Island Years

I have visited so many places - in the boat, with the bike, to climb or simply walk - that have left me with memories that will last for years to come, but rarely do I consider just how many years it might be before I return. Sadly, it is often longer than I might have wished. Priest Island - one the islands that provided inspiration for Fraser Darling's Island Years - is such a place. It was exactly five years ago that I last visited, camping on the island on the second night of a four day trip exploring Loch Broom and the Summer Isles. It seemed about time to return.
Leaving Mellon Udrigle beneath heavy skies, though they would clear soon enough, the winds light leaving only the rolling swell from the north which we would meet soon enough.
Chris passes Rubha Beag to begin the 5km crossing and unlike most it passed almost without noticing, the mountains of Coigach and Torridon a constant distraction...
...along with the first puffins of the year. We saw only a few and less than I expected...
...before reaching the dramatic, sculpted sandstone cliffs of Priest Island.
The calm of the island's south coast rapidly gave way to more exciting conditions...
...its west and north facing cliffs catching the swell which rolled with the volume of winds only recently spent.
The tempting channel and arch that forms the northern tip of the island - not so tempting today with breakers closing the exit.
Beyond, paddling through thick foam, we passed Toll Eilean a Chleirich...
...and ran with the swell, on along the east coast, the waves gradually losing height...
...until this sheltered but steep boulder beach provided a welcome point at which to break the paddle.
Spending some time ashore, I watched as always for whales or dolphins - and as is often the case, it was the fulmars who stole the show.
Back on the water, and beneath more sheltered cliffs, we explored a few of the deeper geos...
...before heading south-west on the crossing back to Greenstone Point...
...and later, the sands of Mellon Udrigle. Perhaps I will return before another five years have passed. I hope so.

Comments

Recently reread Fraser Darlings book after 30 years or so thank you for these photos of the island.There aren`t many of them about !
Alex.
Will Herman said…
Hi Alex - thanks for your comment. You'll just have to visit...!
Cheers
Will