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  • Johnnie

Winter's night sky

Updated: Feb 21

Sunset in the highlands of Scotland

We cherish our winter trips to Balranald Bay View and North Uist and were full of anticipation as our ferry crossed The Minch from Skye. Many of the islands special qualities can feel magnified in winter. The skies are frequently clear and the low angle of the sun gives a warm light with long shadows, perfect for photography, which lasts all day. The visitors have long since departed for home making the island even quieter, which appears to emphasise it's wonderful remoteness. Storms arriving from the Atlantic Ocean can be spectacular to watch from the comfort of an arm chair by the fire. North Uist gives us time to think clearly, to contemplate, to create. Winter here has it's own special magic and we love it.

We made the ferry with only 20 minutes to spare because we spent too long as always admiring the scenery en route. There was minimal snow on the high ground although the rivers and waterfalls were full, following "Storm Clodagh" which had passed through Scotland earlier. We saw a pair of golden eagles soaring high over the craggy hills near Glen Shiel around sunset.

The Minch was "moderate to rough" during the 1.5 hour crossing, according to the Captain. For anyone susceptable to seasickness like us, the secret is to lie flat and close your eyes before the boat sails and to stay like that until it reaches harbour. This technique worked well and is recommended. Just remember to go to the toilet before the boat sails!

With "Storm Desmond" already on its way towards the UK from the Atlantic, we were lucky with our choice of ferry. As we cooked our supper at the cottage, we noticed that the skies had cleared. By 9pm the stars and the Milky Way were astonishing. I have never seen a sky so black and stars so bright. The sky remained clear all night and all the next day until "Desmond" arrived.

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