Getting to Barmouth – Inner and Outer Turmoil

After spending 9 fairly intense days in Carlisle with a friend – we had been both part of the we-space experiment in June in Findhorn and found ourselves in a very similar energy, as if we could pick up the we-space energy again, more about that in an extra post – well so after that time in Carlisle I wanted to be with myself again for a while and Wales was calling.
Don and I had talked about going to Wales together, which did not happen, but I had started researching places to stay and found a little youtube video about Barmouth and somehow felt a curious attraction to this place. I found an airbnb place online, a small fisherman cottage and booked it for a week. It is set directly against the rock that is towering over Barmouth, placed in a small alleyway only a few minutes walk from the beach. Very cute and furnished and decorated with great care. So inside all is fine and cosy, the internet is working well, I can make tea whenever I want and cook small meals. However, for the first two days here, outside the weather was wild.

Already the trip out here was a bit unsettling. And maybe I actually started my journey in Carlisle a bit unsettled, with some inner nervous anticipation. But then the first leg of the trip was very smooth, a 3-hour train ride to Birmingham where I needed to change trains. While waiting for my next train, I had an interesting chat with a woman in a cafe, she is working as a carer and on the way to a new person she would be looking after for a while. Then I was getting ready for my next leg of the journey, buying some food and water, for what should have been an 3.5 hour direct train ride to the seaside resort Barmouth in Wales. The platform was packed and people seemed uneasy, a train had been cancelled, then my train was also cancelled. There was talk of ‘an incident’, I asked somebody what this meant, it meant that somebody had ended his life by jumping in front of a train. It was hard to take that in, I get why they talk about ‘an incident’ and then I mostly numbed myself maybe like most people around me, just feeling the unease in the background. On the practical level, one option seemed to be to wait for the next train, 2 hours later. Would I have taken more time to feel my inner unsettledness? Instead I followed the advice of the train personnel to take any possible train going my direction because they did not know if any later direct trains where going at all. So I boarded a very full train to the next big town in my direction, a group of police men and women where on the train too. I got off the train and waited with several other people for the next train. A train was announced to drive us the next leg of the journey, but not enough personnel could be found to operate the train. I was thinking of all the train conductors who maybe did not want to drive a train anymore on that day. And I liked the honesty around the announcements. About an hour later a train came and somehow all the people waiting on the platform got on it. This is how I reached Shrewsbury. There a lady at the station told me that there would be a bus instead of train to bring me to my final destination. But the bus driver told me that the bus had a different destination and that maybe there could be a change of bus, but not too sure, so please wait for the later train.
The train came, but shortly after leaving the station made strange noises and slowed down considerably. Again the information management was very good: there was a problem with the engine, they were working on it with experts over the telephone, and we would continue to the next big town and then see what could be done. This train was supposed to be divided at some point – before my final destination – and on top of the question if the train would make the destination at all, I was wondering if I was in the right part of the train, clearly carrying my underlying unsettledness with me all the way. The question of the right part of the train was made redundant when all people in the last two coaches of the train were told to change into the first two coaches. That somehow solved the problem, with 1 hour delay the train was up to speed again. Ạnd I was lucky as they chose to drive the train further up the coast of Wales, including through Barmouth; those who wanted to go south had to get off the train at some point and get on busses for further transport. I actually met a man yesterday on a walk who had been on that train too and needed to get off it to continue his journey by bus.

In total I arrived 3 hours later than planned and found my little temporary home ok and the key for it too.
Really I was fine, just the feeling of unease during the trip. And wondering if I could have been more ‘conscious’ about my ‘uneasyness’. In the workshops I go to we learn to be in contact with what we feel, to be conscious of how we feel when we talk to somebody, when we slowly walking towards one or two people, when we receive information, etc., amazing to become aware of all these things that happen in the body. And in a safe and well held group that sometimes works. But out in a railway station with a lot of people and nervousness around it is not so easy. I was conscious enough to send blessings to the man who died while on the first train after Birmingham and sending more blessings now.

