The one thing I’d missed in my preparation was the fact sky mobile has no masts (Limited masts) on or near these beautiful islands in the Atlantic ! (Actually Harris and Lewis are good)
Only EE / BT (same company) do it here.. so I’m currently hoping between WiFi hotshots to stay in contact. It’s actually nice being “off” a bit more but obviously harder to communicate with friends,loved ones and those your meant to be meeting 🙂
I was unsure how far I would get and the fact it was so windy meant it wasn’t really a great opportunity to stop and sightsee. It was freezing cold with very little opportunity to get out the wind. I was riding in my usual winter gear that I’d wear in Devon.
Had some great conversations with cyclists en route and stopped at co-op on Uist to get supplies. The main focus of conversation was the fact the main ferry between North Uist and South Harris had broken down meaning no vehicles could traverse the length of the Outer Hebrides. This was having a huge knock on for tourism and guest houses. I found they had put a replacement footpassenger ferry in place and with some perseverance I found they’d also take bikes.. the challenge they were 10km away. I pressed on via some beautiful beaches arriving an hour early for my crossing. Only to find due to the tide the oat wouldn’t leave til 5.45 as there would be insufficient water under the boat to float it over a rock bar in the sound of Harris.
We made it across to a small port called Leverburgh. On arrival it was threatening rain. Still blowing 40mph and all B and B’s were full or closed. Calmac the ferry company had little cabins for the smaller ferries with Internet, toilets and a waiting area. The problem at 7.30pm the Internet turns off and I had no phone signal. It was 7.28pm so I had a quick look for a B and B but the Internet cut off first. It was at this time I reverted to the book of Psalms and prayer. I knew that as soon as I left Leverburgh and let the door drop I would be locked out til 6am so I sought the Lord what I should do.
I felt I was to pedal and pray (somewhat ironically) and see what happened. The next closest town was Tarbert 20miles away. Due to The Outer Hebrides being at a high latitude they get short days in winter but light long days in summer so I turned my bike lights on and knuckled down to the next 20miles in the dusk. Passing some spectacular beaches and having 2 hours to pray for the islands and their people.
Enroute I checked a few B and Bs but a were closed and had no lights on. I got a message through to Mary in a brief glimpse of phone signal and asked people to Pray that a hotel would be open.
I arrived in Tarbert (Harris) at 10.30/10. 45 pm and the owner picked up the phone for the Hebrides Hotel. Angus his name. Lovely chap. Sorted me a room with breakfast for a fair price. Room was lovely. I did 153km over some big mountains.