Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

Castlebay Hotel


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – Heading Home – 13 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 8 – 13 July 2011 – Barra to Brodick

On day 8 we left the Outer Hebrides, taking the 07:00 ferry from Castlebay via Lochboisdale to Oban, then driving down the Kintyre Peninsula to Claonaig to get the ferry to Lochranza on the Isle of Arran. Highlights included passing some tall ships in the Sound of Mull.

MV Lord of the Isles
Our CalMac ferry to Oban was MV Lord of the Isles (LOTI), which had berthed at Castlebay pier overnight.

MV Lord of the Isles at Castlebay

MV Lord of the Isles at Castlebay 13 July 2011

Leaving Barra
We missed our breakfast at the Castlebay hotel due to the early check-in for the ferry. However we got breakfast on board, but not before getting some pictures of the departure from Castlebay.

Leaving Castlebay

Leaving Castlebay 13 July 2011

Stop off at Lochboisdale
Before heading south east to Oban, MV Lord of the Isles headed north to the South Uist port of Lochboisdale.

LOTI leaving Lochboisdale

LOTI leaving Lochboisdale 13 July 2011

Sound of Mull
Leaving Lochboisdale, LOTI headed south east for the Sound of Mull at Ardnamuchan Point.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse 13 July 2011

Passing along the Sound of Mull, to the south is the Isle of Mull and the towm of Tobermory.

Tobermory

Tobermory 13 July 2011

Leaving the Sound of Mull, Duart Castle can be seen on a headland on Mull.

Duart Castle

Duart Castle 13 July 2011

Tall Ships
Passing through the Sound of Mull several Tall Ships were passed including Pelican of London

Pelican of London in the Sound of Mull

Pelican of London in the Sound of Mull 13 July 2011

Oban
Arriving in Oban, MV Clansman, MV Eigg and MV Isle of Mull were passed heading out and several more Tall Ships were seen berthed at Oban North Pier with MV Isle of Arran at the Railway Pier.

MV Clansman heading to Barra

MV Clansman heading to Barra 13 July 2011

MV Eigg heading to Lismore from Oban

MV Eigg heading to Lismore from Oban 13 July 2011

MV Isle of Mull heading to Craignure

MV Isle of Mull heading to Craignure 13 July 2011

Sailing Ships at the Oban North Pier

Sailing Ships at the Oban North Pier 13 July 2011

MV Isle of Arran at Oban Railway Pier

MV Isle of Arran at Oban Railway Pier 13 July 2011

Leaving LOTI, we headed to fill the car with fuel before heading south onto the Kintyre Peninsula and our next ferry at Claonaig.

Claonaig to Lochranza
Arriving at Claonaig we waited for MV Loch Riddon to arrive.

MV Loch Riddon arriving at Claonaig

MV Loch Riddon arriving at Claonaig 13 July 2011

Crossing the Kilbrannan Sound our next ferry terminal was Lochranza on the Isle of Arran

Approaching Lochranza

Approaching Lochranza 13 July 2011

On arrival at Lochranza, we saw MV Loch Tarbert berthed at the pier.

MV Loch Tarbert at Lochranza

MV Loch Tarbert at Lochranza 13 July 2011

It was a short drive down the east side of Arran to Brodick, where we were re-united with Cosmo, our Ginger British Shorthair cat, at this island holiday home.

Epilogue: Day 9 – 14 July 2011 – Home from Brodick

MV Caledonian Isles

Having collected our cat from his island holiday home, we got the 08:20 ferry from Brodick and headed home.

MV Caledonian Isles at Brodick Pier

MV Caledonian Isles at Brodick Pier 14 July 2011

Leaving Brodick

And so we left our last island of our holiday.