I calmed down after I reached my new little sweet home. But the turmoil continued outside. I had checked the weather forcast before I came, thus I knew that there would be lots of rain and even the strong winds had been forcasted. But the weather was more severe than I had imagined. Storm Cumran was raging in Wales for two days. I went for a walk on Friday to discover my new surroundings, and near the sea I was nearly blown off the pavement, I walked back through the town, bought a pair of wellington boots and then decided to stay dry and warm inside for the rest of the day. Saturday was still wet and very windy. On my morning walk with my new shoes, I saw the doors of some businesses secured with sand bags as a protection from possible flooding. Other places in Wales were hit harder than Barmouth, I think. So also Sunday mostly spent indoors, happy to not be in a tent. On the internet I read that most trains and busses on Friday and Saturady were cancelled due to the severe weather; I would not have reached this place if I had tried to travel a day or two later.

And then yesterday, the calm after the storm. I was out early again in my new wellington boots because I thought I would need to wade through puddles of water. But the walk on the Mawddach Trail was dry, 15 km along an old railway track. More about the walk in my next blog with lots of pictures.

For this post I have chosen a photo with grey rain clouds threatening over the railway bridge across the Mawddach estuary.

Compared to the same view today:

From Glastonbury II

If you had my newest blog all crumbled up in your inbox yesterday, this version should be more readable. Enjoy!

Greetings from Glastonbury. I am back in this delightful town and the sun is with me, blue skies most of the days. I enjoyed walks on to the Tor and into the Abbey Gardens, actually I am a member of the Abbey Gardens now, I can sit and stroll around as often and as long as I want for one whole year. Already taking advantage of it nearly every day.

But first I want to connect back to my last post. My time in Berlin developed beautifully. My friend Don came to visit and we enjoyed some cycling in Berlin, exploring the main landmarks of the city and rediscovering (for me) some places I had not visited for a few years. Then the Baltic Sea was calling, I did not feel energetic enough to go for another bicycle trip, so we tried a combination, we rented a car big enough to store the bikes in, and drove north to the Sea, on the way we visited friends, indulging on fresh fruit from their garden. Then we camped on a small island, Poel, near Wismar, the Darss and on Ruegen, the island with the famous white rock (Kreidefelsen). At most of the places we enjoyed having the bicycles to explore, get closer to the beach to rest, roll in the sand which I love and swim in the sea. I liked that we could get to new places a little faster with the car, a nice effect was also my becoming more confident in driving again which feels important for me at the moment. As my full time travelling is slowly coming to an end, I get the feeling that I want to live in the countryside and imagine that I will need a car from time to time.

And then I was off to Scotland again, for a workshop week in Findhorn. On the way, I spent two nights in Edinburgh, particularly to discover an ancient volcano, the hill of the city, called ‘Arthurs Seat’. I did not know that this place was so popular. When I climbed it for the first time, I shared the top with lots of visitors, small and big groups, all enjoying the walk up and mostly the views of the city and bay. The next day I started earlier to escape the masses. It worked, I found myself only with a few other people on the top, more quiet and time and place to sit and connect with the rock.

In my crystal class that I took in July, I learnt to use a certain crystal to get into contact with the plant kingdom and I experimented with that same crystal to get into contact with this old volcano on which I was sitting. It worked, I did indeed receive a message, fairly unexpected, ie not something that had been on my mind so much. The message was to start passing on what I have learnt over the last two years. Also a particular training that I had known about but not considered taking until then, came to mind, it seemed to be the best platform to launch my getting out more with my new skills. The next day I applied to participate in the training and was offered a place.

I realized again that for me listening to the land is always a good idea and following my impulses of where to go.

The week in Findhorn was intense and insightful as always, I met up with old friends and made a new friend too. Where before in my free time, I had been mostly drawn to the beach, this time I also enjoyed the dune land which one walks through to get from the park (where the community is situated) to the ocean. Before, I sometimes got lost in the dunes and resented the time lost for spending near the sea, this time I enjoyed getting lost, stopped, sat for a while, did not feel like needing to get anywhere and discovered new plants and tiny colorful flowers while walking up and down along narrow paths. The inbetween is becoming more attractive to me.

