The Golden Road on Harris

green shack and washing line on the Golden Road, Isle of Harris

I’ve briefly mentioned the Golden Road before and how it got its name. Not because of the beautiful scenery, but the exorbitant cost of linking all the hamlets and tiny settlements.

This was my second visit to this wonderful corner of the globe. It was a real tonic in terms of seeing off the dreaded artistic block. I left with a sketchbook of glorious coastlines for future paintings as well as lungfuls of fresh air. On this visit the clouds looked a bit threatening. So the pastels stayed in the boot (trunk) while I made do with my trusty i-Phone camera.

Basically, these photos are what I’d be sketching if it weren’t for the fact that time was of the essence. I would never deign to describe myself as a photographer. However, occasionally I see a scene or a moment that I can capture. I added a photography section to my blog, but I have precious little to say about technique. I took these snapshots on my i-Phone 6 and my phone remains my favourite way to do so, until I buy a decent camera.

Where is the Golden Road?

Houses on the Golden Road, Isle of Harris
View towards Isle of Skye from the Golden Road, Harris

The Golden Road is just south of Tarbert, the main town of Harris. In the photo above you can see the island of Skye, where we took the ferry from. We heard rumour that the ferry will one day be replaced by a tunnel running between the two islands. A tunnel! I hope very much a rumour is what it remains.

I’m actually posting this some eight months after our visit while the world is in the thick of the the Coronavirus outbreak. Right now it’s impossible to travel here, and rightly so. But I do hope that the residents who live along the Golden Road are safe and being cared for. And at the very least they are able to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings.

Photo Opportunities

golden road rodell church harris

The Golden Road twists and turns for some way, meaning most of it is single-track. There are frequent passing-points – and frequent needs to stop for sheep. They seem quite oblivious to the traffic, which is great because it says they’re comfortable in their environment.

The church above is St. Clement’s Church at Rodel. We were able to go inside and have a look round. Really magnificent – lots of big spaces and polished flagstones. It’s a wonderful example of medieval ecclesiastical architecture – read more about it here . Outside the church and set into the wall is a wee heart. The story tells us – or at least, my friend Martin does – that a stone mason from Lewis asked a local woman to move back and marry him. But she gave him a knock back which broke his heart. Oh, the course of true love…

Meanwhile, the beach is as wild and bonny as ever. There were a big crowd of German tourists here embracing the wild waves and wind like the healthy outdoorsers that they are. Yet again, our pal Martin has popped into the photo. It’s his own fault for wearing such bright jacket!


Temple Cafe, Harris, Outer Hebrides

With any luck this gorgeous little eatery will soon open its doors again. An inspirational view while you tuck into a healthy veggie dish (they cater for carnivores too). The Temple Cafe is an interesting little building in itself and may be well worth a wee sketch if you’re sitting outside with a coffee or two. It has an air of Tolkien about it and I love how the building blends into the local area. A fab way to round off an amazing drive – and there’s still Luskentyre beach to go!

Where do you want to go to and sketch? Let me know in the comments below.