Life at the end of the road

August 3, 2018

Very educational :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, food, stonework — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:49 pm

Well, that’s it, just spoke to Angus Campbell at Kilda Cruises and it looks like we’re ‘good to go’ Smile Methinks that with a westerly F4/5 forecast it’s gonna be pretty lumpy right enough but I’ve no mentioned that to the girls yet Smile St Kilda is 40 odd miles out into the Atlantic Ocean so exposed to say the least.

Orca III at Rockall Hirta

However, Angus operates two extremely fast, safe and serious craft for his trips out there. A Safehaven Wildcat 53 and Interceptor 55 both of the highest spec.

Anyway, today, unfortunately was a ‘none diving’ day spent exploring the west side of Lewis and very enjoyable it was too. By the time the rest of the team had surfaced and we’d breakfasted it was well after 10:00am and my lips were sore from biting them. Me, I like to get up early and get on with stuff, had it been up to me we’d have been finishing our first dive by that time, not just thinking of where to go Smile Still it’s their holiday as well as mine and I’ve done all this stuff before, so after reluctantly leaving the Searider behind we headed off to the broch at Dun Carloway.

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Sure, I’ve been to many brochs, there’s even one on Raasay but this one, along with Mousa on Shetland and the one at Glenelg have to be the finest. They seem to be a truly Scottish phenomenon and if the archaeologists are honest with themselves not much is known about the people that built them or the reason why they’re so similar.  Over 500 of these structures have been found throughout Scotland, predominantly in Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and around the north and west coasts. By far the best preserved being the one at Mousa off Shetland then Glenelg but Dun Carloway is pretty impressive too.


As are some of the more modern ‘black house’ nearby, no doubt built with stones from the broch, recycling on an epic scale so to speak Smile

After that we drove a few miles north west to Gearrannan black house village


Which, beyond all expectations proved to be absolutely riveting, I kid you not. I had been before and guess it must have been closed so I spent most of my time inspecting the 3 Proven/Kingspan wind turbines nearby. However today it was fully open and we must have spent a couple of hours there.

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The highlight being watching a chap weave some Harris Tweed on a century old loom. Me, I was pure fascinated by this for you had what must have been (in its time) the height of technology inserted in what was basically a mud hut in the middle of nowhere. Can you even imagine getting one of these things from Keighley in Yorkshire to Lewis 100 years ago. The thing must have cost several years wages.

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To all intents and purposes this thing was a cast iron computer and required an operator with extreme dexterity and skill, it was boodly amazing Smile

And, as if that wasn’t enough antiquarian technology our next ‘port of call’ was a Norse mill and kiln at Shawbost.

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Now this truly was a marvel and allegedly pre dates the Vikings, not at this particular site but in China where these have been in use for millennia.

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Water was directed down that channel to turn the paddles below then exited from that square hole. the image on the right is the pit from the building in the foreground where the fire was lit to dry the grain.

Next stop was the Trussel stone at Barvas and it’s guard dog.

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Apparently the tallest standing stone in Scotland and the dog had an extra claw on its hind legs too Smile 

After that it was off to Port of Ness

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and then the Butt of Lewis,

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which quite bizarrely is the best spot I’ve ever found for edible field mushrooms. Not sure if they’re St Georges shrooms, field shrooms or horse shrooms but I’ll be having them for breakfast tomorrow Smile

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