After the workshop in Findhorn I made a return visit to Don in his home in England. We had some plans to visit Wales, but then I was slowed down by a cold and instead we tried some play reading, mostly Shakespeare, some of Macbeth. Often I did not really understand what I was reading, but as Lady Macbeth I clearly felt her energy, not sure if I liked it, but it was more than interesting. Then a day trip to Shakespeare’s town, place of his birth and death, Stratford-upon-Avon. The town is full of sculptures showing characters from his plays. We had an excellent lunch in the rooftop restaurant of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, however did not resonate with any of the two Shakespeare performances that evening and instead got tickets for Jane Eyre in the small and wonderful Attic Theatre. The performance was excellent, in an intimate space with 40 spectators and 7 actors, I felt completely immersed in the play, really well done. One of the young actors was with us on the train back to Birmingham.

And then the land was calling again, my walking practice and my explorations in talking to trees. Glastonbury seems to be an excellent place for that with the reviving energy, the Tor, the Abbey Garden.

My first airbnb host ‘sent’ me to an interesting evening talk on my first night, very inspiring. This time I hear people talking about yet another type of line, the synchronic line. Glastonbury has two of those nearby and thus, synchronicity can happen more often here than at other places, ie me choosing an airbnb and the host sending me to the ‘right’ event.

It was not so easy to find an airbnb in the first place. Glastonbury seems busy this time of year, lots of visitors and tourists. So, after three days in one airbnb, I moved to another place for 5 days. In the monthly local event listing, I found a workshop on communicating with plants which I participated in yesterday. There was a whole group of people for which the workshop was just one of a series of things they do as part of a longer trip, and then a few people like me, who dropped in for the day. It was held in a beautiful place called Paddington Farm which I had walked past back in february. As part of the workshop we each connected to a tree that seemed attractive to us. We were instructed to connect with all our senses, first see the tree, then feel it with our hands, smell it, taste it and then listen to it. And indeed each tree started to share some information when we sat down with our back to it. We later shared our experiences in the circle. We also all came back with a drawing of our tree. After some more input about communicating with plants in general we were asked to write a poem on the paper with the drawing. Again everybody (around 20 participants) shared their poem, amazing results, some of them very touching. And then we were sent back to our tree and offer our drawing and poem to the tree, digging a little hole near the tree and leaving the paper there.

All in all a very happy day, even more so as I could deepen my connection with lime trees as when we were first sent to find ‘our’ tree I was drawn to a little forest and there to a lime tree. In the last few weeks and more since I am in Glastonbury, I have connected to lime trees, sat near them, ‘talked’ to them. It feels good to concentrate on one type of tree. I seem to fall into some kind of breathing with the tree more easily each time I connect.

I can definitely recommend connecting to trees, it is soothing, comforting and messages can be surprising and helpful.

From Glastonbury

Greetings from Glastonbury. I am back in this delightful town and the sun is with me, blue skies most of the days. I enjoyed walks on to the Tor and into the Abbey Gardens, actually I am a member of the Abbey Gardens now, I can sit and stroll around as often and as long as I want for one whole year. Already taking advantage of it nearly every day.

But first I want to connect back to my last post. My time in Berlin developed beautifully. My friend Don came to visit and we enjoyed some cycling in Berlin, exploring the main landmarks of the city and rediscovering (for me) some places I had not visited for a few years. Then the Baltic Sea was calling, I did not feel energetic enough to go for another bicycle trip, so we tried a combination, we rented a car big enough to store the bikes in, and drove north to the Sea, on the way we visited friends, indulging on fresh fruit from their garden. Then we camped on a small island, Poel, near Wismar, the Darss and on Ruegen, the island with the famous white rock (Kreidefelsen). At most of the places we enjoyed having the bicycles to explore, get closer to the beach to rest, roll in the sand which I love and swim in the sea. I liked that we could get to new places a little faster with the car, a nice effect was also my becoming more confident in driving again which feels important for me at the moment. As my full time travelling is slowly coming to an end, I get the feeling that I want to live in the countryside and imagine that I will need a car from time to time.

