A wee Hebridean Holiday,

Bed and Breakfast visitors are sporadic in the Glen during April. So, before the season gets fully under way, we thought we’d have a wee biking holiday with our neighbours over the sea to the Outer Hebrides, the northern parts at least, Harris and Lewis. Although it’s only a sail of about one hour and forty minutes, the Outer Isles are vastly different in appearance from Skye. They have a more rugged, bleakness about them. Harris has mountains, miles of sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Beaches on which you’ll find only the hardiest of visitors, even though some of them are among the best surfing beaches in the world. No doubt it’s the chilly Atlantic and a shared latitude with parts of Alaska which contributes to that!

We visited one particular, smaller beach which had a very interesting history. Back in 1992, a series of storms altered the profile of this particular beach, revealing an ancient stone age settlement, dating from between 400 ad 800 AD. Lots of archeological investigation was performed and one of the dwellings was re-constructed. The rest were re-covered by sand to preserve them. There are few trees on these islands, but evidence unearthed on this site showed that all those centuries ago, there was extensive woodland and the people had a varied diet including deer, fish and barley derivatives.

Unfortunately, as it’s early in the season the house remained locked but I managed to hold my camera in the gap above the door and flash into the gloom! I can’t interpret it for you but I’ll let you take a peek anyway!

They also had their own private beach!

Another old building which we visited, although not quite so old, was the 16th century church of St. Clement…

…with some wonderful graves inside, this one of the 8th Clan Chief MacLeod…

…and one for a bard of the time…

But the most ancient site that we visited, was that of the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis, its construction beginning between 2900-2600 B.C.

Presumed to have been used for religious or ritualistic events, it has a burial site in the centre…

But for me, it’s not just the layout of the stones, or the wonder at the people who erected them but the stones themselves, which are Lewisian Gneiss, a metamorphic rock with striated patterns containing quartz and glittering mica among other minerals. Some of the striations are linear…

…and some are folded into intricate designs…

One curious sight during our travels on Lewis, was at the end of someone’s garden; a Whalebone Arch! Apparently, this is the jawbone of a Blue Whale from the last century, along with the harpoon which killed it!

The wind picked up on the second day of our trip which made for an ‘interesting’ bike ride to the ferry, and a fairly rocky journey back to Skye! Happy memories though of our brief visit to the rugged, ancient and magical islands of the Outer Hebrides.

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2 Responses to “A wee Hebridean Holiday,”

  1. Gill Hulse Says:

    Good bit of history there Christine! What an interesting visit, how lucky you are!!

  2. garybuie01 Says:

    You’re right there Gill, the history of the place is wonderful – as are the beaches!
    Christine

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