King Canute had it right

05/03/2012
The causeway to Oronsay
At the entrance to Loch Harport lies the small hamlet of Uttinish. From here there is a pleasant, if boggy walk across the headland to Uttinish Point.

As Julia and I set off, the wind was, not howling as such, but providing enough wind chill to put on full wets for protection. The tide was rising but on reaching the Point, Julia and I thought we had enough time to traverse the causeway linking the mainland with the island of Oronsay so we gave it a go.

Scrambling up the hill of the island, looking across to the snow capped peaks of the Cuillin Hills, the wind subsided and my layers were removed to a state of just a T-shirt – on the coast, in Scotland, at the beginning of March, unbelievable.

Keeping a watchful eye on the causeway and estimating our exit time, we climbed the hill. Tremendous views all around with the western islands out across the Minch and the Macleod Tables to the north. We thought we had got it right. Descending the hill, Julia went on ahead. Me, I was eyeing up compositions. How can I capture the causeway and the island and the headland and the mainland without any crofter’s cottages? Too much? Less is more.

Julia, across the causeway shouts but the distance is such that I can’t hear what she is saying. However, sign language comes into play and it is clear that I am cutting it fine. As I cross the low point of the causeway, there is no way of avoiding wet feet. The enveloping incoming tide having joined the inner and outer into one, my awareness had failed me. Luckily, no more than wet feet but a lesson learnt, as King Canute asserted many moons ago.