TENNIS COURT, BUNAVONEADER, ISLE OF HARRIS
I was working away most of last week and photographed this tennis court at Bunavoneader, Harris, on my way South. It was apparently constructed by a small charity which provides recreational facilities for the people of Harris and claims this to be the most remote tennis court in Britain. Whether or not that's true, it's in a spectacular setting and I think it would be very easy to get a fast ball in the face when looking at the surrounding landscape instead of your opponent. The court has been built away from any other facilities and looks quite surreal just sat there, surrounded by lochs and mountains. It's available for public hire, except on Sundays, for those wanting to play tennis somewhere different.
Collecting a friend from the airport at Barra a few days ago, I was surprised to come face to face with a Southern work aquaintance I've not seen for several years, but not as surprised as she was. Having been with her partner for many years, they decided to fly from the mainland and have a secret romantic wedding at the Registry Office on Barra, in the expectation that there was no possibility that they would bump into anyone they knew. Well there you are then. Let that be a lesson. I have not previously seen her since I came to live on the Islands and she had absolutely no idea that Barra is part of my working patch. I shall savour the look on her face when she got off the plane and saw me waiting, for the rest of my life. She told no family or friends of her plans to marry, so I've promised to keep her secret until after she gets round to telling them.
The island has suddenly come alive. The weather has improved recently and there's an explosion of flowers. They seem to come in waves of colours and just now the croft, verges, ditches and Machair are a dazzling yellow, with Marsh Marigolds, Iris, Gorse and Tormentil everywhere.
There are a lot of tourists about and I've just read that twenty five cruise ships are expected to call at Stornoway during the Summer. Two of them have moored overnight at the bottom of the croft this week while offloading their passengers to look at the delights of Callanish and other attractions on the westside of the island.
I have friends staying for most of June. Two who were here this last weekend have never been to Lewis before and I enjoyed showing them round. Everybody who comes wants to see the Callanish stones, but the beaches have a strong wow factor and come a close second.
The circus is coming to town! The Continental Circus Berlin are arriving with their six hundred seater big top at the same time as the Hebridean Celtic Music Festival next month, so that should be jolly. Although Stornoway has some character, it's not an exciting or dynamic place and the Festival gives it a real buzz for a brief while. It's nice to see hordes of people thronging around enjoying themselves. This year, the main attractions will be La Bottine Souriante, Karen Matheson, Sharon Shannon Band and Blair Douglas, with lots of other musicians playing at venues around Lewis.