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Scotland tour part two: Ullapool to Lewis and back again. #NC500

Ferry rides... they come and go, one crossing much like the next I should think, apart from Stornoway Coastguadchanges in weather conditions. But that's without counting on the Stornoway Coastguard to drop by. Purely a training exercise they said, nothing much to see here. Well, being easily entertained Bob and I loved it. We were also impressed: well done the Coastguard. As the boat charged along the helicopter arrived from downwind, kept pace for about 15 minutes as its crew discussed where they might drop someone, then went ahead and did just that. He swung around above the waves for a while, then was gently set down on the boat's stern, followed by a stretcher. Both were then picked up (the stretcher still empty: nothing to see here, remember), and off they went. Amazing stuff and hopefully a fixture now on all Ullapool to Stornoway crossings. The ferry itself was pretty new, introduced this summer. Good food, a great viewing room in the bows, friendly staff and some impressive car loading. (Plus a helicopter. You got that, right?)This is the second post covering an August 2015 tour of Scotland, with part one here and part three here. The fourth post provides daily route information. We only had two nights on Lewis and Harris (they're one island) as a side mission from our drive around the North Coast 500. We loved the island though, so it gets a post of its own, with plenty of photos. First up, a dusk drive across to the Atlantic west coast, with views like this:Isle of Lewis We were heading to Uig sands, which was beginning to sound mythical and mystical thanks to the lack of information on it: little on the internet, few clues from the road signs. We got there though, as confirmed by a four year girl (and her father) who had pitched the only other tent. The wind was getting up, the light was fading, but the situation looked agreeable and the whisky tasted good. The next morning brought more good news – click on the photos if you'd like to see larger images.

Scotland tour part three: Ullapool, Applecross, Skye, West Highland Way, home. #NC500

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in practice: a morning's reflection with students from HKU SPACE. #edfringe