Last year, we had the most foul conditions for this ride – lashing rain, 35mph headwind and only 7oC. This year we had a rather dreary day mostly persistent light rain, but with a tailwind. After a fine breakfast, we set out as usual on the westbound road out of Lochboisdale, then turned north on the road towards Benbecula. The weather really got in the way of any decent views, and consequently I didn’t take any pictures.

Quite an unexciting morning’s cycling brought us to the watery landscape of Benbecula. The only amusing aspect came when I stopped for a ‘nature break’ in a hilly field with a bunch of sheep. They all stared at me, while inching towards me…it had a strangely creepy effect, especially as they started approaching faster. Meanwhile the sheep up the hillside decided they were missing out on something and started running down towards me! I suppose life on a Hebridean hillside can’t be so exciting.

We pressed on, and decided to take the western road on Benbecula, a route we’d not previously been on. This took us past probably the biggest concentration of population on the island, as it includes a miltary base involved in some kind of tracking activity: there’s an airport, for example. We stopped at an apparently new (and actuallt quite good) cafe near the airport for baked potatoes and tea before pressing on.

Before long, we’d reached Clachan and took the right turn towards Lochmaddy. By this time, the rain had pretty much petered out. Lochmaddy’s not so big that it’s hard to find you accommodation, and so we found ourself at the front door of Redburn B&B quite early in the afternoon. It turned out that this B&B didn’t have a resident lalndlady – we had to pop along to a house a couple of doors along. Once installed we cleaned up then to the Hamersay House for beer and dinner- and to watch the rain come down a bit. We shared a smoked seafood platter as starter, then tucked into sausage and mash for Carol and lemon sole for me. Beer for the evening was a rather welcome Northern Light IPA as we watched the rain lash down.

Back at the B&B, we caught BBC Alba programme on crofting – this involved showing a North Uist crofting community an old World About Us programme (The Corncrake and the Croft: An-Diugh) on the crofting way of life originally aired in the 1970s. Back in the 1970s, this already had a sort of elegaic quality about it, and it was interesting to see how things had turned out, with some of the original interviewees discussing changes.

Back to Day 3 – Barra to Lochboisdale
On to Day 5 – North Uist and Berneray