We landed in Stornoway from Edinburgh, a small plane but a smooth flight. While we were greeted with bright blue skies, once the doors opened the drop in temperature was evident. We walked from the plane across the tarmac and into the small terminal building to await our luggage. The single belt was soon in action and in no time our luggage came into view.
The hire car had been left in the indicated place, keys inside. Exiting the car park, the toll barrier rose and we were on our way, the wilds of Harris and Lewis awaiting us. First, we had to find a place for a coffee and a supermarket to get a few essentials in. These outer Scottish Islands are not like the mainland. Here the Scottish Gaelic language is alive, the cars do not appear to have tax or insurance discs and the sabbath is kept as the day for worship.
So on a Sunday in these parts, the shops are closed, most hotels are only open to non-residents while some playgrounds are still adorned with a sign to state that the facilities are closed on Sundays. Having arrived on a Saturday and in self-catering accommodation, it was necessary to stock up on some food essentials to take us through to the Monday.
Arriving in Stornoway centre a bit before 9am, the town was almost deserted, a point accentuated by the stillness of the harbour waters.
At this early hour of a Saturday morning, there seemed to be more cyclists around than cars. I never appreciated that these islands were so popular with the lycra brigade.
Looking across the harbour, walkers and cyclists could be seen criss-crossing the grounds of Lews Castle. Within these grounds is a very good museum on the islands that I would thoroughly recommend going to see, should you ever find yourself in Stornoway.
The shops and cafes are starting to open up as more people start to mill around the town’s street. We have arrived safely, the sun is shining and even the notorious wind is taking a break. It is the start of a two week break and the boat in the harbour proclaims the exact word that fits the occasion.