Last Summer I went on a DREAM holiday, road tripping around the Outer Hebrides with friends. We camped, we drank whisky, we climbed hills and shouted into the wind.
Finally I have all of my photographs back to share.
We started on the ferry to Mull, driving across to Iona for the Iona Village Music Hall Festival to enjoy some folk music and japes. On the first night we got back to the tent to find a/ it had flooded and b/ there was a cat asleep inside. This set the tone for the trip, what can you do but pour another whisky and have a laugh really.
I think I took these photographs from the car as we drove across Mull. Not bad.
On Iona I walked to the top of a large rock to look at the ocean for a while. Very nice.
After the ferry back to the mainland and a quick game of supermarket sweep to stock up on food, we got the big ferry to Barra. It takes 5 hours. I loved every minute of it.
This is my favourite view in the world.
On Barra we stayed in a nice little campsite on a small bay, and watched the seals play and catch their dinner as we pitched the tent and ate ours.
Barra is really lovely and I wish we had been able to spend more time there. But we had a schedule to stick to, and the next morning we packed up and jumped on our next ferry to Eriskay.
You can fly to Barra, we watched the plane come in and land on the beach while we waited for the ferry. I had a nice time sitting on the rocks feeling still.
Eriskay is small, beautiful, and the first thing we saw off the ferry was a deceased pink cetacean we later identified as a juvenile Risso’s dolphin.
Sad, but quite beautiful.
We went on a hike basically around the whole island. Eriskay is famous for its ponies and we only saw some from very far away. I’m still upset about it.
We quickly found a small cemetery.
I would really like to make a Hebrides series of pouches out of these photographs. We were blessed with good weather and Eriskay is so rich with textures and colours.
There are ponies in this photograph. Honestly there is.
After a nice picnic lunch we got back in the car and drove across the causeway to South Uist. Something about South Uist made me feel quite sad. Its kind of just grey, a bit barren, and there are LOTS of old houses no one lives in, so there is a feeling of a forgotten, abandoned place heavy in the air. Which I wanted to photograph like crazy but we only had a couple of hours to get to our pit stop for the night so we marched onwards.
We stopped at Tobha Mor to look at the ruins on our way, which again were quite beautiful, lonely and sad. Is it the weather out there? I mean beautiful/lonely/sad things are my jam so I was loving it.
On South Uist Morgan was lucky enough to have a friend, who kindly gave us a warm bed, hearty meal and interesting conversation before we moved on the next morning. One of my biggest life regrets is that I did not take them up on the offer of a twilight walk to the beach to see the salmon. I have no idea why I let that one pass me by.
Lets pretend I took this photograph while we drove over Benbecula. Which has the best name, but to be honest just looks like this for 5 mins then you are on North Uist.
North Uist, once the weather cleared, was the complete opposite.
We climbed a hill to see a Neolithic burial mound.
Hiked through ferns to find some standing stones.
Walked on a white sand beach but foolishly did not bring our togs, so didn’t get to go for a swim.
And bought some freshly smoked fish for our tea.
Another cheeky CalMac ferry to Tarbet and we were on the Isle of Harris. Harris is my favourite Hebridean Island. It has everything – white sand beaches, rugged wild landscapes, beautiful houses, vast empty spaces with very few humans and a gin distillery.
Annoyingly something weird happened with my camera at this point and I only have a few photographs but inside my mind there is a database of reasons why I want to move to Harris and think about it every day.
Aforementioned smoked fish pate we had for tea. So good.
I took this photograph at 11.30pm.
I woke up at 5am to chickens around our tent. I made some coffee and took my book up the hill to sit and enjoy some quiet stillness. We had such nice weather while we were at the campsite (Lickisto, for those who are curious) and there was a 200 year old blackhouse with a fire to sit in as the night drew cold so it all felt very cosy and perfect.
I am genuinely devastated that I only have these few photographs from the campsite to share. The beaches were breathtaking, the roads full of sheep. I’ve already bookmarked a few hikes to do when I go back. And found several properties I wish to purchase. Shrug emoji.
On the Isle of Lewis the weather packed it in and I mostly took photographs of nice windows.
From throughout history.
The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village is all kinds of amazing.
Watching this man making Harris Tweed was quite hypnotic and it smelt like peat fires and I never wanted to leave.
Rain on the lens at the Callanish Standing Stones but one does not go on their Summer holiday in Scotland and complain about the weather. We had a hot chocolate and thanked the gods that we did not have to pitch the tent that night.
And that was the Outer Hebrides. I felt something close to peace sitting beside lochs and hills and the ocean whilst there. I didn’t take nearly enough photographs, partly because of the weather and partly because I was enjoying looking at things with my eyes and not through a lens for a lot of the trip. I’m kind of looking into doing the Hebridean Way, or parts of it, or learning to drive, or booking a cottage on Harris for a month by myself, I don’t know. I think I left part of myself on a beach somewhere between Barra and Stornoway, and I need to go back and collect it.
Of course that wasn’t the end of the trip. I had to get back to Glasgow, and then, blergh, London. Another ferry ride back to the mainland – we stayed the night in Ullapool which was a hilarious adventure involving setting up the tent in the rain and winning the village pub quiz – then woke to a beautiful still morning on the harbour before setting off to see some dolphins.
And other delights that the Highlands had to offer.
Take me back!
These photographs were all shot on Kodak Gold 400 using my Yashica TL Electro-X. I processed films with the help of my sponsors on Patreon – thanks guys!
A huger than huge thanks to Morgan and Steph for coming on this adventure with me last year, stopping to let me take photographs and putting up with my weird silences as I processed feelings on ferries and beaches. Jellyfish!