Edge of the world and other tales

To the margins of the isles – Richard Lutz heads for the Hebrides.

The rain on these western islands off the coast of Scotland is so sharply aimed, so pinpoint and precise that they can drench one side of a car while leaving the other side untouched and dry as a whistle in the Sahara. 

The curtain of showers sweeps in from the west, always from the west where the Atlantic rolls in on the magnificent beaches of Harris and Lewis. The wind, sharp and with your own personal name venomously tattooed into the clouds, can knock you over, beat you up. A shot of intense sunshine will then suddenly burn a hole in your waterproof. These Hebridean shores with their white sands and big hills louring over you make them the finest beaches to bless Britain, even in a stinging rain that can pierce the skin.

Inland, the black roads snake over moorland, into deep glens and paint borders past the eastern coves that dot the body of water called The Minch which separates these Outer Hebrides from the Isle of Skye with its cloud and mountains (and summer traffic).

We try to get the boat for the forty mile trip west across the Atlantic roll to St Kilda. It’s an archipelago of rocky ridges with a tiny harbour and jagged spears of stone looming above.  We don’t even get to the pier for the outward journey – the skipper texts us with a No Way Jose message to say the seas and winds are too high and would whip around too dangerously off St Kilda’s towering cliffs, rising to 1,400 feet.

We stay on Harris and Lewis (two names, one island) and watch the offshore waters pushed by wind. The ocean is a rainbow of deep blues, greens, white capped waves and spindrift. There’s turquoise too where it rips over shallow sandbars. You can get lost in all this nature dotted with places with names half Gaelic, half Viking: Tarasaigh, Hirta, Traigh Scarasta, Caolas na Heardadh.

Time to turn and return to normal life: eg, a Britain intent on manically scrawling its own suicide note as it stumbles through the Brexit turmoil.

More is not known each day. It’s a mess. But wait; are my eyes deceiving me or are TV bosses sending us secret anti-Brexit messages when they schedule weekly movies on the flatscreen? Listed this week are: Escape from Planet Earth, Experiment in Peril, Back to the Future, Deadly Pursuit, Woman on the Edge, Cradle of Lies, Run for Cover and Quantum of Solace. Plus a movie called simply……No.

I’ll watch them all for further instruction. I’ll also top up with regular injections of Big Bang Theory – just in case.