Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

Hebridean Hopscotch Day 3: Isle of Lewis – 8 July 2011

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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 masonary has fallen.

Author: Stewart

An instrumentation engineer who enjoys photography and singing. Working in the West of Scotland; a member of St Mary's Cathedral Glasgow and Southwark Cathedral; and a volunteer guard/signalman on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales.

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