Sunday, 2 June 2013

West Loch Tarbert, Isle of Harris - 28th May 2013

Whilst on holiday with the family on the Isle of Harris I had the chance to explore the wonderful coastline of this part of the Outer Hebrides.

The first couple of days of the holiday had strong winds and blustery showers, kicking up impressive, over head height surf on the beach near our cottage.

However on the afternoon of the third day the weather had quietened down enough for me to venture out into West Loch Tarbert. I launched from the rubble beach just down the road from the school and headed off along the south side of the loch under the impressive northern corries of Beinn Dhubh.

I was uncertain of my route, not quite sure what the wind and the conditions were going to be like, but when I got the end of the mainland I decided to strike out across Caolas Tharasaigh and visit Tarasaigh (Isle of Taransay). The crossing was short, but the wind was still gusting pretty strong requiring concentration.

I landed on the northern end of the beach under the deserted buildings of the north east side of the island and headed off on foot to explore towards the site of the village of Paibeil and the ruins of a "dun", the fortified houses/forts that date back thousands of years.

The view back up Lock Tarbert, where I had come from

Conscious of time, I returned to the beach and headed north across the Loch towards the islands of Sodhaigh Beag and Sodhaigh Mor and passed through the narrow channel between them. By this time the wind had died down and the conditions were idyllic.

I stopped on Sobhaigh Mor for a breather, and enjoyed the company of an otter for a few minutes. Only the second time I have seen one in the wild.

The return route took me up the middle of the Loch, passing by small islands (Duisgeir and Iosaigh) into a freshening headwind that made it a bit of slog. About 27km paddled.

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