|The road from Harris to Lewis|
We started up the steep hill on the A859 expecting it to end just around the bend. It did ease up a bit but the expected descent never came. We climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more on what was one of the busier roads of the trip (though still nothing compared to the southeast!). It was a cloudy and chilly day which made things even tougher, and we stopped by the side of the road near the turnoff to Rhenigdale for a snack, wondering where this mountain had come from and why none of the blogs we had read had saw fit to mention it!
|Stopping near the top of the climb on the way to Lewis|
We could see that the town of Airdbruaich was coming up and hoped to find something there...but the town came and went without any commercial enterprises to speak of. Instead we pulled into a bus shelter (to escape the wind) next to the Bonnie Prince Charlie Memorial to make a lunch out of the food we could find in our panniers--cheese and tomato sandwhiches were the main items on the menu. It was already on the late side by this point so we knew we needed to press on -- back out into the wind it was.
|Lunch in a bus shelter|
But it was past 5pm and we had our sights set on Stornoway where there was a campsite (it had been too many days without a shower!). The scones left us feeling a bit funny for the first few km but we soon settled into a rhythm and were thrilled to be rolling into Stornoway at 7pm. We made a beeline for the Coop as we weren't sure what time it would close (turns out 11pm so we had nothing to worry about). It is a gigantic Coop, definitely the biggest I have ever seen, and to us it was like we had hit the jackpot. We wandered around in a daze after a very tough day, trying to figure out what to buy and overwhelmed with choices. We ended up with lots of good stuff including steaks for dinner!
The campsite was just down the road so we made our way there and got the tent set up before sundown. There's nothing special about the location or facilities but it was nice to be able to take a long hot shower. They even had a hairdryer which at that time felt like the best thing that had ever happened to me! By the time we had set up camp, showered, and Alberto had briefly forayed into Stornoway for fuel for the stove, we didn't get around to cooking until nearly 10pm and didn't get to bed until midnight.
|Bacon for breakfast|
|Callanish standing stones|
It was mid-afternoon by that point, and we decided just to head to Dal Mhor and make an easy day of it for once. It would have been very quick to get there along the coast via a footpath but we took the road instead as the path didn't seem suitable for bikes. Once more into the headwind and up a few more hills, and we were there.
|Camp at Dal Mhor|
|Taking in the views from above|
|Sunset at Dal Mhor|
We went into town and Alberto stopped in at a pharmacy to pick up some sunscreen, as his nose and ears had gotten quite badly burned and were even blistering slightly. Finally we stopped at the Stornoway Fish Smokers where we ended up with some smoked cheddar cheese. We got some for us and some to give to our Newcastle campervan friends, who we knew would be on the same ferry.
Soon we were boarding the ferry back to the mainland, with only the final push to Inverness ahead of us before the end of our Outer Hebrides tour...
(to be continued!)