Sunday, 13 September 2009

Stoned in Stornoway

I almost missed the ferry from North Uist to Harris because I was stoned.

In Harris, I came across two employees of the Hebrides Tourist Board, just doing what they're paid to do.
The church in Rodel has interesting sculptures for the congregation to look at as they make their way to the service of a Sunday morning, a young lady displaying her charms to the four winds. A similar male figure on the adjacent wall is sadly not the man he used to be.

What about the waves, you ask? Harris was a bit frustrating - very windy, very choppy and very fast waves that were mostly interested in tossing me to the seabed as quickly as possible.

Then in Lewis, I came across Bru, a grim, bleak rock-strewn beach with water like a shark's skin and waves like mountain crags. Managed one screamer on Friday, a smooth, head high beast I somehow stumbled onto before being spat out.
Then on Saturday I had the good fortune to meet local surfer Stevie, who was just going in at the same place. He got there ahead of me, so I was able to watch him surf a monster. A monster which was twice as tall as he was (or double overhead, in surfspeak).

I was way out of my depth, and bailed out of several waves, until Stevie called me into another monster, the biggest wave of the trip I've surfed so far. I couldn't really decline, so I paddled furiously, and somehow found myself standing on my board. The wave was well over head high, huge and brutish, with a choppy face that I bounced down, somehow managing to stay on my feet until the wave exploded into white foam, and I dived over the top to avoid getting swept onto the beach, some 200 metres from where I had started. To give you an idea of the size, this is Stevie's van, parked just in front of the breakwater.

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