Summer arrived here in Harris, almost unnoticed. After weeks of tupperware skies and torrential rain, there seemed little obvious indication of the season by the time the solstice was upon us.
But the signs were all around and waking up to bright blue skies devoid of cloud this morning suddenly brought things into sharp relief.
The heather, which had been set alight in spring as part of the annual muirburn, is recovering with fresh green shoots while white wisps of brightly-burst bog cotton can be seen scattered across the moor.
The lambs which had clung so carefully to ewes just a few short months ago now graze independently, getting plump on the fast-growing grass instead of mother's milk.
The skies are alive with birdlife, and the air thrums to the drumming of snipe, while the rare corncrake crexes long into the night.
Sandy bays are filled with oystercatchers and curlews while meadow pipit, wheatear and twite abound as the beautiful machair, blanketed in fragile wildflowers, comes into full bloom.
Looking out to sea, lazy seals can be spied sunbathing on in-shore rocks while common dolphins flirt in the wake of passing ferries and fishing boats looking for the seasonal lobster catch.
And as the water warms, behemoth basking sharks swim slowly beneath the waves, feeding on plentiful plankton with their mouths agape.
On scattered moorland banks, fàds of peat are carefully stacked to dry in the wind, ready to be lifted and carried home for burning later in the year.
Our community is full of life too, with the school summer holidays imminent and the island swelling with visitors, both old and new. The roads hum with campervans and cyclists and the tills of local businesses jingle in kind.
And here at the distillery, we’re welcoming hundreds of people through our doors six days a week, our staff sharing our story and spirit on guided tours led by the wonderful Sandy and Marie among others.
In the Canteen, Kate and her team are busy serving fresh local seafood, cheeses, soups and homebaking, while the Shop bustles with folk eager to get hold of our Isle of Harris Gin.
With the sun setting after 10.30pm at this time of year, we’re looking forward to a Harris G&T (or two) of our own and the long, bright evening ahead as we enjoy the best of a Harris summer.
Wherever you are the world tonight, we hope you can enjoy one too.
THANKS TO PETER KWASNIEWSKI FROM THE DISTILLERY TEAM FOR HIS IMAGES.
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