Had I been writing this then the chances are it’d be a bit wonky with atrocious spelling, as it is, on a key board with ‘spell check’ and with a panty liner wedged inside my glasses it may ‘pass muster’. However, ‘your truly’ returned from Lewis with some kind of eye problem and is now not really fit for anything, though it’s not for want of trying.
Anyway, back to Lewis and it’s many stone circles and stone houses, sure the druids or whoever built fine monuments but so did the masons of more recent times. This part of Scotland is littered with fine ruins of old croft houses, full of character, skill and craftsmanship but a bit seldom on the insulation front. I certainly wouldn’t like to be living in one but you can’t help but admire them.
All these and more where just a ‘stones throw’ from ‘Cairns Callanish’, with Dun Carloway broch just a mile or two down the road.
First image is mine, second Wiki and the last one from the Lewis site.
These structures, arguably the most complex dry stone buildings in the British isles are still a bit of an enigma. Constructed somewhere either side of the birth of Christ by a couple of hundred years they’re found throughout the north and west of Scotland, the majority being the Northern Isles and Sutherland. There are however a couple of excellent examples near Glenelg and even a ruin on Raasay http://canmore.org.uk/site/11457/raasay-dun-borodale , though there’s not much of it left.
Our next stop was the Gearannan ‘blackhouse village’ http://www.gearrannan.com/ some of which have been restored for letting.
After that it was a trek up the west side off Lewis all the way to ‘The Butt’ and Port of Ness, a tiny harbour using the natural rocks and concrete to make an amazing refuge for small craft on this inhospitable shore.
It also has an amazing sandy beach that we all enjoyed
That was just about it for Sunday and we retired back to Callanish for a fine plate of ‘mince and tatties’, when in Rome!!!
A night of reading, watching TV and drinking rum was followed by a lie in bed as the rain and wind pelted the double glazing. Eventually setting forth around 10:30 and heading for Great Bernara https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/great-bernera-western-isles/ , yet another island with a strong tradition of fishing.
If there was only one place that I could revisit on Lewis, then this would be it, connected to the mainland of Lewis by the first European ‘pre stressed’ concrete bridge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestressed_concrete . Built in 1953, I think it’s fair to say that it’s been the saviour of the Bernara community.
Our first stop upon crossing the bridge was the Community Hall and Museum at Breaclete http://www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk/see-and-do/bernera-community-hall-and-museum-p532161 . The museum didn’t open until midday so we had a coffee and cake before a spritely octogenarian opened the doors and let us in.
It’s a small world
Of the many local exhibits the one that really impressed was a book by a George MacLeod.
It was more a ‘Bible’ than a book, a comprehensive guide to fishing and boat building during the age of sail, complete with terms for every conceivable joint and plank in Gaelic and English. A true ‘labour of love’ it even had ‘marks’ and transits for particularly good fishing spots.
Even my wife, who has no interest in the subject matter was seriously impressed and inquired of Catriona, the curator if it was ‘in print’. Sadly it wasn’t but as conversation unfolded it turns out that she was originally from Ness and at school with several people we know, including one of my ‘shipmates’ mother!!!!
A very nice and inexpensive lunch in the centre was next and by the time we finished the sun was out.
Our next stop was the Iron Age roundhouse at Bosta, another seriously impressive bit of stonework in another beautiful setting https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/bosta-iron-age-house-and-village/
Our final, and if I’m truthful, original reason for visiting Bernara was http://www.cornets-craft.com/ Cornet’s Crafts. Not your cheap tacky tartan carp here, just artistic home grown, local creative treasures at VERY reasonable prices. As soon as we’re settled in Sonas we’ll be back for a couple of chairs at least.
Seriously ‘air tight’
The day just got better and better and we finished off with a visit to http://www.lanntair.com/ and a run on the beach at Back.
Sadly, Tuesday was our last day and we headed for Tarbert on Harris and the 11:40 ferry, arriving back at Arnish with a bloodshot eye around 16:00.
Anyway, that’s it for now, that eye is sore and I need my bed