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  • Johnnie

Running with the rainbow

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

North Uist has excellent running (and walking) terrain and none better than around Balranald Bay View. Around low tide the white sand beaches are both firm and flat and extend for miles and miles. There are also connecting firm paths and grassy tracks to give variety. The sight, sounds and smell of the Atlantic Ocean make good company. In summer, the gorgeous sweet scent of the machair flowers fills the air. But this is mid winter and showers are forecast. I set off for a 5km run knowing that I will not see another human. Only the birds and some cattle to greet me as I run past them.

As I start my run, a huge rainbow appears over the sea to the north. Both ends of the rainbow are visible and plunge into the sea. I can see red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Throughout my run the rainbow persists. I catch a glimpse of the Monach Isles offshore which have the second largest colony of breeding grey seals in the world. I promise myself a visit to the Monach's next summer. I smell the salty sea air as a flock of small birds (most likely "knot") perform murmurations over the machair. I see another group of knot jumping and dodging at the waters edge as the waves crash onto the beach. I can hear the wind roaring out at sea and the sky darkens in the west. Rain is coming.

As I make my way back to the cottage, I see a pair of golden eagles soaring high near the RSPB reserve visitor centre. The rainbow is still there, as vivid as when I first saw it over 30 minutes ago as I walk indoors for a hot shower.

Rainbow, Balranald, North Uist, Outer Hebrides

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