gets 10 out of 10, by the time we left I even liked the two ‘cooked lobster’ settees
The ‘third party’
Had we not been going to Lewis on Saturday then there’s no doubt that the whole lot of us would have joined the rest of Raasay in the 150th anniversary celebration of ‘Raasay Primary School’. However, that would have been three parties in a row for wifey and I and I don’t think we could cope. Shame really because Raasay’s most senior scholar, Jessie Nicolson was coming with us too so she also missed the ‘bash’, and by all accounts it was a great success with ex pupils journeying from far and wide.
A meal in the Raasay Village Hall got the ball rolling
and a ceilidh in the evening finished things off. Many thanks (yet again) to George Rankine for the piccies’
Me, I was working in the house with my son until ‘light stopped play’, I really must speak to my electrician
We also fitted the ‘back up’ inverter at ‘number 3’
a Voltacon 4048 that is supposed to be good for 4kW and includes a 60amp MPPT controller. I’ll be keeping a close eye in this inverter/charger as it was only £650 as opposed to £1600 for a 3048 Outback or £2500 for my SMA SI 6.0H. Having said that it’s half the weight of the Outback and a quarter the weight of the SMA and with inverters ‘weight is everything’. It’s that whopping big torroidal transformer which gives you reliability and surge capability. Still, for anyone doing ‘off grid’ on a ‘shoestring’ this may be the answer.
Off to Lewis
Our wee break last October had whetted our appetite for exploring more of Harris and Lewis. Of course I had to be dragged away ‘kicking and screaming’, OK, not quite but I was reluctant to leave the new house with so much to do. However when I heard that Jessie Nicolson had agreed to accompany us in the ‘Old Girl’ my enthusiasm level lifted a couple of notches.
When you live in what you already consider is the most beautiful place on the planet there seems little point in going anywhere else. When you work on a ferry there’s little satisfaction in catching one to go on holiday. Still, wife her mum and Jessie were all ‘revved up’ for it and their enthusiasm was infectious. My son got left behind to ‘fend for himself’ Well, not quite, the neighbours agreed to feed him and he sleeps most of the day anyway. Of course we’d probably get put on some kind of ‘register’ for leaving a 16 year old in charge of the croft if anyone found out, but this particular teenager has much more sense than his parents, particularly his father. Seriously most testosterone fuelled yoofs would trash the place with mum and dad away from ‘the nest’, not our boy. Nah, we came back home to find him with an ‘A’ in Physics, Chemistry and Maths, closely followed by a ‘B’ in English, what a guy. I was so pleased I never even asked him where all my cider had gone
So, at 7:00am on the 1st of August we left the caravan in the pishing rain to go on our ‘jollies’ it was so wet that I put my ‘red neck hillbilly’ hunting gear on to keep dry. I must have looked a right prat but at least I was dry and it left me with plenty of pockets for all the carp I carry around, well you never know when you’ll need a torch, knife, multitool, extra camera, hat and binoculars.
A couple of hours later, in even more ‘pishing rain’ we were at Uig and forty minutes later boarding the MV Hebrides. Two years ago to the day I was working on her just prior to joining the MV Finlaggan for a short spell, the ‘big boats’ are just fine but I do prefer the ‘closer knit’ small fleet and getting home every night.
Of course being the only guy on the trip (apart from Charlie the dug) and having worked on the ‘Heb’ for a few weeks I had to impress the girls with my knowledge The first bit being a seamless journey towards the ‘Mariners’ cafe up forward where we all tucked into an excellent breakfast.
As we headed away from Skye the weather improved radically, so much so that the Isle of Skye Pipe Band did a turn on the after deck.
By the time we arrived on Harris the sun was out and we headed for Scalpay
and the bridge that replaced the ferry in 1997. This small island off North Harris’s south western corner has it’s roots firmly embedded in fishing and that’s blatantly obvious the moment you set foot on its soil. OK, rock, there is far more rock on Scalpay than fertile ground, hence the tradition of fishing.
Every wee ‘nook and cranny’ of Scalpay seems to have a slipway, pier, or ‘running mooring’ for a boat,
there’s even a pier made from an old concrete ship,
the ‘bones’ and boiler of another wreck lying close by.
As well as all the fishing and fish farm activity Scalpay has a thriving community owned shop, which, by all accounts is doing very well.
Older than the pyramids
With the weather improving by the minute, and having limited time in such a beautiful and interesting place we did what any group of women of women would do next. We rushed to Stornoway and spent several hours shopping!!!!! at least they did, me, I had a wander around the town.
There had obviously been something going on that involved lorries dressing up
Eventually I managed to drag the ladies out of the shops and we headed to our temporary home at Callanish.
With views out of the living room window of the main Callanish site and views out of the kitchen window like this
it was kinda hard to beat. No wonder I didn’t miss the ‘puter or internet!!!!!