Saturday, May 19
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!
We both had restless night’s sleep in the hostel last night. Really not too bad – it was quiet, but the bed was horrific. We had already picked out a place for breakfast as we were going to dinner last night, but they don’t open until 9. Let’s go south the the southern most island – Vatersay. Then we will return and have breakfast. Deal.
Vatersay is joined to Barra via a causeway. We see several cyclists and walkers along the way. Both from the ferry and from Barra we could see a couple of gorgeous beaches on Vatersay so we follow our noses and go on a little explore.
We found one of the beaches, but there was a group of girls who had pitched their tent on the beach and we didn’t want to disturb them (wild camping is allowed in Scotland). In the summer and beautiful weather this would be a fantastic place.
Back to Barra and the Toffee House for breakfast. It is a super cute little Toffee shop that also serves as a small cafe. The menu looks awesome with some wonderful homemade scones with cream. The only drawback is that there is nowhere to eat except outside at picnic tables. Not always a problem, but it is COLD this morning. We bundle up and enjoy.
Our ferry today is not until almost 4:00pm so we have time to check out the little 9-hole Barra Golf course on the Atlantic side. The drive to get there is spectacular with beautiful beaches and crashing waves.
I had done some research about the Barra Golf Course and knew it was going to be quite the experience. If you have time or the inclination you can watch this YouTube clip. I did and that is why we are here! When we arrive, there is a sort of storage shed with a cabinet full of scorecards and envelopes. You take a card, put 10gbp per person in the envelope and put the envelope into a slot. Good to go!
No trolleys here (this course is not for sissies) so I take everything non-essential out of my bag including several clubs. I am going to have to walk and carry.
We step up to the well-marked 1st tee and both grin from ear to ear. THIS is going to be great!
Every hole made us smile. The terrain is rough, there are deep hoof prints all along, there are ruts, there is NO fairway and you take what you get. Yet, you are rewarded with the most amazing views I have ever seen on a golf course. Pebble Beach has nothing on the Barra Golf Course!
All the greens are a square patch of (some) grass and weeds that are protected all around with electric fencing to keep out the cattle. I read online that the members take turns mowing the greens.
This round was so much fun that I didn’t even mind carrying my bag. Believe it or not, I think I only lost one ball and Rich none. We both even hit some good shots! We tried to play a match play, but there was only one tee box so I had to play the same yardages as Rich. In the end Rich clearly won, but since I had to play the same yardages at him we agreed the win was worth a quarter point. Match Count: Rich 5.25Linda 4.
Our timing today is perfect. We leave the course and hot foot it to the Barra Airport. The big attraction here is the Cafe and watching the planes coming and going from Glasgow about 6 times a day. They take off and land directly on the beach.
As soon as the plane lands we have to take off for our ferry. No problem, we make it in plenty of time to catch the 3:45 ferry from Ardhmor (Barra) to Eriskay (South Uist). The crossing is a short 45 minutes. We get on board, take a seat and are just beginning to settle in when the floodgates open and a young (9-10years old) soccer team comes racing on board. Bunches of them! They completely take over the small ferry running around and around and shouting the way kids of that age do. It is actually kind of amusing and I manage to take a nap in spite of the noise.
When we land at Eriskay we have another hour and a half to drive from South Uist to North Uist to get to Baleshare and our B&B for the next 2 nights. The roads are narrow, sometimes fitting only 1 car with a little passing area. The landscape is beautifully strange with lots of wetlands, bogs and plenty of sheep (on and off the road).
We finally arrive seemingly in the middle of nowhere to Bagh Aluin Bed and Breakfast, our home for a bit. The owner, Jac greets us and shows us into his wonderful home. It is absolutely beautiful – just like I saw it online. Jac is an artist from Holland and his work is all over. He has two rooms that he rents out. We have the top floor. The house is absolutely beautiful.
After a bit of settling in, we are ready to head out to dinner. Restaurants are scarce around these parts. I had previously consulted Jac via email and he generously made reservatsions for us. Tonight we will dine at the Hammersay House in Lochmaddy – a 20 minute drive.
Hammersay House is really nice with a small bar/loung area in which to have a pre-dinner drink. We do. Then we move into the restaurant and have another beautiful meal.
The shared starter of Cod Cheeks/Octopus was fantastic.
My main was Monkfish wrapped with Parma Ham. Rich had the Seafood Linguini with Scallops, Salmon, Cockles, Langostines, etc. We shared a great bottle of Reisling and thoroughly enjoyed the evening here. Hammersay House was a fine suggestion. Thank you, Jac!
Back to our loft room at the B&B – it is super clean, comfy and beautiful. We are crossing our fingers for dry/sunny weather tomorrow, but the forecast is not good. We are supposed to play golf in South Uist – it may be another drenched round.