And then I was off to Scotland again, for a workshop week in Findhorn. On the way, I spent two nights in Edinburgh, particularly to discover an ancient volcano, the hill of the city, called ‘Arthurs Seat’. I did not know that this place was so popular. When I climbed it for the first time, I shared the top with lots of visitors, small and big groups, all enjoying the walk up and mostly the views of the city and bay. The next day I started earlier to escape the masses. It worked, I found myself only with a few other people on the top, more quiet and time and place to sit and connect with the rock.

In my crystal class that I took in July, I learnt to use a certain crystal to get into contact with the plant kingdom and I experimented with that same crystal to get into contact with this old volcano on which I was sitting. It worked, I did indeed receive a message, fairly unexpected, ie not something that had been on my mind so much. The message was to start passing on what I have learnt over the last two years. Also a particular training that I had known about but not considered taking until then, came to mind, it seemed to be the best platform to launch my getting out more with my new skills. The next day I applied to participate in the training and was offered a place.

I realized again that for me listening to the land is always a good idea and following my impulses of where to go.

The week in Findhorn was intense and insightful as always, I met up with old friends and made a new friend too. Where before in my free time, I had been mostly drawn to the beach, this time I also enjoyed the dune land which one walks through to get from the park (where the community is situated) to the ocean. Before, I sometimes got lost in the dunes and resented the time lost for spending near the sea, this time I enjoyed getting lost, stopped, sat for a while, did not feel like needing to get anywhere and discovered new plants and tiny colorful flowers while walking up and down along narrow paths. The inbetween is becoming more attractive to me.

After the workshop in Findhorn I made a return visit to Don in his home in England. We had some plans to visit Wales, but then I was slowed down by a cold and instead we tried some play reading, mostly Shakespeare, some of Macbeth. Often I did not really understand what I was reading, but as Lady Macbeth I clearly felt her energy, not sure if I liked it, but it was more than interesting. Then a day trip to Shakespeare’s town, place of his birth and death, Stratford-upon-Avon. The town is full of sculptures showing characters from his plays. We had an excellent lunch in the rooftop restaurant of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, however did not resonate with any of the two Shakespeare performances that evening and instead got tickets for Jane Eyre in the small and wonderful Attic Theatre. The performance was excellent, in an intimate space with 40 spectators and 7 actors, I felt completely immersed in the play, really well done. One of the young actors was with us on the train back to Birmingham.

And then the land was calling again, my walking practice and my explorations in talking to trees. Glastonbury seems to be an excellent place for that with the reviving energy, the Tor, the Abbey Garden.

My first airbnb host ‘sent’ me to an interesting evening talk on my first night, very inspiring. This time I hear people talking about yet another type of line, the synchronic line. Glastonbury has two of those nearby and thus, synchronicity can happen more often here than at other places, ie me choosing an airbnb and the host sending me to the ‘right’ event.

It was not so easy to find an airbnb in the first place. Glastonbury seems busy this time of year, lots of visitors and tourists. So, after three days in one airbnb, I moved to another place for 5 days. In the monthly local event listing, I found a workshop on communicating with plants which I participated in yesterday. There was a whole group of people for which the workshop was just one of a series of things they do as part of a longer trip, and then a few people like me, who dropped in for the day. It was held in a beautiful place called Paddington Farm which I had walked past back in february. As part of the workshop we each connected to a tree that seemed attractive to us. We were instructed to connect with all our senses, first see the tree, then feel it with our hands, smell it, taste it and then listen to it. And indeed each tree started to share some information when we sat down with our back to it. We later shared our experiences in the circle. We also all came back with a drawing of our tree. After some more input about communicating with plants in general we were asked to write a poem on the paper with the drawing. Again everybody (around 20 participants) shared their poem, amazing results, some of them very touching. And then we were sent back to our tree and offer our drawing and poem to the tree, digging a little hole near the tree and leaving the paper there.

