Monday, 30 December 2013

beauty in bleakness

Some would consider the landscape here bleak- but I find it beautiful. It isn't a chocolate box type of beauty. It is the sort that can change the light and in an instant be breathtaking.

It cannot be an easy place to live, but I find living in this kind of country has always been easier than in an urban environment.  Here I can breathe, think, exist.  It wouldn't be practical for us to move here, now, but we'll see what we can do where we presently are, when present problems have been sorted.

Today we ventured first to Borve on the West coast to see Ann Blair at Borgh Pottery. I bought a small vase there...ah, she said...the potters' glaze..tenmoku ! ( a black, breaking to ginger brown on the edges).
Then on down the coast, the road never being more than half a mile from the sea, a quick detour past the Black House at Arnol, unfortunately closed.   Black House walls were constructed of two layers of stones with earth in between, with a thatch on top. This was the last one to be lived in until the late 1970s.  Many ruins of Black Houses (so called because of the soot from the burning peat fires) are around here, some with corrugated iron roofs, being used as sheds.

Down to Callanish to see the Standing Stones. Unfortunately the cafe was closed, but they keep the toilets open!
Down through Garynahine then up towards Great Bernera and up to Bosta, where there is an Iron Age House, revealed by storms a few years ago. We wandered across the beach and watched the rollers hit the sand...all the way from New Foundland....

Then across the middle to Stornoway, by the Sheiling Road, where you can see sheilings some derelict, others in fair repair. They were the equivalent of the Hafod in Wales, the summer house...not a lot more than a bothy- where the women tended the livestock in the summer pastures while the men stayed at home and tended the croft.

The coffee is much to be recomended in An Lanntair, the Arts Centre, bookshop, gallery, theatre!!

Then back to North Tolsta to recover.


Michèle Hastings said...

I love to visit cities, but really enjoy living in the country, despite it's inconveniences. Wishing you and your pirate a very happy new year!

Elaine said...

A truly wonderful way to spend the day; thanks for telling us about it. I could visualise it all clearly - following that route you most certainly would have passed the croft where I used to live in the late '60's. The islands are so dear to my heart. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the way of life in the remoter corners Vs. a city. Not sure how open people would be to outsiders, but then, you get closed minded people in cities as well.

The Arts centre you showed looks like a large scale version of what Beautiful Wife and I want to try and do: it is good to see that a rural arts centre can work and be vibrant and a place for the community.

Claudia MacPhee said...

Lucky you! All my husband's relatives live there.