Thursday, 29 September 2011

4 runs, no tweaks :))

Sorry about the long delay in blogging, but, now I'm retired (sorry to rub it in) I've been so  busy!  I've celebrated by having a fantastic holiday with the lovely Mrs HF around Scotland.
We started by overnighting at Fort William and then heading north-west to Sutherland, staying just outside Lochinver. We drove as far north as Durness, where we had the most yummy chocolate truffles in, of all places, a disused Cold War early warning station. Strongly recommended. There was a delicious irony in the fact that our waitress was Eastern European. I wish I'd asked if she was Russian. I suppose radar station to chocalaterie is the modern version of swords to ploughshares.

From here, we took the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway on Lewis. To be honest, I was a little worried about this three and a half hour crossing - it wasn't long since the tail end of that hurricane had swept through and the Minch is not noted as a particularly tranquil body of water - but it was rainy, and we had a really calm crossing. This is us leaving Ullapool behind.

From Stornoway we drove the forty-odd miles south to Tarbert, on Harris, where we stayed for a week in a lovely little house. It's the little bright cream building you can see if you follow the line of the red roof in this shot:

We loved Harris. I found an off-road path called the South Harris Walkway, which I used as a run. It started up a steep hill (from where I took the above photo) and continued along the coast. It was early morning, so the shot's a bit gloomy (or atmospheric if you prefer). It was boggy, with jewel-bright colours of heather and moss. Really quite gorgeous.

The beaches on western Harris are fantastic, though this shot doesn't do them justice. The sand is made of crushed shells, rather than crushed rock. It is this that makes the sands so beautifully white when lit by the sun. Also, it makes the water a beautiful colour.
Here's a wonderful picture that Mrs HF (in acrylic, with rag and palette knife) did which actually gives a much better feel of what the place was like:
Here she is, collecting sand for another project
And here's my representation of her, done in hard pastels and conte crayon:

After our week on Harris, we left for a few days on Skye which, in comparison, seems impossibly crowded and developed!!  All in all, a fantastic break. I did three runs, all quite hilly and on broken ground, with nary a twinge. I ran this morning back home (I did the route I call the Buzzard Loop) in unfeasibly high temperatures and 75% humidity which was, frankly, weird for this time of year. It was fantastic to run without feeling as if something would go 'Twang!' at any minute.  Hopefully, I can build up time and distance nice and gradually and feel like a runner again, rather than a hobbler.
Smileyrating:  10/10 for Harris runs, 9.9/10 for this morning (0.1 knocked off for the lack of sea view)


  1. bastard* (the retirement bit). jealous (the trip). welcome (the return to blogging)

    (*written in nice not ill meaning way)

  2. Nice photos. Got to get up to Scotland again....


  3. Looks and sounds like a lovely trip... hope you're keeping busy now you've no work to do!

    I watched grand designs (for my sins) t'other night; a renovation of a lifeboat house and I was inspired to live by the sea some day. Mrs HF's pic captures the feeling beautifully.
    Welcome Back.