Brodick Castle and Goatfell

Brodick Castle and Goatfell 14 July 2011

Conclusion
And so our holiday came to an end, with a few statistics:

  • Nine Islands
  • Six CalMac ferries sailed on
  • Six other CalMac ferries seen
  • 2,536 photographs taken
  • Twelve churches visited
  • One island airport with a beach runway visited
  • …and Countless other memories

More pictures of:

LOTI and Kisimul Castle at sunset


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – Barra Airport and more Churches – 12 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 7 – 12 July 2011 – Barra Airport and more churches

Day 7 saw us undertaking some plane spotting at the only airport in the UK where aircraft land on the beach. We also visited more churches on the island and took in some more views of Kisimul Castle.

Barra Airport
Barra Airport is unique amongst airports in the UK, in that the aircraft land on the beach.

Twin Otter G-BZFP at Barra Airport

Twin Otter G-BZFP at Barra Airport
12 July 2011

Twin Otter G-BZFP taking off from Barra beach

Twin Otter G-BZFP taking off from Barra beach
12 July 2011

St Vincent de Paul Church, Eoligarry
Between the departure of the Twin Otter for Benbecula and it return we went to two local churches on the northern peninsula of Barra at Eoligarry, firstly St Vincent de Paul, one of the newest churches on Barra, being opened in 1963.

St Vincent de Paul, Eoligarry

St Vincent de Paul, Eoligarry
12 July 2021

Cille Bharra (St Barr’s Church), Eoligarry
Also in Eoligarry is one of the oldest church buildings on Barra. Surrounded by a graveyard, there is a building with artifacts in and other buildings are ruined.

Cille Bharra, Eoligarry

Cille Bharra, Eoligarry
12 July 2011

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Castlebay
Returning to Barra, we visited what looks like the largest, in use, church on the island of Barra. Our Lady Star of the Sea came to the attention of the TV audience by the TV series Island Parish in 2010 & 2011, featuring the Barra parish priest, Fr John Paul McKinnon, whom we had seen a few days earlier at the Fisherman’s Mass.

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Castlebay

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Castlebay
12 July 2011

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Castlebay - from across the bay

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Castlebay – from across the bay
11 July 2011

More can be read about the Roman Catholic churches on Barra at the Barra Catholic Web Site.

Kisimul Castle and Barra
Coming down the hill into Castlebay from the east, you get a glorious view of Kisimul Castle

Kisimul Castle from the east

Kisimul Castle from the east
12 July 2011

Our last full day on Barra did not disappoint with more little gems to see.

Barra Compass

Barra Compass
12 July 2011

The evening sunset gave Kisimul Castle an orange glow.

Kisimul Sunset

Kisimul Sunset
12 July 2011

MV Lord of the Isles
In the evening, MV Lord of the Isles arrived from Oban and Lochboisdale to berth overnight.

MV Lord of the Isles arriving at Castlebay

MV Lord of the Isles arriving at Castlebay
12 July 2011

Kisimul Castle


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – Kisimul Castle and Barra Churches – 11 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 6 – 11 July 2011 – Kisimul Castle and Barra Churches

On Day 6 of the Hebridean Hopscotch we visited Kisimul Castle and then sought out the churches of Vatersay and Barra.

Barra is the southern most point were a ferry can be caught to the Scottish Mainland. South of Barra is Vatersay, which has been connected to Barra via a Causeway since 1991. To the east of Vatersay is Muldoanich. South of Vatersay is Flodday and Sandray, then Lingeigh and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, followed by Pabbay, Mingulay and finally the southernmost island of the Outer Hebrides, Barra Head.

Kisimul Castle
The first place we visited on Day 6 was Kisimul Castle. Built on a small rocky outcrop in the bay, it gives Castlebay its name. The castle is built on a rocky islet in the bay, just off the coast of Barra. It can only be reached by boat. Kisimul has its own fresh water wells. Legend has it that was the stronghold of the MacNeils since the 11th century.

Kisimul was abandoned in 1838 when the island was sold, and the castle’s condition subsequently deteriorated. Some of its stone was used as ballast for fishing vessels, and some even ended up as paving in Glasgow. The remains of the castle, along with most of the island of Barra, were purchased in 1937 by Robert Lister MacNeil, the then chief of Clan MacNeil, who made efforts at restoration.