All in all a very happy day, even more so as I could deepen my connection with lime trees as when we were first sent to find ‘our’ tree I was drawn to a little forest and there to a lime tree. In the last few weeks and more since I am in Glastonbury, I have connected to lime trees, sat near them, ‘talked’ to them. It feels good to concentrate on one type of tree. I seem to fall into some kind of breathing with the tree more easily each time I connect.

I can definitely recommend connecting to trees, it is soothing, comforting and messages can be surprising and helpful.

Back in Falkensee (near Berlin)

Hello from Falkensee (near Berlin). It has been a while since I have reported from my travels.

A short summary of the last two months: in June a group of 19 people dived into the we-space experiment that I had helped to bring into being. We had rented a house in the little town of Findhorn, not far from the sea, in which 11 of us lived. The rest of the group stayed in a B&B close by and joined us for meditations and morning, afternoon and often evening sessions. Basically we practiced for 10 days to feel the ‘we’, ie the group as a whole. Inquiries would go along the line of ‘Can I feel in my body, how the group is doing?, What keeps me from showing up as I would like to?, ‘What is love? and other questions. We prepared the main meals in groups of three, enjoyed free afternoons at the beach or sitting in a cafe and had a very rich and worthwhile time with lots of insights and transformations.

After this and without a real break, I took part in a week long workshop on ‘Communicating with Crystal Consciousness’. Our teacher had brought an amazing amount of crystals all the way from the South of England up to Findhorn and we practiced to feel some of the aspects and vibration of crystals, we learned to clean crystals and how to use them for healing and how to co-operate with them to get in touch with other kingdoms of consciousness such as plants. This is where life gets truly exciting for me when we start to feel how we can enter cooperation with the rest of the universe.

After this kind and rich week, during which I stayed in Cluny, a part of the Findhorn Foundation I had not experienced before, I travelled with my bicycle on the train to Carlisle to stay with a friend and meet Don again. Don and I embarked on another bicycle trip from there, this time along the Hadrian Wall, which has been built by the Emperor Hadrian and his soldiers between 122 and 128 AD to fortify the northern limit of the Roman Empire. From Carlisle we needed about a day to get to the wall which runs from the Solway Firth, north of Carlisle to the west near Newcastle. Our direction was west and eventually north to the tidal island Lindisfarne. For one day we cycled as close to the wall as possible which turned out to be a very hilly ride, as of course the Romans had taken advantage of the hills that were already there as a base for their wall and turrets to have an overview of who was coming. We stayed at a funny campsite/hostel which was managed by the pub across the street, the hostel building being an old church and I was wondering what was underneath the grass we were camping on. Anyway we stayed there for two nights to explore the wall in a bit more detail on foot. On our daytrip we stopped to visit the ruins of one of the milecastles which guarded the gateways through the wall. One of the fascinating facts that we learned there was for me, that the soldiers from each milecastle came from different provinces of the empire. So in one milecastle the soldiers would all or mostly come from Dalmatia, whereas the soldiers in the milecastle a bit further east came from Dacia and the next from Capadocia, it must have been a very multicultural wall. Also the walkers who we met and who were following the long distance footpath along the wall seemed to be fairly multicultural.  As we did not really like the constant up and down along the wall we headed more north, although that did not help in getting away from the hills. This is where the Pennine Hills, the backbone of England, runs. But there was one particularly beautiful morning ride through the moors, lots of fun in cycling up and down and having wide views most of the time. I had started this second part of our cycle trip a bit tired (from all that I had experienced in Findhorn?) and although I enjoyed the region we were cycling through and Don’s companionship, cycling became a bit too strenous for me, I needed lots of breaks, days off, etc. and then finally made the decision that I wanted to rest for a longer time. In one of his emails Don had mentioned Lindisfarne, a holy island at the east coast north of Newcastle. We spent our last day there, the island once was home to a famous abbey and still pilgrams visit and stay there, also apparently it is connected to Iona in Scotland where I spent a week last year. After our day on Lindisfarne, we cycled to the next big town with a railway station and I travelled back to Carlisle and Don went back to his UK home. In Carlisle I experienced a few very restful days at my friend’s place. And very soon I was ready to go back to Germany. I chose to travel on the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and then train to Berlin. Some more cycling was involved to get from Newcastle town center to the ferry harbour and from Amsterdam ferry harbour to the train station. Already on the way to the Newcastle ferry I met two cyclists who knew the way and I joined them again on the way to Amsterdam which was helpful and fun.

