It was early evening when I reached the campsite at Cnip (pronounced 'neep'), a small crofting community on Lewis's western coast. You have to be fairly dedicated to get there. You turn off the A858 just beyond the standing stones at Calanais, and follow the recently improved B8011 across a wild landscape of lochs, lochans and grey-green hills. Rocks of Lewisian gneiss stick up through thin, acidic soil. It's true wilderness here, empty, elemental; shaped over eons of time by the raw, brute forces of nature.
The weather had become rainy and blustery, but it was still pleasantly warm (Lewis has a moist, mild climate, with no great extremes between its summer and winter temperatures). Eventually you branch off along a narrow, minor road which unrolls by one of Loch Rog's slender inlets. It then follows a short, stark, river valley, and winds through the tiny, windswept, coastal settlements of Cliobh and Bhaltos, until finally finishing up at Cnip.
There was an end-of-the-world feel to the place. If you discount the more southerly isles of the Outer Hebrides, you can't get much further west in Britain than this: there's nothing but ocean between here and the Labrador coast of Canadian Newfoundland.
I pitched my tent behind the dunes on the machair - a flat, grassy strip carpeted with wild flowers. Occasionally the sun broke through chinks in the cloud and illuminated dazzling white sand, aqua blue water and the little islands in Traigh na Beirigh bay. Later I found Agnes Maclennan from the Cnip Village Grazing Trust assiduously cleaning the campsite's small shower and toilet block. She spoke English with a soft, Gaelic-inflected accent. "You should have been here these past few weeks," she said. "The most wonderful weather. But I fear the rain has now set in."