Courtyard of Kisimul Castle

Courtyard of Kisimul Castle
11 July 2021

Barra & Vatersay Memorials
Heading out of Castlebay, the War Memorial is reached.

Barra War Memorial

Barra War Memorial
11 July 2011

Once across the causeway to Vatersay, the wreck of a Catalina Flying Boat can be seen on the slopes of Heiseabhal Beag. A memorial to the crew of Catalina JX273 has been erected.

Memorial to Catalina JX273 on Vatersay

Memorial to Catalina JX273 on Vatersay
11 July 2011

Some pieces of the wrecked aircraft can be seen.

Wreck of Catalina JX273

Wreck of Catalina JX273
11 July 2011

Our Lady of the Waves and St John, Vatersay
Continuing onto Vatersay we visited the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of the Waves and St John. The church was opened in 1913. Prior to the construction of the causeway, accommodation was provided in the event the parish priest was unable to return to Barra.

Our Lady of the Waves and St John, Vatersay

Our Lady of the Waves and St John, Vatersay
11 July 2011

More about Vatersay
Prior to 1991, the only way to reach Vatersay was via a ferry. Since then a causeway has linked Barra and Vatersay.

Vatersay Causeway

Vatersay Causeway
11 July 2011

From the north side of the island, Castlebay and Kisimul Castle can be seen.

Castlebay with Kisimul Castle

Castlebay with Kisimul Castle
11 July 2011

St Brendans, Craigston (Eaglais Naomh Briannan)
Leaving Vatersay, we headed round Barra in a clockwise direction. The next church we reached was another of the Barra group of Roman Catholic churches. The present-day St. Brendan’s Church at Craigston, the “mother church of the island” was built in 1857 during the time of Father William MacDonnell.

St. Brendan’s Church, Craigston

St. Brendan’s Church, Craigston
11 July 2011

Barra Church of Scotland
Although there are a number of Roman Catholic churches on Barra, there is a Church of Scotland presence.

Barra Church of Scotland

Barra Church of Scotland
11 July 2011

St Barr’s Northbay
St Barr’s at Northbay dates from 1906 and is situated by an old natural harbour.

St Barr's, Northbay

St Barr’s, Northbay
11 July 2011

More can be read about the Roman Catholic churches on Barra at the Barra Catholic Web Site.

Barra
Travelling around the Isle of Barra you cannot not fail to appreciate the picturesque coast line.

Barra Coastline

Barra Coastline
11 July 2011

MV Clansman
MV Clansman paid two visits to Castlebay during the day, firstly in the morning having arrived from Lochboisdale enroute to Oban, and later on the return from Oban.

MV Clansman at Castlebay in the evening sunshine

MV Clansman at Castlebay in the evening sunshine
11 July 2011

More pictures of:

Kisimul Castle and the Barra Lifeboat


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – To Barra – 10 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 5 – 10 July 2011 – Benbecula to Barra

Day 5 of the Hebridean Hopscotch meant continuing our journey south. This second stage was heading off Benbecula to South Uist, then acroos the causeway to Eriskay before getting the ferry to Barra. At Castlebay we arrived as the annual Fisherman’s Mass was underway at the pier. In the evening MV Clansman arrived from Oban.

South Uist
Leaving our hotel, we crossed the causeway to South Uist between Creagorry and Ardmore. Not far across South Uist, near the south east end of Loch Bi is the Hill of Miracles, Rueval, where a granite statue of Our Lady of the Isles has stood since 1957, sculpted by Hew Lorimer.

Our Lady of the Isles, South Uist

Our Lady of the Isles, South Uist
10 July 2011

St Michael’s Church, Haun, Eriskay
Heading south, we reached a t-junction at the south of island and turned right along the south coast to the causeway across the Eriskay. St Michael’s Church (Eaglais Noamh Mhicheil) was built at Haun on the island of Eriskay in 1893 by Fr Allan McDonald. Outside the church is the ship’s bell from the German battleship Derfflinger, which was scuttled at Scapa Flow. Inside the base of the altar comes from the bow of a lifeboat from the aircraft carrier Hermes.

