Sunday, July 06, 2003

The Hebrides

I am just back from my 6 day tour of the Hebrides, and I am certainly tired...

The trip started off well, and the people were really nice and quite a nice mix of nationalities. We had an Australian couple, two Polish guys, a Swiss girl, a girl from South Korea, two Edinburgh uni graduates from England and northern Ireland, a South African, an American, a Mexican, another Canadian, and myself. The war came up many times, and I felt bad for the American girl- I was surprised that she hadn't realized that it would be a topic of conversation, but I think she felt a bit outnumbered.

On the first day we drove up to Skye, so I had seen most of the scenery many times, though we did stop at Bannockburn where I have not been, however it is very unexciting.

On Skye we went on a tiny fishing boat to see the seals, saw tons including pups, which was cool. We also ate freshly caught scallops (raw and cooked, hard to say which is nicer). We went on a very long, tiring walk in the Quirang (spelling there is definitely wrong) and the sun shone... Should have some lovely pictures. We also went walking along a coral beach, did some paddling but it was very cold.

Then we took the ferry to Harris and it was lovely. The land itself isn't especially beautiful, most of it being rocky interspersed with green and peat. The houses on the island are now mostly ugly council houses too. However, the beaches and water make up for it completely. Totally beautiful. Bit windy, granted. We saw an iron age house, a broch, blackhouses (they were used up until the 1970s, I hadn't realized that, and were actually quite comfy looking-one is now a youth hostel!), the Stromness standing stones, and Callum, who hand weaves Harris tweed in the tiniest cottage workshop imaginable. I even got to try the loom. We all bought tweed scarves (how posh I will look this coming winter!) from him and it was possibly the highlight of the trip for me.

Lewis was fun as well, though the most notable thing was the incident at our hostel. There was a group of Glaswegians staying upstairs for a wedding, about 10 of them in the family. They got annoyed that we were being loud, and one of them went mad. The 19 year old boy went completely insane and threatened to kill us all, tried to attack our tour guide, and got kicked out of the hostel. The police even came. However, our group had been drinking, and we actually found it all quite entertaining, in a dramatic sort of way. I must say, after hearing about the crazy stuff that goes on in Glasgow on a Friday night at the pub, I wasn't too surprised by the whole thing. And in pure touristy mode, Trent got a picture!!!

We took the ferry again, out to Ullapool, and drove down to Drumnadrochit (near Loch Ness), did some hiking, played Frisbee in the sun. Drank a bit more that night-we didn't get to bed until 4.30am that night and consequently the last day on the bus driving back towards Edinburgh we were all quite subdued. The Australian couple had a huge argument, which was odd as they kept arguing in front of us making the rest of us rather uncomfortable. However, it was a fun evening and I highly recommend rum with vanilla coke (I assume we get that in Canada???).

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