19.09.2011 - 21.09.2011
The bad weather experienced all year in the UK has continued into autumn. So far I have had two blue-sky days. I'm averaging 1 in 10 for that. The weather down the head of the loch where the big hills are was dismal - low cloudy, rain, wind. So that has put paid to our ideas of walking. Disappointing but not much you can do about it. So a few days were filled with more touristy activities like visiting the Gairloch Heritage Museum, driving to a local beach, visiting the local markets (disappointing as we were expecting a more farmer's market kind of experience) and traipsing through the Inverewe Gardens.
The Gairloch Museum is a special find. It is on the main road and is only small but has great displays of traditional life including peat-cutting, a blacksmiths, a school room, a shop, and general crofting life. There is also a good display on lighthouses. And another about the geology of the area. Lewisian gneiss - the main rock on the Isle of Lewis where I have been staying is the oldest rock in the world at 2000 million years old. The reddish Torridean sandstone from the local area is next oldest at 500 millions years old. It's been interesting walking in the area and seeing both types of rock - often the reddish boulders of sandstone perched like pebbles on the gneiss. Scotland has been completely covered in a huge ice cap that has carved out the valleys and left loads of little hummocks in the valleys called drumlins.
The gardens are also interesting as it is a kind of haven from the strong winds that have been blasting us. I was on a NZ plant spotting spree. Cabbage trees, flaxes and hebes are the most commonly recognised plants in ordinary people's gardens but the Inverewe gardens had a few more such as pittosporums (I can't remember the other ones). Nothing much is flowering at this time of year and we enjoyed the walled garden the most as it had a kind of kitchen garden similar to the one in the Hamilton botanical gardens.