We are just returned from a spectacular, remote and committing trip to the Hebrides where Steve ran a six day canoe journey into the loch-ridden interior of Lewis. For five straight days we did not encounter another human being – that’s difficult to do even on our Canadian trips – and provides an insight into just how little visited an area it is. There are reasons for this of course: it’s challenging with long paddling days on exposed open water; variable and rapidly changing weather; difficult ground for camping and, of course, it’s not without its portages. Notwithstanding this, and bearing in mind the famous Canadian canoeist Bill Mason and his quote “… you get a better class of paddler after the first portage”, we endeavoured to live up to his ideals ensuring we left no trace of our passing through, save for a few footprints in the sand. Our reward was a unique trip in a fantastic landscape full of wonderful views and amazing wildlife: we had regular encounters with sandpipers, cuckoos, grouse, snipe and divers, though these were upstaged by the almost constant presence of eagles above our tents – at one point we had four circling overhead, then landing and taking off again close by to soar with a backdrop of the snow capped peaks of Harris’s mountains.
This trip will live long in the memory. Thank you to everyone who came to join us on the journey.