Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Playing tennis on Jupiter

The island of Harris is one of contrasts. On the west side, lush fertile grounds amble down to machair and white sandy beaches, as seen in pictures such as this one by Flickr user Donald M:


The east side is completely different. A rocky, thinly soiled landscape gives way to craggy inlets and small harbours, joined together by the most travel-sick inducing road known to man. In some ways bleak, and in some ways stunning, the area is so barren it was filmed in the 1960s - the resulting footage being used in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey to represent the surface of Jupiter.

But even here, a combination of traditional and more modern forms of communication mean that people can and do live with ease; here's another picture by Donald M, of the Post Office at Stockinish on the east coast:


Parts of north Harris can seem equally desolate to some people, but magically unspoilt to others. And like east Harris, the area often seems devoid of anything more than grass for miles. And again here, civilisation takes a foothold. Sheep meander. Boats come in and out of the tiny harbours. And people play tennis on a professional, fully fenced and marked-out tennis court (and why not?):


Snap by Flickr user Martin Third who also submits pictures to Travel Team Images.

It's worth replicating the advert here. I have no idea if you get a discount for correctly pronouncing the location of the court at the first attempt:

Come and play tennis on the most remote court in Britain. In a beautiful setting overlooking the Atlantic ocean on the road to Husinish, North Harris, the new court at Bunabhainneadar* offers a top class artificial grass surface and a cosy wooden pavilion (in case it rains!).

Racquets and balls are available for hire and coaching can also be arranged. Mike Briggs is a qualified LTA Part II coach and can help you develop your game up to advanced club standard. We can even find you a playing partner if you fancy a game and don't have anyone to play with.

Enjoy playing tennis Outer Hebrides style during your stay – your friends back at the club will never believe it!

Court hire £8 per hour (unlimited numbers). Private coaching £25 per hour up to 8 people. Group coaching drop-in rate £10 per person (2 hour session). Racquet hire £1 per person, per session (50p for junior sizes).

*The court is owned by the charity Buna Ltd which was set up to provide recreational facilities for the people of Harris. The project was funded by the Scottish Sports Council Lottery Sports Fund, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, other charitable funds and many private donors.

Telephone:(+44) 01859 502376 or email mike.briggs1@virgin.net

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