Photos Hebrides 2006 Lewis
Stornoway, principal town of Lewis, with over 8,000 inhabitants is the only large town on the Outer Isles. Its sheltered harbour is home to a sizeable fleet built around a long tradition of deep-sea fishing. There are fine beaches on both coasts between rocky headlands that are home to sea-birds. The indented coast-line leads to strong tidal races. The relatively flat land of the north of the island has been settled for thousands of years. Stone circles and numerous standing stones of which the Callinish complex is by far the most impressive probably have some religious significance. Crannogs were protected and inhabited islets in lochs accessible by a stone causeway. Remains of an iron age house were discovered after a storm on the beach at Bosta and a reconstruction built nearby. At Carloway you can see one of the best preserved iron-age brochs in Scotland, a defensive building with reinforced strong walls and a low entrance. Abandoned blackhouses show the thickness of the walls upon which the heather thatched roofs were built. At Arnol and Na Gearrannan you can visit reconstructed blackhouses. With no chimney and a central hearth living conditions were tough - hard to imagine that the last inhabited house in Arnol was only left at the beginning of the 1960s! Peat is still dug and used for heating. Cattle were taken to the expanses of peaty moorland during the summer months and the women who guarded them would stay in shielings. This allowed crops to be grown on the narrow strips of land ('runrigs') of each farmstead. The Bridge to Nowhere is a poignant reminder of Lord Leverhulme's failed project after WWI to open up the east coast of the island.

Photos Main Page Background - Vatersay, Barra + South Uist - Benbecula, North Uist + Berneray - Harris