St Michael's, Haun, Eriskay

St Michael’s, Haun, Eriskay
10 July 2011

Eriskay to Ardmhor with MV Loch Alainn
After visiting St Michael’s church, we arrived at the ferry terminal in plenty of time of our trip across the Sound of Barra on the MV Loch Alainn.

MV Loch Alainn arriving at Eriskay

MV Loch Alainn arriving at Eriskay
10 July 2011

After MV Loch Alainn had unloaded its vehicles and passengers from Barra, it moved off the slipway to undertake crew training with the rescue craft. Once the training was completed, the ferry moved back to the slipway for loading of the vehicles and passengers heading to Barra.

Crossing the Sound of Barra, Barra Airport, where the aircraft land on the beach came into view.

Barra Airport from the ferry

Barra Airport from the ferry
10 July 2011

At Ardmhor, we left the ferry for the drive round Barra to Castlebay.

Ardmhor Sea Otters

Ardmhor Sea Otters
10 July 2011

Fisherman’s Mass, Castlebay
On arrival at Castlebay, the annual Fisherman’s Mass was underway on the pier. Fr John Paul McKinnon was celebrating, and as in 2010 the Island Parish film crew were present.

Annual Fisherman's Mass at Castlebay

Annual Fisherman’s Mass at Castlebay
10 July 2011

After the conclusion of the Mass, the boats were blessed by Father John Paul and sprinkled with Holy Water before motoring round the bay.

Boats in Castlebay

Boats in Castlebay
10 July 2011

Castlebay
With the Fisherman’s Mass over, we went for a walk around Castlebay.

Castlebay

Castlebay
10 July 2011

MV Clansman
Soon the MV Clansman arrived with the afternoon sailing from Oban.

MV Clansman at Castlebay

MV Clansman at Castlebay
10 July 2011

After unloading the Barra traffic, MV Clansman headed off to Lochboisdale on South Uist for its overnight stop.

Sheep on Isle of Harris


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – To Benbecula – 9 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 4 – 9 July 2011 – Stornoway to Benbecula

Day 4 of the Hebridean Hopscotch meant heading south. The first stage was heading down Lewis towards Harris. Initially, we followed the road down the east side of Harris, along the side of East Loch Tarbet, and then to the west side and its sandy beaches, on the journey to Leverburgh for the ferry to North Uist. During the journey two tour buses were encountered. Taking the ferry across the Sound of Harris, we reached North Uist, stopping at two churches on our way to Benbecula.

Harris
Although the Isle of Harris is a distinct entity, it has a land connection to the Isle of Lewis. The scenery did not disappoint both on the east and west sides. On the east side, the road gave a great view.

Single Track Road, with Passing Place, and sandy beach in the background

Single Track Road, with Passing Place, and sandy beach in the background
9 July 2011

As with a lot of the roads on this trip it was a single track road, with passing places. At one of these passing places we met a coach from Wales.

Tanat Valley Coach on Harris

Tanat Valley Coach on Harris
9 July 2011

MV Hebrides
On the way to the ferry terminal at Leverburgh, we took the road through Scadabay, where we stopped to see MV Hebrides passing the Isle of Scalpay heading into Tarbert, from Uig on the Isle of Skye.

MV Hebrides passing Isle of Scalpay heading to Tarbert.

MV Hebrides passing Isle of Scalpay heading to Tarbert.
9 July 2011

Harris Half Marathon
Back on the main road, we reached Seilebost beach, were we encountered the start of the Harris Half Marathon.

Seilebost beach

Seilebost beach
9 July 2011

Start of the Harris Half Marathon

Start of the Harris Half Marathon
9 July 2011

Sound of Harris
We reached Leverburgh in plenty of time for our ferry trip to Berneray on North Uist, where we encountered the second tour coach of the day as it was taking the same ferry.

