Daylight, but early. I’ve not seen true darkness in a week. The tent quivers then stills, shrugging off the landfall of an isolated Atlantic breeze. Beyond the porch, a lawn of wild flower strewn machair sways and snaps as if in accelerated time lapse, a dance oddly discordant with the now gentle airflow.
I’m pitched at the southern end of West Beach on Berneray, most of the way through a trip from south to north of the Outer Hebrides. Behind the machair a 3 mile crescent of perfect sand cradles a bay of postcard Mediterranean blue.
In a Hebridean journey fringed with beautiful beaches, this is the finest so far, apparently the envy of the Thai tourist board who once claimed it as their own for an advertising campaign.
In the distance the Harris hills offer a higher calling, but this will eventually prove to be a mountain free trip; planned ascents coinciding with the lowest of cloud and most persistent of rain.
No matter, summer is for beach holidays, and here are some of the very best.