Oh my. What an amazing day!
We were meant to have an early start but somehow I either forgot to set the alarm or turned it off, so that plan was scuppered slightly.
Today we decided we would head towards Uig, stopping at various places along the way, the first stop being the Calanais Standing Stones.
I have wanted to visit here for a long time so excitement levels were high.
As ever when D is around, the first priority was food, so we stopped at the Visitor Centre for lunch of a very tasty baked potato and salad (and an obligatory wander around the shop :-)
Seeing me hobbling, the lady in the shop very kindly told us how to get right to the stones in the car, which was very kind as I'd never have made the walk from the Visitor's Centre.
As we drove up the very narrow road over the brow of the hill and the stones came into view, the sense of anticipation was huge and I wasn't disappointed.
It blows my mind that these stones are 5000 years old and pre-date Stonehenge by 2000 years (I read on a website that they are affectionally known as the Stonehenge of the north but as they are way older than Stonehenge, the writer pondered as to whether Stonehenge should be known as the Calanais of the south? I think it should :-))
The stones are some of the oldest rocks in the world. And I love that unlike Stonehenge, you can get amongst them, touch them and really experience their setting all year round, night or day.
Of course there were lots of fellow tourists there so getting a photo without a person in shot was very difficult, especially when a group of 6 rather loud American ladies insisted in standing right in the middle whilst having a general chat about this and that! We, and several other people milled around for at least 10 minutes waiting for them to move (they weren't even taking photos!) when David had enough and was just about to ask them to move (politely of course :D) when they did actually move off. They must have felt the vibe!
After spending some time there experiencing the magic of the place (I did touch a stone whilst channelling Outlander but Jamie didn't appear :-) we headed back to the car on on with our journey.
We followed the B8011 through some of the most spectacular scenery we have seen yet. David gave up counting how many times I gasped out loud at the sheer magnificent beauty of the landscape.
We found ourselves at Ardroil near to where The Lewis Chessmen were discovered in 1831 and David had a good old chinwag with Jorund, the King.
We then followed the single track road to Craghlastadh and my gasping continued. It's a dead end so we got to experience the scenery from both directions. Finally we ended up at Cliff Beach, the most beautiful little sheltered cove.
We drove down to the small parking area. There was a camper van there with a couple sitting outside in the sunshine in shorts and t-shirts. We had a brief chat with them, all of us marvelling at the scenery and the warm temperatures.
David went for a wander on the beach whilst I sat and soaked in the view and the atmosphere. I've been looking forward to this holiday for so long in order to take photographs but I've found that being in the moment and seeing it all with my eyes, paying attention to every sensory detail has proved more of an attraction than photography. Don't get me wrong, I am very much enjoying taking photographs but I am spending much less time doing so than I thought I would.
We stayed there till the sun went down behind the cliff and I would have loved to stay longer to witness the glorious colours that follow the sun once it's set, but I realised if we left at that moment and headed back to Stornoway, we might be in time to stop again at the Calanais stones and see them set against the sunset sky.
We headed off, with more gasps along the way as the colour of they sky turned deep shades of orange, pink, yellow, lilac and blue, turning the landscape into a kaleidoscope of colour.
Of course when we got to the stones there were countless numbers of photographers there, tripods set up hoping for the perfect shot. I did want to photograph the stones because the whole place was just so magical, but once again, experiencing the moment was more important.
There were campers nearby too and one had a guitar, strumming softly. Unlike our earlier visit, there was no chatting, with everyone, tourists and photographers alike, being respectful not to get in each other's way.
We stayed in the car and I took some shots from there, then we reluctantly headed away, back to Stornoway driving into the darkness but with the sky on fire behind us. Absolutely magical.
Extras show David chewing the fat with the King Chessman, Cliff beach and the Calanais stones.
Yesterday. Port of Ness.
- Canon EOS 6D