A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

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A Laid Back, Easy Day On Lewis

By Rev. Mick!

Day 7

This was our laid back day, no "making distance" today. All trips need a chill day and this was perfect.

I made a slow start to leaving my hammock. As I pointed out - when you shut the container door it is very dark in here and I had no idea what time it was. I think I just needed a late start. So late was I that in the end Drew wandered over from the house to see if I was OK. With all this attention I felt I was obliged to get up. Once tea therapy was applied all became clearer in my world.

Clare was working from home and Gary had gone to his work in Stornoway. Now Gary’s office also happens to be in Lews Castle so he’d left word with Clare to tell him if we wanted to meet for lunch. As such it was on with ordinary footwear and a Goretex jacket for a ride to the capital city of this chain of amazing islands. The weather gods cooperated with a sunny day and off we set on our bikes. It does make a difference riding unladen to both bike and rider.

Lews Castle was built by Lord Lever from Lever brothers - the cleaning products gang. Rather than ancient castle think more 20th century castle styled stately home. Very impressive for all that. It is now part of the Lewis campus of The University of the Highlands and Islands for which Dr Gary PhD is an academic.

Across boats in the water and some construction we see a large castle style stone building
Looking out from the castle across smart grass and gravel parking we see the loch and Highland scenery

We had lovely lunch in the castle canteen, we talked old adventures and ones to come. Gary was also one of our adventure fellowship, we had all been serious rock climbers in North Wales back in the day. All too soon Gary had to get back to work, he’d see us later for the tea Clare was cooking. It had to be an early tea we realised as tomorrow’s Tarbert to Uig ferry left at 07.30, you had to be there 45 mins before departure and it was at the other end of Harris from us. I realised there would be more in the dark riding and over the highest mountain pass on the islands. An 0500 start was needed.

We did a tour of the town which really did not take very long. Everyone here seemed super friendly in that slightly reserved islands way, all done in that lovely sing song accent out here. Though to be fair there did seem to be a lot of people working and running businesses with English accents. Would I live up here? Although stunningly beautiful I am not sure I could, both of my friends' kids grew up here and neither could wait to leave. However the man from Barra on the ferry said everyone wants to leave however they want to move back so their children can grow up here. It has the feel of a frontier, the edge of the world. 

The only place further out with people is St. Kilda with no-one permanent but still inhabited. I have been hoping to get there for years and this would have been the day. The RiB was not going today, what a shame. I sat a few years ago on a beach near Nunton on Benbecular watching a sunset on a perfect May night. I could see a silhouette on the horizon and realised that is St. Kilda. It looked magnificent standing there proud in that sunset of gold and red some 45 Nm off in the North Atlantic. One of those place that will just draw me back.

After a hard day of sight seeing and traipsing the streets of the city we had a quick blast back to Grimshader. We got back to the house and thought “We should have got beer”. As I had a late start and the day was good I said to Drew "I’ll run back and get some". How much bottled and canned beer can you load on an Innova with a 24 litre top box? Well all I can say is you’d be amazed, so much so I had to go back into Morrisons for a second fill.

Tea with our hosts was very nice. Old climbs, rivers, sails, cycles, surf sessions and expeditions were relived. Friends lost were mourned and new adventures suggested and planned. However it was hugs and kisses and goodbye now for Drew and I would awake early and hosts could slumber on. 

Another great Hebrides trip.

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Holy Water On Departure It's Rev. Mick!'s day of departure, in spite of his wife's misgivings. He's crossing Ireland and he's already lost in his own country.
Countryside, Culture And Carlingford Lough Rev. Mick! is finding a ferry and fascinating sights as he makes his way northbound towards Belfast. A good day all in all but there may be just one small hiccup ahead.
Police, Passages, Pals, and Pints Rev. Mick! is escorted by the police, hangs out with Scooter types and catches TWO ferries. It seems he can't have an "ordinary" day.
Ferries And Fun But No Food It's all ferries and frolics for Rev. Mick! as he gets deep into The Highlands and islands. The riding and crossings are good but there's a problem with acquiring sustenance.
Motorcycle Meditation In The Wild And Wet Rev. Mick! is having one hell of a day. The Hebridean weather is throwing it's worst at them as they make their way northbound to their raison d'etre.
Lovely Lewis And Chilled Chums Rev. Mick! finds today to be much calmer and enjoyable rather than endurable. A tour of the northern half of Lewis and some good company sees Mick swinging and snoring.
A Laid Back, Easy Day On Lewis While their hosts are working Rev. Mick! and Drew enjoy and easy mooch around. There's just that one place Rev. Mick! still hasn't managed to reach.
Homeward Bound From Lewis To Mallaig It's way too early for Rev. Mick! this morning but needs must. Sadly it's time to head homeward but that won't spoil a good day looking around Skye.
Veggie Brekkie, Bikes And A Blast Rev. Mick!'s enjoying a day through some classic Highland scenery then pondering the past, present and a future yet to come.
The End of the Fellowship With the parting of the pals comes a tinge of remorse yet Rev. Mick! still has many more miles to cover before his heroic return to home. Did anyone notice he'd even left?

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