Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Tourist season

<![CDATA[ Sheep at Sandwick
The calendar shows March, the last of the snow is practically gone and the sheep are nice and fat. Ready to pop. Went out for a walk this afternoon, and after the rain had gone, the sun was pleasantly warm. This all being the case, the tourist season is about to spring upon us. Enquiries for accommodation are beginning to flood in, by all accounts. The Hebridean Celtic Festival which I mentioned in a previous entry manages to draw in thousands each year. Easter this year is on April 16th, fairly late. Nonetheless, a number of folk are planning their trips in advance. It's the same every year. Harking back to 2005, the following categories come to mind.

The hardy cyclists doing B2B (Butt to Barra). I'll never forget the group of four who turned up, squirting water out of their wee cycling shoes on every step. They had just ridden 55 miles from Carloway to Ness and back to Stornoway in pouring rain. Others who were not so unlucky in terms of rain, but were foxed by the prevailing wind being a northeasterly last spring, rather than a southwesterly. So, they were heading north and had a headwind all of the 150 miles. The visitors from across the pond, coming to investigate their ancestors. Whenever I visit the library, irrespective of the time of year, there is bound to be somebody in there digging up old copy of the Stornoway Gazette or ancient records.

On the curiosa front, the poor gent who was sent down the B887 Ardhasaig to Huisinis road (by all accounts the worst road in the Western Isles) and nearly suffered a heartattack at Amhuinnsuidhe. For non-locals, this is a 14 mile long road which takes the service bus 40 minutes to drive down. Full of tight corners, switchbacks and blind summits. A note of warning to those who find themselves peckish but without food on a beach: eating of limpets off rocks is not generally recommended. But then, I'm on record on this blog with bare feet in a freezing cold river in Glen Langadale...


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