Friday 10th September
For tonight’s campsite, we have booked a stay in a place called Kneep, which is further south as we are now heading towards Harris where we can catch the ferry to North Uist, the southern section of the Outer Hebrides.
We plan our day and decide to visit Camas Sandaig bay, near Tobson. We go via the A858 and a couple of B roads and then it’s a single track road with passing places.
We arrive to find that there’s a small, rocky cove with two sections of beach – one larger than the other. You could best describe it as a ‘smuggler’s cove’ because it is tucked away miles from anywhere but accessible by the sea from a number of directions.
Even though it is remote, a motorcyclist parks up next to us. He’s from Amsterdam and has sailed to Newcastle before heading north to Scotland on his 1,750hp machine. We get chatting and learn he’s been all over the world with his job, in commodities, and will be relocating to Chicago in the next 6 months.
What we’ve arrived on is essentially another island, called Great Bernera. Even though the island is very small, enough people live there and wish to visit to warrant a replacement road bridge (the current one being a single track), which was in the process of being constructed when we arrived.
Great Bernera also has a preserved Iron Age settlement that dates back to the 6th to 9th centuries AD. In 1993, a great winter storm reconfigured the beach at Bostadh and revealed substantial stonework within the sand dunes, where gradually eroding middens had long been observed. Eventually this threatened site was excavated in 1996 and a series of well preserved houses, some virtually intact, were brought to light.
From the small cove, looking across the water, we can faintly discern the beach where we are destined for tonight, as our campsite lies next to it.
We set off once more and decide to stop to photograph an old crofter’s cottage. The cottage is now empty and forlorn and its entire roof is missing. The remaining stone structure seems quite intact and these buildings were obviously built to withstand all the extreme elements of Hebridean weather. There are many redundant examples of these resilient buildings to be seen that are reminders of a past, hardened way of life.
On our travels, we pass the tiny fishing port of Miavaig which is situated in the Loch of the same name. Nearby, we also see a strange, concrete four-sided structure with a flat top adjacent to the road. We wonder what this could be – perhaps a bus shelter? It’s not the first time we have seen one either.
Soon after, we arrive at Kneep campsite which is quite large with plenty of caravans. We squeeze into one of the remaining pitches (with electric hook-up), but no sooner have we pushed up the pop-top roof, when the winds pick up and the rain lashes down once more. With that, we switch on the heater and ensure we’re wrapped up warm and toasty before heading to sleep.