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Day 12: Skye to Stornoway

When we opened the curtains on Skye this morning we found it was a genuinely sunny day outside. Typical for the day we were leaving xD 


The good news was that our ferry to the Outer Hebrides wasn't until the afternoon, so we had a few hours to enjoy Skye in the sunshine before it was time to check in.


As we checked out of the cottage and began driving towards the main road, the views towards the mountains were even clearer than they had been yesterday.


We hadn't made firm plans for this morning, but the mountain views looked so good that we decided to start driving towards the viewpoint at Sligachan.


Everywhere looked so different as we drove in the sunshine compared to what it had been like the day we arrived.


As we got closer to Sligachan, the views of the mountains were even better.


Once we arrived and parked, the views of the old bridge were fantastic.


I could have stood and admired them all day :) 


Our ferry was leaving around 2pm from the port of Uig on the Trotternish peninsula, so we needed to drive further north.  As we did so, we suddenly realised that we had a really clear view of the Old Man of Storr on the horizon.


It was really cool to see it without yesterday's clouds :) 


From there we drove on small roads around the tip of the peninsula.


We passed an open air museum, which I think is about what life used to be like on the Isle of Skye. 


It was closed because of the pandemic but we could see the exterior of the houses and there were some great views out to sea.


The sea looked unbelievably still and calm today; nothing like it had been on Shetland and Orkney.


Eventually the road led us down to Uig.


Our ferry across to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris would be leaving from this pier.


We checked in for the ferry and then had an hour or so to sit waiting in our car. After what seemed like forever, it was eventually time for us to board... but when Tim turned the key the car wouldn't start :o Oh no! It seemed like it might be a problem with the battery. It was rather awkward as we were queuing in a line of cars which were all supposed to be driving on to the ferry in a specific order. I thought for a few minutes that our road trip might be coming to a rather unexpected end! But one of the ferry operatives, together with another customer, gave the car a push and on the second attempt it started again. Phew.

The only problem then was that now we'd missed our slot to get on the ferry, so we had to wait while queues of caravans and 4x4s were loaded until there was another slot for cars. We squeezed on towards the end and settled down for what felt like a very quick and smooth ferry journey compared to our Shetland crossings. We only just about had time to eat our packed lunch plus buy and drink a coffee, before the ferry was pulling in to the port of Tarbert. Then we just had to hope the car started again! Luckily it did without any problems and it's been absolutely fine since :) 

Tarbert is on the part of the island called Harris, whereas the accommodation I had booked was in Stornoway, which is in the Lewis part, so we now needed to drive across Harris. First impressions were that it is very mountainous.


We were following a main A road, which took us through the mountains and past some beautiful lakes.


After we'd been driving for a while, we passed a sign welcoming us to the Isle of Lewis.


To be honest, I'm not sure I understand why part of the island is called Harris and the other part is called Lewis; I'm going to have to read up on it in the guidebook xD


Once we'd crossed the border into Lewis, the scenery became a bit less dramatic and it wasn't too long before we reached the town of Stornoway. I struggled to find any available accommodation on booking.com at all in the Outer Hebrides, so we're staying in an apartment I booked via Airbnb. We've got a nice big kitchen...


...a living room...


...and bedroom.


We settled in and then went out for an evening stroll around Stornoway.


With a population of around 8,000 people, Stornoway is the biggest town in the Hebrides.


The population of the entire Outer Hebrides is around 27,000, so a significant proportion of the population lives in Stornoway.


It felt like a small place to us as we strolled around it though!


There's a big harbour here and we could have got a ferry directly to Stornoway from Ullapool earlier in the week, but that would have meant missing out on the visitng the Isle of Skye.


Just outside the centre of Stornoway is Lews Castle.


This is a Victorian castle, built from 1844 - 1851 for Sir James Matheson, who had recently purchased the entire Isle of Lewis :o 


The castle has some nice grounds, which we were able to stroll around.


In particular, from the grounds we had a great view down towards the colourful houses on the waterfront.


Exploration of Stornoway complete, it was time to head back to the apartment. What we've seen of the Hebrides has been promising and we're looking forward to exploring further tomorrow :) 

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