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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On The Road: Lewis & Harris to Durness

The end of our bouncy ferry ride from Lewis was the village of Ullapool. 

We were playing cat and mouse with the gales.  Here in the Ullapool harbor the dark stormy sky was trying to break up… and the light was incredible!  I took a series of shots (of which this is one) braced up against the van as the wind was honking. 

And it kept honking our whole trip northward.  That mistiness in this photo is from the wind blowing off the tops of the whitecaps before they can break over.  Sometimes it was pouring rain as we drove.  Sometimes it was soft and drizzly.  Sometimes there were even blue skies.  But it was ALWAYS windy.  Himself thinks the gusts were 60 mph or more, with sustained winds about 40 mph.  

Honey… that’s WIND!

But oh, my… did it make from some fantastic photos.  Personally I’m usually drawn more to the moody weather shots than the bright blue sky photos.  So I was in Happy Land with my shooting.

When we reached Durness we had managed to get ahead of the rain.  Perfect since we wanted to explore Smoo Cave.  It’s a looonnng flight of stairs down the cliff to the sea cave.  But doesn’t it look cool?

And inside is this hole in the cave ceiling.  Having light has made this part of the cave green with small ferns and it is a favorite nesting place of birds. 

But then you go under that covered walkway (covered to protect it from rain coming thru the ceiling) and there are even more interesting things to see.

Like this waterfall.  I’m not sure what the volume of water coming in was… but the force filled this cave chamber with mist.  During the tourist season there are boat rides back farther into the cave.  That would have been fun (one of the drawbacks of traveling off season is some things are closed down). 

Then it was time to climb back UP those stairs to the top.

Suddenly the wind blew open a piece of sky and the sun came streaming out.  And there was one of the most incredibly bright rainbows (a double too!) that I’ve ever seen. 

And the mist blowing off the wave tops made rainbows across the ocean.

Can you see the iridescence?

By then we were hungry and Himself was buying a GOOD supper for Dave & I (he owed us…).  We ate at the restaurant at the Smoo Cave Hotel.  It was one of the best restaurant choices we made on the whole trip!  The food was fabulous… that cook is a genius!

Here’s one of her incredible plates.  

If you’ve never had a Scotch Egg you may not appreciate the talent this woman has.  A traditional Scotch Egg is a hardboiled egg, wrapped in a layer of sausage, then lightly breaded.  It is then deep fried enough to cook the sausage.  It’s really yummy.  I make them for a treat.  

This Scotch Egg is a masterpiece.  The SOFT BOILED egg is wrapped in haggis instead of sausage (tho actually haggis IS a form of sausage).  OK… think about it… a peeled soft boiled egg that has been wrapped – without breaking – with haggis sausage, breaded and fried.  

And the egg is still soft when it came to the table!  (BTW, it was accompanied by mashed neeps and taties (turnips and potatoes) with a Scotch whisky crème sauce.  Oh my!)  

BRILLIANT!!! 

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