This posting was inspired by Dave, a colleague on the mainland who is paying 60 pounds a month for membership of a gym ("Only 2 pounds a day - bargain!") 1 mile from his house. He drives to it three times a week, then spends time mainly on the walking treadmill machine, then drives home. He doesn't see the irony in any of this.
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This is the walking route I try and do most days. It's mostly on either single-track road or beach, so it's okay to do even after a lot of rain. The pictures below are from yesterday's walk; they are also in a set in my Flickr area, so you can get them in different sizes.
First up, leave the house, wait for the remorseless flow of traffic to pass (cough!), then in a suitable gap turn left and start.
At the crossroads, take a right, and stroll up Borve Hill. Wave at people. They'll wave back. Maybe stop to chat to crofters, but only briefly; Berneray is a working environment (not a theme park), and crofters, fishermen, and others are usually out and about (or in the case of teleworkers, indoors) working and making the best use of the daylight and good weather.
At the top of the hill, there's a bench. First pit-stop, and the first glimpse of the other side of the island and the dunes. Soon, you'll be walking along the other side of those dunes, on what the Lonely Planet guide described as one of the best beaches in Scotland.
Follow the road. Go through the gate onto the machair. As everywhere, shut the gate after you; it's there for a reason.
Walk across the long machair road. At the end, look back and the houses of west Borve are tiny dots in the distance. As you follow the road, you'll hear the roar of the sea, over the dunes to your right.
Go through a wooden gate, and head across the machair looking for a gap in the dunes; there are several. Avoid any cattle on the way; they may approach you, thinking you are Hector about to feed them dinner. Go through, and you're on the west beach of Berneray.
Turn right and head north. Advise at this point putting some suntan lotion on the back of your neck, as it is a heck of a long walk along the beach and around the headland. Keep going. On your left, a few miles offshore, you'll see Pabbay. If you have binoculars, then try and spot the deer wandering over that island.
Look back, and all you should see is footprints disappearing under the water. At some point, stop. Gin and tonic, a slice of lemon and ice are good here; if hungry, a smoked salmon sandwich also goes down a treat.
Keep walking. It's a deceptive beach, because the end looks near, but then you gradually realise it isn't. There's also a headland (Rubh' a' Chorrain) which the beach gradually curves around.
After a while, you'll approach the end of the north beach, indicated by some big rocks up ahead on the beach. Look for a narrow gap in the dunes. Currently, it is also marked by a wooden stake atop the dune. Head for it, go through it, and you should come out at a gate through a fence.
Go through the gate and cross a short piece of machair; you're ultimately aiming for the left of a big white house that's roughly ahead of you on the first hill rise. You may need to curve to the right a bit to avoid any boggy bits of machair. Join up with a track, then a road, that crests a small hill. At the top, you can see Harris, North Uist, Skye and the mainland.
Hit the coastal road. Turn right, then follow it round.
And that's it. Takes me between 2 and 4 hours, depending on pace, how many people I end up yakking to, picnicing on the west beach and other factors. Don't rush it.
p.s. Dave: thanks for the pic. But you're down by 720 quid a year and you're still evidently a fattie... :-)