|Scottish Holiday, Part 2 of 3, in which we poke our noses into a great many stone ruins
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
In part two of three, we make our way from the Isle of Skye to Harris and Lewis Islands and spend a day poking our noses into large stone-based ruins. (We spend the following day lolling in our tent and resting up for part 3, which is the amazing trip to St Kilda.)
We got up at 7 AM and didn’t pitch our tent until 9:30 PM, so this was a fairly epic day.
We said goodbye to our gracious hosts at The Ferry Inn in Uig on Skye and headed to the ferry terminal after a hearty breakfast. We rode in the observation deck on the 1.75 hour journey to Tarbert on Harris Island, where we were assured it wouldn't be raining.
Handsome young man on the ferry.
Ferry preparing to dock at Tarbert.
A light drizzle hit us as we drove off the ferry.
We checked at the tourist office for a good campsite, then at Kilda Cruises to make sure we could still travel there on Thursday. They said yes, as long as I was willing to stay seated during the journey across the open Atlantic. I agreed to the condition.
The rain cleared as we drove north to Lewis (part of the same island as Harris but long separated by an obscure intraclan feud). We saw many stone constructions of unfathomable age: stone circles, kilns, blackhouses & a broch, which was a sort of Iron Age way of saying, 'Go Away, for Our Fort is Bigger Than Yours'. Impressive, yet also functional. Everyone including livestock could shelter from a fierce storm in it.
On our way to the Callanish Standing Stones, I misread the map and we ended up crossing the bridge into the thriving metropolis of Great Bernera.
There were standing stones on Great Bernera, too.
Great Bernera standing stones.
Lying-down stones make a nice seat for pregnant ladies with tired feet.
We did eventually find the standing stones we were looking for. This is the first group of Callanish Standing Stones.
Creatures lurking behind the second group of Callanish Standing Stones.
One of many abandoned old stone houses that's now a sheep hotel. Apparently it's so expensive to modernise these that most people just build a new home not far from the site of the old one.
Looking toward the main group of Callanish Standing Stones from the second group.
Little red-haired girl playing around the Callanish Standing Stones.
Tall brown-haired man next to Callanish Standing Stones.
Pregnant lady sheltering under a Callanish Standing Stone.
Callanish Standing Stones from the northern end.
Next to the central stone of the Callanish Standing Stones. The bloke is 6’!
View from Duone Broch, an Iron Age structure. (I’ve switched to my phone camera here - too tired to carry around camera while using walking poles.)
Duone Broch, with chaps in flat caps for scale.
Blackhouse village in Gearrannan. This was about to close by the time we got to it, so we didn’t manage to tour the functional house. It may have been for the best, though, as I’m not sure I could have coped with being at close quarters for very long with the smoke from the burning peat that heated the house.
Reconstruction of a Norse mill and kiln.
Inside the mill.
The macabre whalebone arch. This is the jawbone of a blue whale that washed up on the beach nearby, with the harpoon that killed the whale suspended from the top.
We drove back down to Stornoway on Lewis through uninhabited rocky land. We got ourselves some excellent fish & chips and observed the flags on the pier with amusement. Grouped together: the Scottish, Welsh and Scandanavian flags. On a separate flagpole, and considerably smaller: the Union Jack. (At least it wasn’t on fire.)
Refueled, we headed back to the west coast of Harris to Horgabost, whose white sand beaches we hope to enjoy tomorrow. We tried to put our tent up on the rise you see me standing on here, but the wind was so strong that when we popped up our tent, it turned into a kite - probably to the great amusement of the other campers. We retreated to the little protected dells behind the machair (grass-covered sand dunes) to enjoy the sunset.
Back on Harris Island, the campsite near the village of Horgabost.
Me on the windswept cliff of Horgabost beach.
Sunset over Horgabost