Harbour at Ness, Isle of Lewis
They have stood for 4000 years on the headland overlooking Loch Roag, 53 pale grey stones of Lewisian Gneiss. Older than Stonehenge they rank second in importance. There are several stone circles, and many standing stones on Lewis, a further guide and map can be found at the Callanish Visitors Centre, there is even a ‘flat’ circle. This is a great stop for both adults and children, full of mystery as nobody really knows the full meaning of the circle although theories abound. One person you mustn’t miss when visiting the Callanish Stones is:
Cailleach na Mointeach
Local people call her “Sleeping Beauty” in English or “Cailleach na Mointeach” in Gaelic – which translates as “The Old Woman of the Moors” a recumbent landscape Goddess. Sadly many visitors to Callanish miss her completely as they focus on the stones, neglecting to look at the contour of the skyline behind them.
Dun Carloway, or Dun Charlabhaigh (The Broch)
The Broch is a Scottish Hill Fort, or some describe it as a fortified farmhouse, whatever, it is a remarkably well preserved – on the east side parts of the old wall still reaches to 9 metres tall. In place,s there are also more modern repairs to the east wall. Dun Carloway was probably built some time in the 1st century BC, and radiocarbon dating evidence from remains found in the broch show that it was last occupied around 1300 AD. It is a place to explore as you climb up the hill to access the Broch its advantage point stands out as you can see for miles. On approach there is a very low entrance, kids love it, adults watch your head! But once inside the steps, tunnels and architecture are fascinating.
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
The last inhabitants of Gearrannan Village moved out in 1974 and it was left almost like a ‘Ghost Town’ for almost a decade. Now painstakingly restored it plays host to visitors from all over the world, giving each a glimpse into the history and past lifestyle of the Islanders. The village can trace its history back 300 years and thanks to the dedicated people of Garenin Trust, who saved it from total ruin, you can now step back in time and compare Beach Bay Cottage with the original Blackhouses ‘in situ’.
The Bridge Over the Atlantic
Great Bernera, or simply Bernera, famous for its bridge across the Atlantic is well worth visiting. The turnoff tor Bernera is midway between Garynahine and Uig, it’s a good place to spend an afternoon, or a day if you’re not in a hurry!
Ui Church Burial place of the Lewis MacLeod Clan Chiefs. Ui Church is a stunning ruin set in its own ancient cemetery and located a short drive from Stornoway, close to the airport.
Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln
It’s a bit of a walk (3/4 mile) from the car park to reach this ancient Mill, but the path is good and eventually, you reach two traditionally constructed and thatched stone buildings that are set into a small river valley. Both the mill and the kiln here were in operation until the late 1930’s. The mill was powered by the Allt nam Breac (which literally means “trout stream”), which is a small river that flows out of Loch Roinavat.
Whalebone Arch Bragar
The Whalebone Arch, erected by the former village postmaster Murdo Morrison, was formed from the jaw bones of a giant whale which beached itself and died in Bragar Bay after been harpooned by hunters. The whalebone was said to be the largest on record. It is over 20 feet high and 40 feet across.
Arnol Black House Museum:
The Blackhouse Museum at Arnol will be of particular interest to visitors at Beach Bay Cottage, taking the outside design and overall look and eco features into consideration, inside will be a case of ‘Spot the Difference’!
Once you leave Arnol the road will continue to Barvas, turn left for Ness, or right to get to Stornoway to continue the circular you could come back across the Pentland Road, alternatively the main road as depicted in our ‘Directions’ page.