Now I am enjoying being back in Falkensee where I have a home whenever I need one, in the house of my friends. When I am away they look after my mail and host two bags with my things in the attic and when I feel I need to rest for a while from travelling, I move into one of the guest rooms. This time it feels different, I was really looking forward to stay and rest and not be too active for a while, not even completely sure when and where I want to travel next. I am feeling grateful for being welcome to stay here. And with the current warm and sunny weather I am enjoying the garden, the flowers, the trees and I have some more interaction with the dog of the house. The apple trees are so full that they start to let some of their fruit fall and I collect some the apples to eat in my muesli. From my childhood I am used to harvesting fruit from our own garden and it feels beautiful to me. Until now, mostly when I stayed here between my trips, I was very concentrated on things and people in Berlin, meeting friends there, doctor visits, doing some paper work, buying new outdoor stuff, bringing things to the storage box or getting them from there. It felt a bit like a having to be here for a while and using my time to get ready for the new travel location. I was not really here with my heart. Wondering if this has also to do with a recent insight or discovery that I have a tendency to not sit completely in my bodily base, ie. my pelvis, something keeps me from wanting to really arrive there. In a playful constellation that I held with a friend not so long ago, an insight was that the sitting down in my base has to do with honouring my ancestors, maybe parents first and foremost and then their parents and so on. And what does honouring mean? My current understanding is that it means to acknowledge how they lived their lives and to also see and feel the struggle and difficulties they had to go through and that they inherited from their parents and grandparents and greatgrandparents. So many thanks to Wolfhard and Ulrike in Falkensee for providing me with this physical base in which I am learning to sink in more.

More from the Hebrides and Highlands

After our lovely rest day with a fresh fish dinner (fish van came to the campsite to sell the freshly caught fish) we headed to the so-called Butt of Lewis. Lots of fun instead of frustration when also the third ATM (after trying two the day before) did not cooperate in raising our cash flow and two closed cafes. The weather was warm and nice, but in the distance a huge grey wall seemed to come towards us from the north. Around 5 km before we reached the butt, we stopped in a cafe for soup / more fish to wait for the cloud to go away. But, alas it turned out to be the local ‘har’, the sea mist, that can stay around for a while when it is there. Even approaching it, temperatures dropped by a felt 10 degrees, oooh, into the wet and cold. But of course we, or mainly I maybe, wanted to reach the most northern point of Lewis. Nature at the top of the island was spectacular, giant rocks, violet flowers, lots of sea gulls and wind and the sea slashing against the rocks. Good to see and experience this. We headed back, and again 5km further south the weather seemed to change completely. And we had seen a newly created campsite on our way, to which we went back to. A site with two pods and luxury kitchen shed with some grass for pitching tents. Informative chat with other campers and cyclists about the road conditions from Ullapool to Inverness and a hint to check out nice places around Inverness. In the morning the har had crossed most of northern Lewis and we woke up to it and took our tents down in it. I noticed how the damp and cold really got to me, it felt like a taste of how travelling on the Hebrides could also have been and I was the more grateful for our stable and warm weather we experienced for most of the time.

