The rest of the time in North Uist was good fun - one day I went down to the end of a tiny road on a bus that the bus company didn't know they ran, to climb Eaval, and the next day a dog decided to come for a walk with me, so that I ended up outside the local co-op going 'Does anyone know this dog?', before it was returned home by the bus driver. Then I travelled the length of the Uists in one day, Berneray down to Eriskay, and spent the night camped beside the washing line of the Lochboisdale Hotel.
From there I took an early morning ferry and a train and a bus down to Tarbert, where I spent the next week and a half. It was lovely, but I have no idea what I did there - I did manage to walk to the shell beach, and the castle and the lower loop of the walk, and dashed to the White Shore on my last morning, but I didn't get out to the West Loch or the golf course, or round the higher loop, and I didn't make faces for my bears, which had been taken there for that purpose, or finish knitting the neverending hat, or read any of the books I'd taken with me, or write any walk reports - although I did read two library books about islands and a secondhand one about hills and one about Cruachan that was lying round the house!
I think apart from that I spent half my time having big adventures - I walked the length of the Crinan Canal, which was lovely, and walked from Glendaruel to Strachur on the Cowal Way and had an adventurous bus ride back home by Inveraray, and then an even more adventurous trip up the east side of Islay involving wild rain and head high bracken and a night in An Cladach bothy - so really I was busy enough...
I was back at work for a week and a half, when nothing very much happened - I meant to head for the hills on the Saturday, but didn't have the energy and went to Balloch to see the Maid of the Loch instead, and on the Sunday we all went out for lunch for my uncle's birthday.
And then I was off again, to Sabhal Mor Ostaig for a week of fiddling - up on Saturday for a free day on Sunday spent climbing Marsco, as it seemed appropriate (I turned back just before the top due to wind and mist, but it was a nice walk), and then down to Sleat for a Monday start.
And then Runrig, which I may still write up properly, but which was not as tragic an occasion as I'd thought it might be - I'd swithered a bit about going to Skye and doing the mad rush back for the concert, but it was the right decision - apart from simply not having time to think about the End of Everything, no one who's spent a week with Charlie McKerron can possibly feel that there is no music left, and no one who's spent a week in that place can feel that the highlands are slipping away! And I was sharing a tent at the concert with albanach, who I hadn't seen for more years than any of us can count, and vililee came up for the Saturday, and it was lovely to be all together again.
When I went over for the concert in Germany in June I broke my heart - but it wasn't quite the end of everything, because I knew I still had Stirling. And then this time, when it *was* the end, I'd already had that very emotional experience where I felt like I was hearing everything for the first time rather than almost the last, and I could just enjoy it - at least until Malcolm Jones broke down at the very end, and took a good proportion of the audience with him. It hurts to watch someone hurting like that.
And there we are. I have new things to do and other places to go, but I'm definitely feeling the change of season.