While we slept in our bunkbeds the rainstorm passed but the hooley was still blowing and we freshened up our sweaty bike clothes on the line in no time. Our first stop-off point was the Wizard Pool, a place recommended by a friend but not mentioned in any guide book. I’m still at a loss as to why the ramshackle staithe overlooking a bay that we arrived at was given connotations of sorcery (perhaps someone reading this knows?) but the ride over, through rolling moorland of heather and gorse, via dramatic paths carved through cliffs and past fields of wild horses and worried sheep being pestered by oystercatchers, was a magical one.
Off the causeway at Benbecula we took a detour to Grimsay port and the scenery changed again: a moon-like terrain with a deep expanse of water to one side of us; murky land lochs alive with water lilies. In North Uist the sun beamed over neatly ploughed fields and we arrived at our bunkhouse destination in good spirits and amongst good spirits: we accidentally just happened to be staying across the road from a gin distillery. The friendly distiller gave us a tour and a sip and we left with a miniature-and-tonic apiece, which we swaddled in clean undies and rolled snugly into our sleeping mats.
That evening we headed back on ourselves for a bit of culture and watched the Scottish Chamber Orchestra wind soloists play at a community centre in Carinish on North Uist. The combination of sun streaming in through the sea-facing windows, the warmth radiating from our tired legs and wind-swept cheeks, and the harmony of the music meant the interval coffee service was sorely needed! At the end of the concert, as we cycled back at sunset to a dinner accompanied by fresh-foraged seaweed we saw owls and hen harriers out hunting. Sunset is my favourite time of day to be out cycling.
🚲 Cycle mileage: 62
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25 June, 2019