Wednesday, 11 September 2019


....wait thirty minutes and it is likely to change. If you thought Canadian weather was changeable, you truly need to visit the Outer Hebrides to experience weather that totally dominates life.....every day.....24/7.

WIND! Meteorologists will tell you that wind is the key feature of the Outer Hebrides’ climate. No kidding! At the very northern tip of the island chain, the Butt of Lewis, there is a gale on average every one in six days. Whether it is like a soft Caribbean trade wind or a bulling wind in its restless ferocity (Andrew Smith), the wind quite simply never stops blowing here. Peter Mays describes a Hebridean wind that blows sometimes with such force that it can blow waterfalls back up the mountain. Have to admit that we haven’t experienced that yet. 😲

Rather than being an irritant, I find myself drawn to Mother Nature’s might. To sit in front of an aromatic peat fire, scotch or wine in hand, listening to the swirling gusts howl outside is magical. To stand in awe as this Hebridean wind whips the North Atlantic’s water into massive foamy surges who meet their crashing end on the west coast cliffs, to watch what are usually rhythmic waves morph into raging violent haphazard mountains of water which crash into each other offshore, to feel the salty wind assault your face and to scream to be heard over the thunderous roar of giant waves pounding ashore, is to be totally exhilarated.

RAIN! Put on your rain gear and just go is a philosophy that Jim and I adopted on our first trip to Scotland. Given Scotland’s annual rainfall, one could waste a whole trip sitting inside waiting for fair weather. Some of our most enjoyable days have been rainy ones. Did I mention that the Outer Hebrides are wetter than the mainland?

SKIES!  So breathtakingly dramatic that Jim and I freely admit to never having experienced anything like them.....anywhere! Given the strong winds, Hebridean skies are ever changing. One minute the horizon is filled with roiling black clouds menacingly advancing like an enemy army. The resultant torrential rains then give way to typical Scottish drizzle which when it abates leaves behind rather bleak skies and landscape. Just wait a moment, though, and the dull sky will be broken by a single spotlight beam of sunshine and will, on many occasions, treat you to a jaw-dropping rainbow.

Jim and I have discovered  an Outer Hebrides rich in history and experiences, populated by welcoming, intelligent, charming residents and overflowing with magnificent vistas. What we didn’t count on was that the weather would be one of the experiences we enjoyed the most.

As John Rushkin wrote, There really is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

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