Shearings Coach at Leverbourgh

Shearings Coach at Leverbourgh
9 July 2011

Loch Portain at Leverburgh

Loch Portain at Leverburgh
9 July 2011

The ferry does not the shortest distance as the Sound of Harris is shallow in places, with rocky outcrops.

Sound of Harris

Sound of Harris
9 July 2011

North Uist
The ferry does not land on North Uist but on Berneray which is cinnected to North Uist via a causeway. Following the main (only) road to Benbecula we stopped at Scolpaig, where there is small building on an island in the middle of a small lake.

Scolpaig, North Uist

Scolpaig, North Uist
9 July 2011

Kilmuir and Paible Church of Scotland, North Uist
The first church we encountered was at Kilmuir. Unfortunately as it was locked we were only able to view the outside.

Kilmuir and Paible Church, North Uist

Kilmuir and Paible Church, North Uist
9 July 2011

Free Presbyterian of North Uist, Bayhead
A few miles further south at Bayhead is the Free Presbyterian Church. Again this was closed, so we were limited to viewing it externally.

Free Presbyterian Church of North Uist

Free Presbyterian Church of North Uist
9 July 2011

Benbecula
North Uist is connected to Benbecula via a series of causeways between small islands. Our overnight accomodation was towards the south of the island. Following checkin, we went for a drive around the island, which is quite flat.

Boats on the west side of Benbecula

Boats on the west side of Benbecula
9 July 2011

Benbecula War Memorial

Benbecula War Memorial
9 July 2011

More photos from:

Waves off the Butt of Lewis


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – Around Lewis – 8 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 3 – 8 July 2011 – Around Lewis

Day three of our Hebridean Hopscotch dawned bright. Our initial target was the Butt of Lewis and the weather promised to be favourable. Following advice from a colleague, the intention was to follow the north west coast of Lewis to Gearrannan and then to the standing stones at Calanais before returning to Stornoway.

Butt of Lewis
Our first port of call was the Butt of Lewis. We parked by the lighthouse. The lighthouse is around 37 metre high, and situated on the cliff were it is 52 metres above sea level. It was built to a design of David and Thomas Stevenson in 1862. The windiest lighthouse in the UK, it was staffed continually until 1999 when automated.

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

From the lighthouse, we went for a walk along the cliff top. Waves could be seen breaking on the rocky outcrops out to sea, and the water at the bottom of the cliffs were clear. Not many seabirds were seen, however there were a few on the wing and some roosting in the cliffs.

Rocks off the Butt of Lewis

Rocks off the Butt of Lewis

Eoropaidh
Heading south from the Butt of Lewis, the first village is Eoropaidh. The first stop was the beach and sand dunes. From parking the car the walk to and through the sand dunes saw the sand getting softer and softer. At the beach, the end of the cliffs from the Butt of Lewis could be seen to the north.

"Fisheye" view of a sand dune on Eoropaidh beach, with the rocky cliffs in the background.

"Fisheye" view of a sand dune on Eoropaidh beach, with the rocky cliffs in the background.

Returning from the beach we stopped off at the Eoropaidh tearoom, enjoying some excellent home baked fare.

St Moluag’s Church, Eoropaidh
After stopping for a snack at Eoropaidh tearoom, we walked up to St Moluag’s Church. The church does not have any electricity and relies on candles and paraffin lamps for lights.

Interior of St Moluag's Church, Eoropaidh

Interior of St Moluag's Church, Eoropaidh

Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln
Leaving Eoropaidh we retraced our steps down the north west coast of Lewis. At Barabhas we parted with the A857 road to Stornoway, continuing along in south westerly direction on the A858 towards the Standing Stones at Calanais. Just beyond Siabost (Shawbost) we encountered the Norse Mill and Kiln.

Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln

Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
Having visited the Norse Mill and Kiln, the next place that caught our interest was the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village. People had lived in the village until the early 1970s. The village was restored in the 1990s

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

Calanais Standing Stones
Leaving Gearrannan, the road turns south and east on our way to Calanais. Although we did not appreciate it until we got there, the visitor centre stays open until 9pm during the summer. Dating from around 2700BC, they were hidden for many years, until discovered during peat cutting.

Calanais Standing Stones

Calanais Standing Stones

The nearby Calanais farm was gifted by Edinburgh University in 2007 to the community, and are now vested in a trust.

Lews Castle
Lews Castle is a major feature of the Stornoway vista as you approach on the ferry entering the harbour. Built in the mid 19th century by as a country house for Sir James Matheson, it was bought by Lord Leverhulme (of Port Sunlight fame) in the 20th century, which he gifted to the people of Stornoway. During World War II it was accommodation for a local air squadron. After the war it was used as accommodation for Lews Castle College.

Lews Castle from Stornoway Harbour

Lews Castle from Stornoway Harbour

It is now had structural problems as can be seen from these pictures, with parts of the building held together with steel beams, and parts barriered off as masonry has fallen.

The Ferry Boat Inn at Ullapool


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – Ullapool to Stornoway – 7 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Day 2 – 7 July 2011 – The ferry to Stornoway and HMS Iolaire Memorial

Day 2 of our Hebridean Hopscotch dawned sunny, and early. We had been staying at The Ferry Boat Inn. Our room looked south east down Loch Broom and the morning sun was glinting of the water.

Morning Summer Sun on Loch Broom
Morning Summer Sun on Loch Broom – 7 July 2011

After breakfast, we had around 45 minutes to pack the car and move it down to the check-in for the ferry. Whilst packing the car the Coastguard tug Anglian Sovereign came into the harbour. At around 09:50, MV Isle of Lewis approached the pier. Since this holiday, MV Isle of Lewis now operates the Oban to Castlebay route, having been replaced by Loch Seaforth in 2014.

MV Isle of Lewis in Loch Broom
MV Isle of Lewis in Loch Broom – 7 July 2011

Our first ferry of our holiday. Compared to our experience of the loading of the Arran ferry MV Caledonian Isles, the loading took longer, to ensure the vehicles were loaded in the most appropriate manner. We were on the mezzanine deck.

Loaded vehicle deck on MV Isle of Lewis
Loaded vehicle deck on MV Isle of Lewis – 7 July 2011

Although the vehicle deck was full, there was plenty of room in the passenger areas. We found some seats in the recliner area, just behind the observation lounge. A quick visit to the Coffee Cabin for tea/coffee set us up with hot drinks. Whilst still in Loch Broom, the voyage was calm. Outside, there were some nice views of the hills either side. However once we were in The Minch, the ship started to roll more, and I found that a motion sickness remedy was needed. The voyage across the Minch was mostly dry and sunny, however there were some nice cloud effects, and at one point thee was a brief shower of rain.

Eilean a' Chrotaich off the Eye Peninsula
Eilean a’ Chrotaich off the Eye Peninsula – 7 July 2011

The approach to the Isle of Lewis was heralded by views of the Eye Peninsula, with some of the rocky outcrops, including Eilean a’ Chrotaich. On the approach into Stornoway Bay on the right side was the site of the wreck of HMS Iolaire and on the left the lighthouse at Rubha Airnis.

MV Muirneag at Stornoway
MV Muirneag at Stornoway – 7 July 2011

In the harbour was MV Muirneag, which operated a nighttime freight service to Ullapool. Since 2014, MV Loch Seaforth has operated both the daytime passenger service and the night-time freight service.

On the hill above the inner harbour is Lews Castle, which we had a closer look the following day. First thing we did upon leaving the ferry was find or hotel for the next two nights – The Cabarfeidh Hotel – located to the north of Stornoway where the roads north to the Butt of Lewis and south to Harris part company.

After checking in and sorting out our luggage, we headed out to the Eye Peninsula to the east of Stornoway. To get there it required heading back to the harbour and then onto the airport and the a narrow isthmus. The first location was the end of the road at Port nan Giuran on the north west side of the peninsula, and the first siting of a decorative boat display.

