If you thought our time on Skye was short, our stint on Harris was even shorter. We woke up early to catch our ferry from Uig, Skye, across to Tarbert, the capital and main town on the Isle of Harris.
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!,” Kirsten repeatedly told us, when we described the white sand beaches we had fallen in love with on Tiree. It didn’t take us long to understand what she was talking about: the Harris terrain and landscape are in a league of their own. Rocky, treeless mountains rise up out of the ground, whilst turquoise sea and blinding white beaches dazzle your eyes, even on a cloudy day. If you wonder what the terrain on the moon looks like, Harris might give you some accurate inspiration.
Kirsten drove us straight to Luskentyre Beach, voted one of the UK’s best beaches in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. We spent a lot of time on this beach, despite the sun hiding behind the ominous clouds in the sky.
Having worked up an appetite after multiple attempts at jumping photos (just kidding, we’re actually jumping professionals), Kirsten took us to Scalpay, an island in itself, which was only connected by bridge to Harris back in 1997. Our reason for going to Scalpay was to dine at the acclaimed North Harbour Bistro and Tearoom, an unassuming café, located in the back of a local grocery store, overlooking the sea. Aside from the Sunday roast I had with Kirsten and her parents, the panini I had here was my favourite meal on the entire trip.
After lunch, we returned to Tarbert and visited the Harris Tweed store. In case you didn’t know, cloth that is labelled as Harris Tweed is kind of a big deal, not just in the Outer Hebrides, but increasingly so around the world. While the rest of Scotland moved on to mechanisation during the Industrial Revolution, the islanders on Lewis, Harris, Barra and Uist continued to hand-weave their cloth. This tradition has been upheld to this day and the islanders have been increasingly recognised for the high quality of cloth that they produce. Since 1911, cloth that has been made on the islands, using the traditional methods, has been given the Harris Tweed stamp, to provide assurance of quality to traders and the public. Today, Harris Tweed does everything: from furniture to tea cosies, iPad covers to Chanel clothing! I went into the store, on the hunt for my very own Harris Tweed life accessory – what better place to get Harris Tweed than in Harris? – but despite the vast choice, I couldn’t find what I was looking for (sounds a bit like my life in London). If anyone is in the market of selling Harris Tweed purses, give me a shout!
We took the ferry from Uig, in Skye to Tarbert, Harris with Caledonian MacBrayne. This cost £6.10 and the journey took an hour and 40 minutes. Harris and Lewis are one land mass so we drove from one straight into the other. Our last two nights were spent at Kirsten’s beautiful family home in Point, Lewis with her parents and very happy dog Jet.