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2024 started quite differently from any previous year: Julie had hip surgery to repair a torn cartilage, and consequentially we have done none of our usual cycling and walking whilst she recovers. One trip we did do was to the Isle of Lewis and Harris, and these are some photos to give a flavour of that ‘relaxing’ trip.


The Isle of Lewis and Harris: April 2024:


We took the ferry (Loch Seaforth) from Ullapool to Stornoway, a 2 ½ hours crossing of water rarely millpond. We were very lucky to have settled weather for both outward and return crossings.


Departing Ullapool and heading north-west along Loch Broom.


We pass the Summer Isles and then out into The Minch.


Finally we arrive at Stornoway.


As with most of the northern isles, there are rich prehistoric sites to explore.



The Callanish Neolithic stones monuments. The most famous, Callanish-1, monument: a circle with intersecting avenues built around 5000-years ago; predates Stonehenge.



However, unlike Stonehenge, the construction material, Lewisian gneiss, is in great abundance around the monuments.


Much younger, only 2000-years old, Carloway Broch is only a few miles north of Callanish. In 1882 it was one of the first monuments in Scotland to be officially protected.



Nearly up to the present, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village lived in until the middle of the 20th century, is now a museum. Several of the blackhouses are available to rent for holidays.


Lewis/Harris is also well known for its beautiful beaches.


Beautiful, yes. Warm, no!

This gorgeous beach at Brenish (N58.1062, W7.1094), was one of the most attractive we explored on our trip.


Sandy beaches are in great abundance; as here at Uig.



It was somewhere on, or near, this beach at Uig Bay that in 1831 the Lewis Chessmen were discovered. Carved between the 10th and 12th century from walrus ivory and whales teeth, the pieces are not all of the same origin, but were likely created in Scandinavia.


Near the beach there is a large statue of a king chess piece; carved from a single block of oak.


It was an interesting trip, but nowhere near as energetic as our ‘normal’ holidays. Julie’s recovery is taking longer than we had hoped, but I guess we were probably being unreasonably optimistic.