Sarah Duce hasn’t had any problem socially distancing herself – she lives in a remote part of Harris. Here, she describes how lockdown is affecting her life in the Outer Hebrides.  

The house I live in is my childhood home. When my parents bought it in the very early ‘70s it had no road access, power or running water. So we grew up used to walking! It’s about a mile off the ‘main road’, which is a single track C road. That’s not far, but it is when every bit of shopping, building supplies, furniture, etc needed to be lugged or wheelbarrowed here. We finally got electricity when I was seven and my dad spent 30 years building a driveable road down to the house.

I moved away for uni and, like many islanders, never thought I would be able to move back. But last year I thought ‘sod it’, and I did!

My plan was to build a little rental pod within my garden grounds, so that others could share this amazing part of the world. Now this plan is on hold, the pod sits empty (temporarily converted to a greenhouse!) and Harris, which usually starts its tourist season about now, is quiet. The roads are even quieter than in off peak, as our usually friendly community socially distances itself. A huge number of people here rely on tourism and there are dark days and months ahead. I have no doubts, however, that when this pandemic finally ends the island will welcome people again.

I’m lucky to live where I do – the house sits in splendid isolation and I am surrounded by the stunning rock and water landscape of the Bays of Harris. I can take myself and the dogs in pretty much any direction and not meet another soul. Harris has some great longer walks which in these uncertain times are off limits, but having grown up here there are many local spots where I regularly walk, to take in a view, clear the shoreline of rubbish or spot the wildlife.

Lots of my friends still find it odd that I live where I do, but I can honestly say I love it here. Luckily modern tech means you are never really out of touch with family and the news.

Make indoor time better with The Great Outdoors

During the lockdown, we’re continuing to work (from home!) to make a magazine that will help you keep your outdoor spirit alive. Even though you can’t go physically go to the hills and mountains, we aim to take you there with our words and images, and perhaps conjure some of the feelings they inspire. 

To show our readers our gratitude for their support at this time, current subscribers have had their subscriptions upgraded to include free access to the digital edition of the magazine.

To give you some great reading material for these indoor days, we’re also offering new readers:

Stay home, stay safe, and see you on the hills when the day comes!