Our thoughts were already wandering to the next part of the cycle trip on mainland Scotland and I monitored the weather forcast which said there would be lots of rain on mainland and none on the islands, which was enough reason to spend two nights on a campsite near Stornoway and enjoy two lazy town and campsite days. Good food available in Stornoway too and an exhibition opening with artist talk in the local cultural center. While in Stornoway, I read online that the mother of Donald Trump was born on the Hebrides and left when she was 18 with quite a few other young women from the islands after a very sad accident. After the first world war lots of local men had already been lost and then in early 1919 a boat with 200 men on their way home to the islands was lost in a storm and all died. As a consequence young women from the islands emigrated to Canada and the US to start a family. No sign of Donald Trump being a grandson of the islands though …

Then finally leaving the islands which made me feel sad. However, we had a sunny ferry crossing, about 2,5 hours from Stornoway to Ullapool and arrived to a spacious campsite close to the ferry terminal. In the evening I took a walk through the small town of Ullapool and felt enchanted, a place I would like to come back to. And indeed the rain had cleared when we arrived and even the sometimes (as we were told) busy road was ok to cycle on a Sunday. Even low clouds cleared before we came through. After reaching the highest point of the day it was only downhill. The cycling uphill had felt easy with all the training from the Hebrides, and we could hardly believe the long descend and enjoyed it all the more.

We had thought of cycling around Lochnesss, but the next day I felt my knees hurting slightly and also feeling called by Findhorn where I knew all the time, the cycle trip would stop at least for the time being. So we cycled up a mild hill to Cannich, a taste of the highlands with the valleys and hills in the distance and lots of midges in the woods. On the second day in Cannich the midges became a real challenge for me. The day before I had found a place in myself, I thought, were I did not mind them around and eating me. But this time I wanted to run …

Then two more days of cycling to Findhorn. I found cycling on the big streets around Inverness challenging, wishing myself back to the empty roads of the Hebrides. But arriving in Findhorn was nice. I showed Don around the community site and the dunes and beach and we had a meal in a pub in Findhorn village.

And then, today a week ago, Don left to go back to Birmingham. We had a marvellous time together, all our days together seemed to be blessed. Thank you. And more trips are being planned.

In Findhorn I am helping to prepare a retreat that will start in a few days. Good and insightful times spent with old and new friends, reading, understanding more about the Findhorn community. And somehow the birds are coming more into my focus. I would like to be able to communicate with them. For the moment I am taking more time to watch them, enjoy seeing them having fun bathing in the bird bath in the little garden of the house where I am staying at the moment. There is a portal to another world when I allow myself to ‘be’ with the birds. Don mentioned a few times how birds have been around and doing the same things forever and people and places have changed around that. I find that interesting.

Greetings from Findhorn.

Photos coming in a moment. If you read this without photos, please check back …

From the Hebrides

We have reached Lewis, the most northern island of the Outer Hebrides and are staying at a lovely small campsite with a good wifi connection. Time to write a post about the magical time on the Hebrides.

When we arrived on Barra 10 days ago, the weather had indeed turned wet and windy and the forcast was for storm. We found a little shop which offered support in finding accomodation and we were able to book two nights in a B&B place just a few km along the road over one hill. Glad to be indoors, the night was wet and the next day very wet and windy. But we wanted to venture out anyway and did a tour of Barra, once around the island, exhilarating with the wind sometimes in the back then in the face. Good to come to a dry place to take a warm shower and have some warm food.

On Monday we left Barra, it was still raining in the morning. A 40 minute ferry ride to South Uist, passing the first campsite, just stopping for a jacket potato and hot tea. And then the rain stopped and has not come back since then.

When we were already tired and really looking forward to a place to rest and stop for the night we met another cyclist who knew the area well and directed us to a beautiful beach where we could pitch our tents. The night was cold however and the wind had picked up strength in the morning and I felt a bit shaky, noticing that even in company I am not a fan of wild camping. Although I really enjoyed the evening away from everything, having dinner sitting on a wall of rocks with the view of the sea. So the next morning after a quick breakfast, and cycling only a few km up the road, we found a hostel and decided to stay there for the day and the night. Enough time to sooth my system, enjoy some time out of the wind and reading and writing and chatting to other travellers, cyclists, walkers, all different sorts and types. The Howmore hostel is part of a hostel organization maintaining three hostels on the Western Isles, situated in lovely thatched old houses, very well cared for, excellent facilities. Just what a wind scattered traveller needs. And I had set my heart already on stopping at one of the other hostels further north.

