When you stay on a Hebridean island, after a while you get used to the wind and rain. Ignoring the elements as much as possible, we caught the 10.30am bus, disembarked at the foot of Tangabhal (also known as Tangaval), and walked over the headland to Dun Ban – the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.

With gusts of 50mph in October, as a fort it’s not somewhere I’d have relished living in Winter, especially as you have to negotiate areas of quick sand to reach it. Rather than retrace our steps once we reached the summit of the Beinn, we carried on over the hill. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but for the sake of my knees I have to descend slowly when walking on machair, and with Rich marching on ahead, and the rain hammering down, it made communication that much more difficult. Although he’s deaf, I’m still convinced that Rich has selective hearing when his ABI hearing device is switched on! When he tried to take us directly over a steep shoulder, bickering ensued after I’d had to chase after him yelling, and quite possibly cursing! Fortunately he then produced a much needed flask of hot chocolate, and we focused on raising our blood sugar, and forming a plan.

We traced a safe but soggy route down off the hill, and after scrabbling over a few fences eventually met the road. I wasn’t surprised that when I later asked the woman serving behind the Co-op counter what Winter was like on Barra, she responded “you’ll find out tomorrow if you’re staying the weekend!” Fortunately, we were…

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