Hebridean Holiday - Part 2

Day 3 - Sightseeing Lewis

Tuesday 22nd July

The first night in the tent wasn't the best. It was on a slight incline, and I couldn't get comfy. I headed out in the morning over the bleak Barvas moor. First stop was the Arnol black house. Had a chat about Independence with the wifie in the shop and a couple of German tourists (?!) and spotted a coachload of tourists arriving. I got round the house before they swamped it!





The main room had a very smokey peat fire. No chimney, so the peat reek was everywhere, and my clothes kept the smell till the evening. Personally I love the smell, reminds me of my Great Great Granada's house at Gossaburgh in Yell. The German couple didn't seem to like it as much though! Also, it turned out that the coach party was from the same cruise I saw yesterday in Portree.

The next brown tourist sign led me to a Norse kiln.


I'm forever crouching to get into these places.


There are lochs everywhere!

Further down the road I visited the Gearrannan black house village. Another peat fire in here, but the interior was a lot more modern, it was lived in till 1974. There was also a working loom for making Harris tweed.


A stack of peat at Gearrannan

There was a hostel in one of the done up black houses and had a bed free for Wednesday night so I booked it. At least that will be one night not tenting.
The next brown sign led to Carloway Dun, and old broch with one side still standing. An impressive structure with very narrow passages.


Carloway Dun



It's a tight squeeze!

Carrying on down the road I came to the Callanish stoners. This is what you always see advertised about Lewis. There are actually quite a lot of standing stones around the isles, and being so exposed they are easy to spot! There's three main circles at Callanish which I looked at. The first one was crawling with one of the cruise tours so it took patience to photograph when people walked behind them. There's a visitor centre and art exhibition too. The artist, Ivor McKay had a lot of nice paintings, my favourite was of a CalMac ferry in a storm! I'll try and forget about that before next week though.




Stones, stones and more stones!


Stones and cloud patterns!

Stone circles 2 and 3 were just a little bit away and practically deserted. Hence why I played around with my 10 second delay on my camera.




I got this right first time of course...

I took the road back to Stornoway from there for a quick look round the shops before closing. Took the bike back into town later and had some fish and chips at the An Lantair ??? centre.

I spotted the same three books in every shop today. The "Lewis Trilogy" by Peter May. They looked like Rankin/MacBride style crime stories so I went onto the kindle and grabbed them. The first has quite a few depictions of things I'd seen already, such as Barvas moor. Most of it is set up north towards Port of Ness, tomorrow's journey...

Day 4 - Sightseeing More of Lewis

Wednesday 23rd July

Night 2 in the tent was better. I was prepared for the slope. It was glorious sunshine when I woke. I packed the tent and headed north to Barvas again. Today I took the right road there and followed it to Port of Ness. I had considered cycling, but it was just too warm and you're exposed wherever you go.


If that's not glorious then I don't know what is!

Port of Ness had a lovely looking beach, and the harbour wall must've been partially destroyed in a storm. I had a walk along the cliffs to an old Dun (Dun Eistein) Someone built a small bridge over to it in recent years, but signs warned that birds shouldn't be disturbed. In fact one did seem a bit annoyed by my presence so I didn't stay long. I could see the lighthouse at the Butt a little bit away, but returned to Port of Ness to get the car instead. (And get some ice cream on the way!)


A slightly damaged harbour wall


There's a nice beach here. I can imagine it was very busy later that day.


Fishies in the harbour


Dun Eistein


The lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis in the distance

The lighthouse itself is another of the Stevenson ones and unpainted. Did a spot of bird watching with the zoom lens, but I'm not sure what I saw. I spoke to a couple of cyclists as they completed their Barra to Lewis cycle. Rather them than me though. It's been so warm.


I think it's pretty clear what this is






Just a wee cave


These are the furthest out rocks at the very North of Lewis


This is a whalebone arch at Bragar


The Blackhouse Village at Gearrannan. The hostel is the building on the right.

It was a bit of a lazy day having touristed out yesterday, so I reached Gearrannan quite early. I checked into the hostel and went for a wander down to the rocky beach. I made myself some mince and tatties for tea (I got the mince I'm a Stornoway butcher in the morning). Normally my mince isn't great but for some reason it was very tasty tonight. I cheated on the tatties though and it was some Smash! Still tasted good though.


Mmm, this is making me hungry!

After tea I wandered back down the brae with my pipes for a few tunes. The worlds are a few weeks away so I need a bit of practice. The midges were getting up though so it didn't last too long. A bemused Belgian family came past to see what the commotion was.


I'm probably ten seconds into the MSR at this point

Back at the hostel, another guest had produced a mandolin and another had as whistle. So I got out the flute and we had a wee session in the kitchen. Oddly they were Spanish, but played Irish and Scottish tunes. They were delighted to finally meet someone else who could join in, having had no luck so far on their journey from the south of the isles.


It's no Blue Lamp, but it'll do nicely!


You can't stay outside for long at this hour, lest the midges eat you alive!

Continue to Part 3