The Impatient Ferrymen

The modern ferry butts through a brisk sea between Harris and North Uist*
The modern ferry butts through a brisk sea between Harris and North Uist

From North Uist the island of Harris is so close that it looks like five minutes in a decent rowing boat would get you there. (It is more like five miles in reality, of course.) I was rather surprised, therefore, when the ferry set off at right angles to our expected course. After half a mile, however, it turned sharp left, then right, and about then I spotted the scatter of green buoys which it was following, a zig-zag course across the water.

It was low tide when we crossed and it wasn't long before I spotted the brown and gray shapes below the waves - submerged rocks that would have ripped the bottom from our ferry if we had tried sailing a direct route between the two islands.

I was excited to come at last to the harbour on Harris - nothing more than a concrete jetty and a batter harbour master's office - for this was the site of one of the remarkable incidents in the life of Finlay Munro, the Highlands Evangelist.

I wanted to tell the story there at the harbour, but the noise and clatter of the ferry loading and unloading was too distracting, so as I didn't know exactly where Munro set off from, I drove a mile or so to the tiny hamlet of Strond where the view was better and which might have been the location of the story.