Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Outer Hebrides - Harris and Lewis

The next stage of our journey was to take the ferry from Berneray, North Uist to Leverburgh, Harris. Unfortunately the weather had changed; it was now cold, very windy and very rainy. We were worried that the ferry wouldn't be able to sail but it went ahead anyway, with a bit of a delay. 

This was the view while waiting for the ferry.

The only thing that had any colour was my crocheting!

At least the crossing was a short one.

The ferry had to manoeuvre between these buoys, seemingly heading in completely the wrong direction and then turning again at the next buoy.

Our accommodation was on Lewis so we drove right up through Harris, stopping for coffee and scones. The weather was still atrocious. By the time we got checked in to our B&B, the rain had stopped and we were able to go and see the Calanais Standing Stones. We were staying just a few miles away from Calanais so it only took a matter of minutes for us to get there.

It's an amazing site as well as an amazing sight. There were only a couple of others there that evening, making it very quiet and peaceful.

We decided to visit the standing stones again the next day and, on that evening, go for some dinner. On the way to the restaurant we spotted these Highland cattle down at the edge of a small loch.

Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?

The following morning the weather wasn't much better; very windy though, to start with, not raining. We went to see the Iron Age Doune Broch - Dun Carloway - which was very interesting. There were coach loads of other visitors there which made it hard to get any decent photos.

People actually lived in this many years ago! The husband just had to get climbing up as far as he could.

This little village is just below the broch.

Next we went back to the Calanais Standing Stones, mainly because the visitor centre was open and we could get coffee! The older son was on holiday with us too. He hadn't been to the stones the previous evening so this was his first experience of the ancient stone circle. He really loved it. You can get an idea of the size of the stones, though they think that quite a lot of each stone is still buried.

Some of the stones looked like they were carved from wood.

The rain came on - with hail - while we were looking round the standing stones and this was our cue to head for the visitor centre and coffee. It was very busy as all the other visitors had the same idea!

We decided to go and see the Gearrannan Black Houses. We managed to get into the houses that are open as a museum and to see someone demonstrating weaving. Some of the houses are used for self-catering accommodation.

There was a video explaining how to cut peat and stack it correctly so it dries and can be used as fuel.

The houses went right down to the sea.

The weather was getting worse at this point. It was really windy, lashing rain and bitterly cold.

We decided that the best thing we could do would be to cross to the other side of Lewis and visit Stornaway. It was a one-track road over the moor, through driving rain and, at times, snow! It was hard to even see the road in front of us.

But we had made the right decision for the weather in Stornoway was very good.

We took a good walk up round Lews Castle grounds. Some work is being done to the castle by a firm from Northern Ireland that is based not far from where we live.

We rounded off our visit to Stornaway by going to a great chip shop for our dinner. Then we had to face crossing the moor to get back to our B&B. It was still raining and snowing up there!

This was the progress made on my sister-in-law's bag by the time we got back.

We spent two nights on Lewis and were then to sail to Skye for the last night of our holiday. We had a good opportunity to see Harris better before getting the ferry from Tarbert to Uig. Harris is extremely scenic. All these islands, even though they are so small, have their own unique features.

We had lovely walk on this road.

The son thought it was all fantastic and took lots of pictures. So did I.

The husband had to climb!

The son wanted to walk out as far as he could into this loch.

He got right to the end of the finger of land pointing into the loch. It didn't look that far but you can barely see him there because he's so tiny and far away.

This is the harbour at Tarbert, a lovely wee town with great hotel where we sampled the coffee and ice-cream.

We spent our last night on Skye; in Portree. This is the view from our bedroom window.

Then it was time to start our long journey home. We stopped off in Largs to have a delicious dinner followed by ice-cream. A real treat. This Viking was standing just across the road from the restaurant. You can see how big he is!

Well that's all I have about our holiday. Only eight days but with a lot packed in. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Your comments have been very nice to read and it certainly seems you like the scenery.

I've finished crocheting a few small things that I'll have to tell you about next time. The crocheted bag just needs to be lined now.

