Ask an Islander
We asked locals on Harris to tell us why their island is special. Islander Amanda, who runs A.S Apothecary and The Temple Coffee Shop, as well as her island croft, told us the following.
“In the summer, I pack a picnic, make a flask of good coffee and head off over the machair towards the sea. I might stay in Northton or head to the Eagle Observatory at Meavaig on the way to Huisinis. Eagles here, both sea eagles and golden eagles, are a sight to behold – so huge and graceful.”
“I’m never short on inspiration for our picnics; we run a bakery and deli in Harris. We make our products – bread, unique jams, pastries and more – using botanicals from our croft. “Provenance is so important – to be able to point to a plant we’ve used feels very special. “And there are many other excellent places on Harris to sample great produce – Sam’s Seafood Shack is a must, Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd makes wonderful gin and limited edition tinctures that we make for them and Croft36 down the road from us is a gem with excellent pies and other goodies.”
We asked Amanda what the best thing about life in Harris was. “For me, it’s the freedom to think and walk in such a beautiful place. My working life is busy, so being able to experience the solitude is wonderful – the Harris landscape offers me constant inspiration. The abundance of really interesting plants is so exciting, and the air is so clean I can pick botanicals almost anywhere on the island.”
“Sunsets and dawns are a sight to behold with layers of shifting colour – reds, pinks, purples and every shade of blue.”
“On clear nights in winter when the constellations are shining bright, there is nowhere better to be than lying on the beach marvelling at the Milky Way.”
Amanda also shared her favourite walks with us – and they’re not Luskentyre or Seilebost! “Although Luskentyre and Seilebost beaches are truly gorgeous, I really enjoy the coastal path in Northton. It covers an area of Special Scientific Interest and is full of incredible flowers. Looking to the left you see the open Atlantic and then to the right is the salt marsh. There are also wonderful examples of lazy beds – the old system of agriculture that prevailed here used by generations of crofters where the land is made into raised strips with seaweed and turf to provide a drier, more nutrient-rich growing area. If you walk for about 30 minutes you reach the Temple, an old, ruined place of worship dating back to the Bronze Age.”
“There are other hidden gems too – there’s a lovely gentle walk from Borrisdale to Rodel – I always really enjoy it; it’s short enough for a quick walk but stunning nonetheless.”
“A slow drive through Quidinish stopping by the old coin-operated binoculars reveals hordes of seals perching on improbably small rocks in the sea.”
“Another great route is the old postman’s walk to Rhenigidale. It’s a stunning walk and a reminder of how dedicated the postman was who delivered the mail on foot before the road was built. I think he missed only a few days in his whole career!”
And what about Amanda’s favourite time of year? “I particularly love Harris in mid-winter when the roads are quieter and the weather is wild – we get great storms here! Going to the seaside when the waves are huge and the wind is blowing a hooley is utterly exhilarating. The smell of the crisp air and the taste of salt on the lips is wonderful for the spirit. On really rainy days, I like to curl up by the fire and read a book. The winters are long here and the light short, so finding peace in simple things becomes a real pleasure. If I wanted to be out, I’d go to The Mission House Studio which is a fantastic gallery in Finsbay run by Nickolai Globe the ceramist and Becca Globe who captures photographs of Harris so sensitively.”
Gaelic / Gàidhlig
The Gaelic name for Harris is Na Hearadh.
The Gàidhlig for a sunset is ‘dol fodha na grèine’.
Collect your travelogue stamp!
If you have one of our paper travelogues you can collect your stamp using the brass rubbing plate located at Talla na Marra at Pairc Niseaboist.
Why not download the Scottish Islands Passport app to collect digital stamps!
CalMac Ferries operate daily sailings from Uig in Skye to Harris’s main village of Tarbert. CalMac also operate sailings to Leverburgh in the south of Harris from Berneray. Berneray is accessible from North Uist via a causeway.
Loganair operate flights to Stornoway on Lewis from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Benbecula. CalMac Ferries operate regular sailings from Ullapool on the mainland to Stornoway in Lewis. Onward travel to Harris from Lewis is possible by road.
Find out more about getting to Skye.
Find out more about getting to North Uist.
Find out more about getting to Berneray.
Want to find out more about Harris and explore more of our amazing islands?
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