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Late May 2018 - Canna and South Uist

We were late leaving Tobermory on our passage to Canna because the fuel pontoon was being staffed by young lads who have yet to learn a good work ethic. With one yacht already on the berth, and us another waiting, after half an hour we gave up and filled up with cans instead. We were away before the first yacht had finished fuelling. Typically it was light winds and we could not dawdle because we wanted to be through Canna sound (between Canna and Rum) before the opposing tide got too strong.

We had several days on Canna. We were lucky to be there on a day Canna House Archivist (Fiona Mackenzie) was giving a talk on "The Campbells of Canna" in the tiny chapel on the shore (right). The Campbells owned Canna and gifted it to the National Trust for Scotland. They were fascinated by Gaelic culture and recorded the folk songs and tales in photographs, film and audio. Fiona has put together a very interesting audio-visual talk punctuated with her own performance of some of the songs. What a treat.

Our stay coincided with the start of the international cricket season, and after a very dispiriting first day of the test match we decided to walk up Compass Hill in the evening. With the sun away to the west it made a stunning view of the harbour (below). It was then back down for a tasty pint of "Skye Black" at the Canna Cafe. We were most impressed by the menu which included both local fresh lobster and local rabbit stew - not the usual choice of dishes.

When the wind turned more easterly it was time to leave as the anchorage becomes uncomfortable. We sailed part of the way across to Lochboisdale but when our speed dropped to a consistent 2.5knots it was tome for engine assistance. A new marina has been built since we were here in 2012, which makes things much easier.

Our first full day was a Sunday, and the Sabbath is respected here so no buses operate. We decided to walk up the hill across from the Marina, this is a challenge as there is no path for half of the walk. But the view was stunning (left). It was sunny with a stiff breeze making for some very pleasant exercise.

The following day saw us on the bus to Eriskay. Fortified by ice cream from the well stocked shop we set off along the shore. Here there are beautiful white beaches with heaps of tiny red, pink and yellow shells along the tide line. This pair of Merganser (right) seemed to be lazing around in the shallows where the sea was a beautiful azure blue. The last beach before the ferry slip (below) is where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed from France in 1745.

The walk continued inland and up to the highest point on the island. This was more rough walking, but for a much shorter distance. With the fine sunny weather it was almost dry underfoot making the marshy areas easy to cross. All the way up there was lots of evidence of the "Eriskay Ponies" but it wasn't until we were on the way down that we found them. This one was clearly the lookout, it just stood stationary above the gully where the rest were feeding, trying to look like Shadowfax, except in stature.

With little wind and fine sunny weather we have no incentive to move on. In fact it is really too warm for us, being 25°C in the shade, so we shall see...