All the best for now.

PS I've been wearing my new crocheted cardigan that I told you about here. It's very itchy but I wear it anyway. Well it looks nice!

PPS I cut the first sweet peas today. They're gorgeous but can you believe how late they are? We've had such awful weather.


  1. Hello Gillian,
    What a nice shots!! But the weather on your first shots is very bad with so much rain.
    Nice to see all stones on the filed.
    And nice the little houses of stones. Very special.

    Many greetings,

  2. How beautiful and wild the Islands are! Quite inhospitable I would think, if you were to live back when the standing stones were erected. Thanks for sharing a lovely holiday. x

  3. Gosh, I am so envious Gilliam - it is stunning. I can't believe the rain!
    Caz xx

  4. just gorgeous, we need to visit there one day.

  5. I am catching up on my blog reading and I am really enjoying your posts about your trip. It's so interesting!! It's amazing the Romans were occupying Britain for 375 years. Canada has such a different history. A house built here a hundred years ago is considered a heritage site!

  6. The places shown here are all impressive ! I like those kind of landscapes ... yeah the weather is awful ... here too !!! sometimes it's sunny but not so warm ... Enjoy your holidays !! and thanks for sharing them with us !!

  7. Oh my God, what a trip, it just makes me dream. I don't even mind the rain so that's my kind of weather too. Your photos are magnificent, you really captured the essence of the place. xx p.s. : Husband is gorgeous too !!

  8. Wow, wow and wow once more! I'm speechless! These are amazing places, I'd really love to visit them someday... lucky you, and thanks a lot for sharing these pictures! xx

  9. Beautiful scenery. It's a shame about the weather but it doesn't look like it stopped you doing anything. The Highland cattle are fabulous, they always remind me of Highland toffee when I see them, they were featured on the wrapper. Those Black Houses are wonderful, I'd love to stay in one of those.

  10. hello gillian,
    beautiful shots from a wonderful place. love the little village. really a dreamy place. thanks for all the wonderful photos!!!!
    wish you a wonderful week,
    hugs regina

  11. Wow, I really enjoyed your photos of your trip! I descend from McAllisters and so really loved seeing their lands. What a wonderful place! Loved the stones, the lochs, the castles and most of all the thatched stone cottages down to the sea! Wow! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  12. Looks like the holiday of a lifetime (well, it would be for me), in spite of the weather. Beautiful photos, I'm glad you had such a lovely time.

  13. I think I left a comment, but it does not seem reflected...strange!
    I really love old places especially stone circles, so I am very happy to find them. They are magnificent and mysterious.
    I am a bit delicate I sometimes receive kind of intense feelings left there by anonymous persons but they are still very attractive.I visited Stone henge and Avebury stone circle, I would love to visit this place some day!
    And I have never seen highland cattle- very interesting!

  14. What a very beautiful place to spend your holidays. You are a very talented photographer. I particularly like the Highland cattle.

  15. I really enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing your photos with us. What a bleak place that must have been to live! And you had snow?? But the standing stones are breathtaking, and I bet they were amazing in the evening summer light. And they do look like wood, not stone. Amazing. x

  16. I had to laugh at the husband climbing, mine does that too. I've just been catching up on my blog reading and have really enjoyed reading about your trip, I've never been to the Outer Hebrides though I think we may still have family there. Your bag is lovely, will you show us it when it is lined and finished? Hx

  17. what gorgeous places you visited xxxx

  18. What a wonderful holiday , thank you for sharing even in that bad weather it looks stunning.

  19. Hi Gillian, I have just discovered you via Amy's blog. What a lovely holiday! My husband loves to climb and discover places too! We walked on Skye many years ago and my husband was surprised when I was encouraging him to climb up a very steep grassy hill - I was leading, he didn't want to "climb" then. It's turned around a bit since then, he wants to walk/climb and now I'm not so keen! Barbara.

    1. You should have a look at my posts about our holiday last September on Skye - especially about the donkey attack.


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