Saturday, July 14, 2018

To the Edge of the Planet…The Outer Hebrides, Part 1: Barra

I have a name!

I have now been officially christened! It took long enough, but I am sure Cathy was just waiting for the perfect name to come along. And it did…while she was hiking on the Island of Barra on the Outer Hebrides. She reports that it was on one of her most memorable hikes of the trip that inspiration struck…my name had to be a Scottish one. We had spent so much time in Scotland and so many people from so many backgrounds here had knitted on me:

  • Fiber artists in Haddington 
  • A whiskey aficionado and extreme long-distance runner in Glasgow 
  • In front of the Scottish Parliament 
  • At the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 
  • In the extreme north of Scotland on Unst in the Shetland Islands 
  • In hostels and pubs and trains and ferries 
  • Over coffee and tea and beer 
  • In lots of yarn stores 
  • With knitting and spinning groups 

And even more were to come before we would depart this friendly and welcoming country. So, Cathy decided that I had to have a very Scottish name: Hamish!

I love it…“Hamish”…it fits…thank you, Cathy! I love you!

(Okay, Cathy had to stop and cry now a little bit....)

(You can read about that stunning hike here.)

The first few days on the Outer Hebrides became very special for Cathy.  

On the ferry ride out to Castlebay on Barra Island, we met a remarkable group of people who where also on a knitting and spinning odyssey of their own: Norman Kennedy, Robin Baird, and Margaret Bennett. Norman and Margaret knitted away, adding to my length on that ferry ride. You can read more about their very special visit to the Hebrides and how Cathy got invited to help with a wool waulking here.


At the spinning workshop, Norman showed Cathy  a new carding technique that helps you create softer rolags that are easier to spinespecially if you want to draw out long drafts.

Jean Campbell added some
rows of red moss stitch
while visiting with Cathy
at the Spinning Workshop.
We stayed at the Dunard Hostel for four nights in Castlebay, where the ferry landed. 

Overnight on April 5, a furious storm broke with extremely high winds and rain. In the morning, everyone at the hostel hunkered down and hung out in front of the coal stove in the common room. A great time for knitting and writing for Cathy. About mid-morning, a stalwart family of five (Dad and four children) from England almost literally blew in the door. They were traveling by bus, train, and walking—no car. They were camping on the stormy beach and nearly got blown away. They had walked almost two miles to arrive at the hostel and were wet, hungry, and cold. The hosts helped them get comfortably warmed up and settled, and then we got to know them. The oldest daughter, thirteen--year-old Florence, said that she knew how to knit, so YAY! 

Cathy got this sweet photo of Florence while Beatrice, her  sister Beatrice, looked on. 

Later David, their dad, reported to Cathy that after we left, Florence went down to the local general store in Castelbay and bought some yarn and needles. On the ferry back to Oban, she taught Beatrice how to knit and David sent a photo of Beatrice’s first knitting pattern—a hat for her puppy! Welcome to the wonderful wide- and wild-world of knitting, Beatrice!  
Photo ©2018 by David Job
The torch is passed…

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