Charity walker Chris Lewis is continuing his love affair with the Isle of Harris and its people – despite the weather throwing everything it’s got at him while he’s been on the island.
Former paratrooper Chris reached Tarbert on January 10th, with his dog Jet, after trekking round the coast from Uig as part of his epic round-UK walk. He’s been walking since summer 2017 and aims to cover every inch of the British coastline, raising funds for the armed forces charity SSAFA as he goes.
He had a warm welcome in Tarbert, with a peat fire and dram at the distillery and many islanders going out of their way to make sure he had food, dry clothes and somewhere to sleep.
In the past week he has enjoyed the Bays of Harris in glorious sunshine, sheltered from storm winds and hail and is now heading up the snowy North Harris hills by way of Rhenigadale. Yesterday (Monday January 21st) Chris summed up his latest stage on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chriswalksuk
He said: “What a stunning place Harris is! Every corner brings more epic scenery! After a day’s walk, a few hail showers, sun, snow, wind, Jet and I settled at the bottom of a beautiful valley and our own beach. We were both wrecked. In the morning the wind was pushing directly onshore, not an easy morning in all.
“After making it around the coast we come up on to a road – by this point Jet could hardly walk and being blown all over. We ran for a steel container I could see about 4km – quick brew, quick think and within an hour the lovely Kate Blake from Tarbert come at the drop of a hat to come get Jet and I. She asked us to stay the night if we wanted and that’s what we did – kit drying kettle on and a warm place to rest up.”
Kate was not the only person to get heartfelt thanks from Chris and Jet, he also name-checked new friends for what he gratefully described as ‘acts of human kindness’:
“Lena who lives on the mainland now, but from Harris, has let both Jet and I stay as long as we want, also called the local shops and told them not to let me pay for supplies and to put it on a tab for her.
“Kenny who picked me up from Stornoway the other day has gone out of his way and lent me a professional camera for my next stages in Harris and Lewis and a donation to Jet and I.
“Joan Eileen who took us to Stornoway the other day met me the following morning with an envelope with £30 in it that her work had done a whip around for. Thank you all so much. I got some new gloves – mine had had it.
“And lastly all the lovely folks here in Tarbert who stopped, chatted, offered help and were just really nice people. Thank you for making our stay here something I’ll never forget. Harris and Lewis, I adore you folk. I smile every time with all the kindness.”
Chris is aiming to raise £100,000 for SSAFA with his epic walk and has reached over 53% of his target on JustGiving. You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chriswalks
The pictures show Jet starting her day with a smile yesterday (Monday January 21st) and enjoying a sunny Saturday in the Bays, and some of the folk from Harris helping Chris along the way.