So, next morning off with the wind, the weather stabilizing more and more, moments of bliss, sitting on the bike, often not needing to pedal at all, up and down the rolling hills, enjoying the beautiful scenery and hardly able to believe our luck with wind direction and weather. Rolling through the rest of South Uist, then over the causeway to the next island Benbecula. Here we stopped for a coffee/tea in the airport cafe. Had an interesting chat with a mother who saw her son off to the mainland. He lives in Glasgow and has a three weeks on, three weeks off job as a fisherman on the island, however, is hoping to bring his family back to the island for good.

On, to the next island via another causeway. The causeways were mostly built with the support of EU money in the 90s, before there were only ferries connecting the islands. Now on North Uist, we had the option to either cycle along the East or the West coast. We chose the West coast, along the road a cafe just in time to strenghten ourselves with soup and roll.

These islands are a jewel in terms of beauty and energy and everything. I was wondering what to do with all this beauty inside of me and overflowing. My heart became really big and I wanted to embrace everything, the whole world.

And then we found this beautiful campsite near a bird sanctuary on the Western most edge of North Uist. Birds calling long into the evening and early in the morning, quite magical. Lovely breakfast in front of the tents in the sun and heading to the next island, Berneray, first along the northern coast of North Uist and then over another causeway to lovely most beautiful Berneray. Here the next hostel was waiting for us, views amazing, breath taking really and another sunny and not too windy evening. A walk along the long white beach and views of the ferry to Harris, which goes about 4 times a day.

I don’t know if I have ever been so happy and content for such a long time without interuption. Travelling with Don is very pleasent, often funny, full of kindness and common sense, wonderful really, amazingly easy to agree on where to stop or stay. And maybe this is possible because he lets me decide mostly, really I am a bit of a tour guide, I read the map and read the guide book, know about possible places to stay and eat. And he adds lots of relaxation with what he calls opportunist attitude, so I don’t go into too much planning and am happily living the opportunist life too and we have never gone hungry or without a good site for our tents. And anyway the weather has been most supportive.

The next day we and a few more cyclist who stayed at the hostel, took the 10.25 ferry to Harris, the hills looming in the not so far distance. We pedaled just another 15 or so km on Harris until we found a beautifully situated campsite on the West Coast. Day after day the weather and the places we stayed at just became more beautiful. This one was stunning and we decided to stay for two nights. Thus we had time to cycle back to the standing stone of Harris the next day. Restful and meditative time near the stone and a lazy afternoon spent reading near the tent, soaking up all the good energy from and through the ground.

Well timed rest as on the next day we cycled through and over the hills, first into Tarbert, where although it was Sunday and nearly every shop and eating place is closed for Sunday observance, we found good food in the Hebriden Hotel close to the Tarbert ferry terminal. With our water bottles well filled we tackled the Harris hills, sun was getting really hot, up to 26 degrees, cycling in shorts and top. Challenging ascents and exhilarating descents. Then a bit of a long stretch of road with further small hills until we found an acceptable half wild camping site near an inn where we enjoyed another meal. None of our emergency oat soup needed after all. The next day even hotter and nearly no wind, so the midges where coming out. I guess there is no sunny and warm Scotland experience without midges. Still in a bit of disbelieve about the weather and the heat, this summer will be talked about for a long time 🙂

Yesterday we finally reached the Callanish standing stones, the place to visit and one of the most important prehistoric sites in all of the UK. Impressive, however also full of visitors. Wondering if there will be an opportunity to go back at a less busy time to connect to the stones more deeply. I feel already changed by just having been there. A different mood somehow since then. The mood might also have to do with this part of the trip ending fairly soon. Tomorrow we are planning to cycle up to the northern tip of Lewis, the butt of Lewis, and then the next day it is really down to Stornoway to take the ferry back to the mainland to Ullapool.

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