We pitched the tent in Ness on the most convenient place, out of the way, yet close to the road and boats. The views were stunning. We knew we would be here for at least a day, and would have to make an important decision of what next. Where to go from here?
At one little moment our excitement roused as a tiny little window appeared indicating that if we were mad enough, we could try to make an attempt to continue north. The window was gone as quickly as it came and we were left with choice of going east or south. We looked east and could make out the outline of the mainland with Cape Wrath at the end, yeah, we could cross there, but then would have to paddle east or south along the coast we knew already. I am not saying that we know it well or that we wouldn’t have fun exploring places we skipped and revisiting places we’ve been to before, but as it wasn’t something for what we came here, it sounded least appealing.
Then there was the option of going south, and doing some longer and shorter crossings on our way to Oban. Why not, but still even this didn’t rouse an excitement in us.
The third option sounded least likely to happen, and needed a bit of creativity, to return back to the west of North Uist. A mere five days paddle if you push it, seven to eight, if one wants to enjoy it. Great, only a tiny little window of opportunity opened there, in four days! Now, that roused our excitement, with the only tiny little logistical problem, how do we get ourselves from A to B in such a short time?
We live in modern times reigned more and more by modern technology and social media we told ourselves. Firstly we made two random phone calls, second of which brought and important contact number, in the same time we posted a message on Stornoway Canoes face book. And an incredible network got to work. We started this on Tuesday evening, by Wednesday the guys had it all sorted, and on Thursday we were picked up in Port Ness by Mike Sullivan and dropped off to Stornoway. Not only we got to meet his daughter, who is a song writer going to record in London, but we also were offered sandwiches and great coffee to make our journey most comfortable.
In Stornoway it was planned for us to have a little time to have more coffee and some wifi, how did they know, before the next part of the journey to Northon Beach with Mark. As I said, we can’t thank the Stornoway kayakers enough, hopefully we could see some of them in London paddling on our home waters and repay them with hospitality.
Even before we knew we would be gone by Thursday morning, we decided not to paddle till that day (wind) and settled in Ness for the next few days. This is what I like about being able to let to be wind bound in random places. At the first glance the area of the Ness did not look interesting at all. Really, there was just nothing. No shop, both cafes shut, landscape flat, and everywhere houses of mismatching architecture strewn randomly around. Whats more, the locals seemed to totally misunderstand the concept of hitchhiking, and we had to walk a lot between our camp and the shop.
Fortunately, spending three evenings here changed our perspective. Firstly, we could do the laundry having used public launderette for the first time. It felt just like on the telly. People in the museum cafe were so friendly that they cooked us breakfast one hour before their opening times. In Ness they have great sports hall with showers, electricity, wifi, make your own coffee facilities. They also have bowling, which we played one evening. And on Wednesday they had a dance company doing a piece on, conveniently, using social media, #LoL#.
Although we spoke to few local people on the first day already, only the second day they revealed the social club open till very late. After all, the area of Ness didn’t seem that bad and we almost felt sorry to be leaving it.