Decorative boat display at Port nan Giuran
Decorative boat display at Port nan Giuran – 7 July 2011

Retracing our steps we then headed to the north east point at Tiumpan. One of the Isle of Lewis lighthouses is located here.

Tiumpan Head Lighthouse
Tiumpan Head Lighthouse – 7 July 2011

Tiumpan Head Lighthouse has been in operation since 1900. Designed by David Stevenson the lighthouse was staffed by a Principal Lighthouse Keeper and two assistants, with their families, until 1985 when the lighthouse was automated.

Returning to Stornoway, the next stop was the location of the HMS Iolaire.

Memorial to the HMS Iolaire
Memorial to the HMS Iolaire – 7 July 2011

In the early hours of 1 January 1919 HM Yacht Iolaire floundered on the rock in the entrance of Stornoway Bay. Of the 284 on board, 205 perished. Many owed their lives to John F MacLeod who managed to get ashore with a line along which over 30 survivors managed to get ashore. As well as the memorial, a marker is on the rocks where the yacht ran aground.

Looking back towards Stornoway, the War Memorial for the town in seen on the hill to the north of the town.

In the evening we went to HS-1 Cafe Bar for an evening meal. Although busy, we were able for to get a table, and enjoyed the food so much, made a booking for the following evening

Rannoch Moor


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Hebridean Hopscotch 2011 – To Ullapool – 6 July 2011

Ten years ago we undertook a Hebridean Hopscotch, starting at the north end of the Isle of Lewis, working our way south through the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Barra.

Prologue – 5 July 2011 – Arran

Although our Hebridean Hopscotch holiday started on 6 July 2011, the day before we took our Ginger British Shorthair cat to Brodick on the Isle of Arran pick up on our way back. Cosmo always enjoying visiting his island holiday home.
Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle
5 July 2011

On this occasion we took the main route onto Arran between Ardrossan and Brodick. More pictures from 5 July 2011 at our Smugmug gallery.

Day 1 – 6 July 2011 – To Ullapool

Our Hebridean Hopscotch started with a ferry from Ullapool, so the first day was the journey to Ullapool. We took the A82 up the west side of Loch Lomond to Tyndrum were we stopped at the Green Welly stop for lunch.
Green Welly Stop, Tyndrum
Green Welly Stop, Tyndrum 6 July 2011

After lunch, we continued north thorough Glencoe, stopping just before the drop down to Glencoe Village at a waterfall.

Glencoe
Glencoe 6 July 2011

From Glencoe the A82 took us to Ballachulish, then followed Loch Linnhe to Fort William. Our next stop was at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge.

Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge
Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge 6 July 2011

From Spean Bridge the A82 follows the Great Glen, with Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and finally Loch Ness. On arrival at Inverness, we planned to refuel the car prior to heading to Ullapool. The road into Ullapool give a view of the harbour, including the ferry pier.

Ullapool
Ullapool 6 July 2001

After checking into our hotel, we went for a walk our the village. During which time we saw the ferry, MV Isle of Lewis, come in from Stornoway on the third arrival of the day.

MV Isle of Lewis at Ullapool
MV Isle of Lewis at Ullapool 6 July 2011

Chocolate Fountain Counter 3 March 2007


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Hong Kong 2007 – Heading Home – 5 March 2007 & The Langham Place Hotel

The Journey Home
Our holiday was finished. On arrival at Hong Kong Airport we went through the formalities for checking our bags through to Glasgow and made our way to the gate lounge. As with the outbound journey, we were flying with British Airways, using World Traveller Plus between Hong Kong and London Heathrow (Terminal 1), and the domestic service between London Heathrow (Terminal 1) and Glasgow. Unlike the outbound long haul flight, we were not upgraded.

