Our very first ‘day trip’ from Inverness was actually an overnight stay on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Lewis is the northern part of Lewis and Harris, the biggest island in the British Isles after Ireland! So why go to Lewis? Standing stones, black houses, brochs and some amazing coastline.
We did a taxi tour on the second day on Lewis which covered an amazing amount of ground. This is what much of Lewis looks like and you’ll notice that, like the Orkneys, it’s a largely treeless landscape.
Our first stop was the Callanish Standing Stones, which were just amazing. The stones are in a cross shape, meeting in a circle around a hearth at the centre. This photo looks down one side of the cross with the circle in the middle of the shot.
I could post so many photos of this amazing site and the beautiful stones, but none of them capture it. Interestingly, there is a baby stone circle on the other side of the loch from the Callanish stones.
From there we went to one of two sets of blackhouses – traditional farmhouses – that we saw. These ones you could stay in (Gearrannan Blackhouse Village) and were largely restored/recreated houses.
Then we went on to Carloway Broch. Brochs are fortified houses which have a double stone wall that acts like a staircase between the different floors. This one happens to be fairly intact and beautifully situated.
This gives you a better sense of the internal structure of the broch. Those openings in the wall are doors!
One of the fascinating things about Lewis is all the signage puts the Gaelic first.
We stopped off at Dalmore Beach for a change of scenery and it was gorgeous.
Like on many of the islands around Scotland, sheep wander freely. The one in the pic above decided to stand in front of the car as we went to leave. It did not want to move!
The Arnol blackhouse – the second we saw – is in a more naked state than the others. Other than how smokey they’d be to live in and how closely you’d be living with your animals, the most striking thing was how dark they were.
A small side trip we did from the sights of Lewis was to visit a Harris Tweed weaver in his home studio. All over Lewis and Harris are individual weavers making this particular woolen cloth and it was cool to see an old mechanical loom in use!
We finished our tour by heading up to the Butt of Lewis, which is the north most point where there is a lighthouse. I didn’t find the lighthouse as interesting as the rocks! Crazy shapes.
When we flew back to Lewis, we had the one travel disruption of the trip – we got rerouted via Edinburgh which turned a 45 min flight into 2hrs! But it was nice to fly over Edinburgh (where we had started) and recognise the landmarks from the air as the sun was setting on the Firth of Forth.