Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Isle of Lewis, Scotland 2018 ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ

Date: 19th June 2018

Travelled: 96 kilometres from Cliff Beach to Stornoway, both on the Isle of Lewis, the Outer Hebrides.

Visited: Isle of Lewis, Calanais Stone, free. Garenin Blackhouse Village, ยฃ3.30pp

Stayed: CalMac Ferry Terminal, Stornoway. Free with toilet and a bin. N58.20592, W06.38457

It was a very windy night at Cliff Beach.  After dinner I turned the Hymer into the wind, this substantially stopped the rock-n-roll and we had a reasonable good night.  I looked out the window about 6 am expecting to see the car-park full of the local wax heads looking the catch a narly shore break, but no, just the other home-made camper-car next to the Hymer and a couple sleeping in their Suzuki Vitara over the way.  I presumed the couple in the Vitara had short legs !

The Isle of Lewis has the greatest land mass of the chain of islands making up the Outer Hebrites.  The northern half known as the Black Moor, described as a vast featureless peat bog.  As delightful as that sounds we will explore central Lewis instead.

We have a leisurely coffee, some fruit, loosely planning our day.  On Lewis there are only a few roads, but there are a couple of interesting thing to visit on the loop of roads around central Lewis.

Itโ€™s a long slow drive back from Cliff Beach and Mallaig to the A858.
Now thereโ€™s a fixer upper opportunity for a boaty…
Shortly after returning to the A858 we reach the western side of Lewis and turn for the Calanais Standing Stones.  The name causes a little confusion as our book and map call them the Callanish Stone, but here the english translation is Calanais.
We have seen standing stones on hilltops through Skye and Harris, but the layout of Calanais is apparently unique.
You would be familiar with stone circles but here at Calanais the additional outer stones form a cross. The inner circle of stones are dated 4,000 years old.

Anyway you can read more about it here, like I did.
Just down the hill from Calanais we see these two unusual machines that appeared to be harvesting weed out of the Loch. Quite possible for a new superfood to be announced shortly.
Our next find is the Garenin Blackhouse Village. The rough stone cottages built by the tenant farmers where known as black houses. This description comes from the interior walls stained black from burning peat as a fuel.
There are 8-9 of these restored cottages on site.  None look black inside.  They house a museum, some displays and a video display of life here which we found very interesting.
We found this old fellow, not so hard at it, working away.  Chatting for a while he told us he had spend most of his life weaving Harris Tweed fabric on a machine similar to this.  He was very funny and obviously enjoyed the company.
Something we have found very interesting is the harvesting of peat for heating. A stack can be seen in this photo. The smoke has a distinctive odour.
As we turn away from the west coast of Lewis toward Stornoway the landscape quickly turns to open moor. There are very few house here and no fences for long sections, so we presume it has little farming value. But the roads actually pretty good across here.

Soon enough we arrive in Stornoway our departure port back to mainland Scotland. We spot a sign for a war memorial on top of a hill, stop and go for a leg stretch. Using a circle of standing stones with plaques very fitting for this area.

Stornoway is a large town compared to anything we have seen for the last week or so.
Lews Castle stands across the river from Stornoway. Itโ€™s now a luxury hotel and conference centre.
We wander about on the lower floor of Lews Castle for a sticky beak.  While the rooms are all fully restored, itโ€™s furnished for weddings or conferences, nothing in period.
So we wander the shops, walk back up to the port terminal and check-in for tomorrow mornings ferry.  We do a quiick visit to the Tesco which is directly over the road.

We find ourselves parked next to Joe and Ian again, so we have drink and a chat about our adventures on Lewis.  We all agree that the trip to the western isles is well worth the ferry ride and would reommend a visit.

A ferry glides in as the sun sets over Stornoway. Although in reality the sun doesnโ€™t set until almost 10 pm and remains in twilight all night.

Michael and Pam

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