A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity for a lift to the district of Uig, 35 miles west of Stornoway. It was a cold, windy afternoon, and the village of Erista (where I was dropped off) lies at an exposed altitude of 60 metres (200 feet) above sealevel. It felt positively cold when I ambled down the road past the old church (now being converted into other uses) and down to the former manse, Baile na Cille. That's Gaelic for Church Town. It features a small but ancient burial ground on a promontory above the Uig Sands. Visibility was not that great, and I've been there before in brighter conditions. My lift-givers were visiting an ageing relative whose memories of recent past were dim, but very clear on the distant past. It resonated with me that the very old among us are lonely at the top, looking down and back at their past. In the case of the person I'm talking about, they looked down on the village of their youth. From a "great" height. A height that will soon become insurmountable. Personal circumstances also echoed, as I have relatives in similar circumstances. My gloomy mood was not improved by the realisation that this was one of the last sights seen in his life by Torsten Kulke, the German man who went missing on cliffs at nearby Aird Uig in July. His remains washed up round the corner on Cliff Beach.
Road to Aird Uig (right)
Former Uig church at Timsgarry
Uig Sands, with Baile na Cille bottom right
Baile na Cille cemetery
Bay at Baile na Cille