Hong Kong (HKG) Gate 15 departing at 01:10
Heathrow T1 (LHR) Gate 153 arriving at 06:20
Travelling in a Boeing 747-400, registration G-BNLR in seats 19A and 19B

Heathrow T1 (LHR) Gate 176 departing at 08:30
Glasgow (GLA) Gate 19 arriving at 09:50
Travelling in an Airbus A319, registration G-EUPN in seats 05A and 05B

Dawn from G-BNLR

Dawn from G-BNLR
5 March 2007

The Langham Place Hotel, Mong Kok
When we first visited Hong Kong, we followed our Travel Agent’s recommendation for the hotel to stay in. We like it so much, we requested we stayed there again. Once again, it did not disappoint.

"Red Guard - Going Forward! Making Money!" in the street lobby of the Langham Place

“Red Guard – Going Forward! Making Money!” in the street lobby of the Langham Place
24 February 2007

5th Floor Reception Area

5th Floor Reception Area
24 February 2007

The rooms featured a glass wall between the en-suite bathroom and the bedroom. Blinds are provided for privacy. I think the idea is to allow you to watch the TV whilst lying in the bath.

Langham Place Room & en-suite bathroom.

Langham Place Room & en-suite bathroom.
24 February 2007

There are many excellent places to eat in Hong Kong, however we did eat occasionally in the hotel, which features a chocolate fountain counter.

Evening Meal at Langham Place

Evening Meal at Langham Place
3 March 2007

Evening Meal at Langham Place

Evening Meal at Langham Place
3 March 2007

Chocolate Fountain Counter 3 March 2007

Chocolate Fountain Counter
3 March 2007

The elevators are in the south-east corner of the building meaning that two of them have glass panels enabling the view of Shanghai Street in Mong Kok to emerge as it rises.

Elevator view to Shanghai Street

Elevator view to Shanghai Street
4 March 2007

And so to the final packing for our bags to be picked up for the journey home.

Bags Packed and ready to go.

Bags Packed and ready to go.
4 March 2007

More pictures from heading home and of the Langham Place Hotel

Hong Kong Trams 1 (Alain Mikli) and 46 [EQ:IQ Shop] following buses


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Hong Kong 2007 – Sunday in Hong Kong – 4 March 2007

Our last full day in Hong Kong, however we had already spelt our last night at the Langham Place as our flight was scheduled to depart at 01:10 on Monday morning. With an evening check out organised, we headed out on the MTR to Central Hong Kong to attend the English language service at St John’s Cathedral, before taking our final trips on the Trams, the Star Ferry and the MTR.

Tower of St John's in the trees

Tower of St John’s in the trees
4 March 2007

You have to wait a long time to see a tram without any advertising out in, although there are some.

Hong Kong Tram 32 [Plain Livery]

Hong Kong Tram 32 [Plain Livery]
4 March 2007

Hong Kong Tram 14 [JobsDB.com livery]

Hong Kong Tram 14 [JobsDB.com livery]
4 March 2007

Hong Trams 109 [Folli Follie] and 143 [NARS]

Hong Trams 109 [Folli Follie] and 143 [NARS]
4 March 2007

On the Star Ferries, we got to Hung Hom on Day Star, returning to Central Pier on Solar Star, before our final Star Ferry trip on Northern Star. Amongst the other ferries seen was special liveried Morning Star was also seen.

Day Star at Hung Hom pier

Day Star at Hung Hom pier
4 March 2007

Solar Star approaching Hung Hom pier

Solar Star approaching Hung Hom pier
4 March 2007

Morning Star in Victoria Harbour

Morning Star in Victoria Harbour
4 March 2007

Golden Star leaving Tsim Sha Tsui pier

Golden Star leaving Tsim Sha Tsui pier
4 March 2007

It was then back to the MTR for our final journey of the holiday.

Tsim Sha Tsui station

Tsim Sha Tsui station
4 March 2007

MTR route map above train door

MTR route map above train door
4 March 2007

On arrival at the Langham Place, we packed, checked out and waited in the Langham Club Lounge for our transfer to the airport.

More photographs from 4 March 2007