Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A week in the Outer Hebrides

This post is a  'scrapbook' of my week on the Isle of Lewis. Its as much for me as for readers so I hope you might enjoy a glimpse.
I thought I'd start with the above collage which I think is really worth clicking on for the amazing detail in the plants and barnacles that the clear,clean air made so easy to photograph.




Oyster catchers on Tolsta beach ..ours were the only other footprints.


The Islands have been inhabited for many thousands of years and the structures left are testament to that habitation.
These magical stones are on the west coast at Callanish. The site is full of standing stones in a cross shape-lots of them. Amazingly there were a lot of people here too but at times they were hidden by the stones,and when the person who left her luminous green co-op carrier bag in the middle removed it, I could take a photograph that looked as  it may have looked thousands of years ago.
Also on the west coast not far from the standing stones is the Blackhouse Village. Much more recent but a lovely place to give an idea of what life was like before the modern age. 



One of the houses is a museum and I was delighted to find their 'pot rack' contained some of the same plates as mine!(Top row) Such a cosy atmosphere was in that cottage. The floor sloped considerably up to the bed at the other end of the room. I felt like jumping in . 

Inevitably there was a room with a loom.

You may be interested to know that a couple of these Blackhouses are self catering holiday cottages, and one is a Youth Hostel. It would be a beautiful place to spend a few days and this was the only day I considered swimming in the sea. (Fortunately for the general public and the fish, I didn't have my cozzie with me)
Once you got across the lovely smooth round rocks the sea was clean and clear and not very cold..I had to make do with a paddle.
Along the way there were other signs of habitation and my husband is a big fan of the decrepit corrugated iron shed..the rustier the better. This one with its almost Farrow and Ball collection of greys, caused him to screech to a halt and get a picture.
On another beach on the Island of Great Bernera joined by a bridge to the main Island is made of beautiful sparkling white sand. Excavations some time ago revealed Iron Age houses. One is reconstructed but as it was Sunday it was closed . The beach is stunningly beautiful . The atmosphere is peaceful and it made me ponder the lives of the people who had their community in such a remote spot. 


I was looking at it from the wrong direction..they didn't 'travel outwards' to the far edges of the British Isles, but probably 'sailed in' to a safe natural harbour. I had a happy hour trying to imagine them. What they looked like, the clothes they wore, their relationships, community, work and lives together in that beautiful quiet place. The winter would have been a different story..the house is partly sunken and faces away from the sea. I think thats a clue. There is more about it here if you want to find out.
The only people on that beach besides us was a big group of Liverpudlians having a whale of a time. The children happily shrieking and shivering in the sea, while the adults chatted and laughed. I wondered if the Iron Age children would have been much the same work allowing.
Below is the beach viewed from just above the Iron Age site.


I took the picture below because it was the only time we got a bit of blue sky.




Safe harbours abound on these Islands. This is a tiny village on the far southern tip of Harris called Rodel. There is a big hotel there but still it was absolutely quiet. 
Just 'around the corner' from this harbour is the western side of Harris. 
The character of the west is completely different to the rocky east. Grassy moorland..Machair I think, slopes down to more amazing white sandy beaches.This is the area around Uig. 
This beach was vast.
The sea was out and we walked to the water's edge across ridge patterned sand.

There was no one else there..it was raining...Sunday....
The beauty is in the details.

The patterns in the rock, the sand and its flora, and a holiday gives you the time to look closely.



These flowers were tiny, just a few millimetres across, and so beautiful

At absolute opposite end of the whole of Harris and Lewis is the port of Ness. 
The harbour there is fascinating.



The tide was right out and the amazing colours of the complicated harbour wall were visible against the white clean sand.
The water was clean and clear on the deeper side, 
 

and there is a huge empty beach there too.



Of course, it was sunday, it was raining...what can I say?
I'm going on a bit aren't I? 
Here's another little beach we happened upon, Shawbost I think. I was looking for another Tweed Mill......it was raining... the tideline was perfectly semi circular, and so quiet.

Finally, the last day of the holiday. Do you notice anything about this view from the back of the house taken on the evening before we left?
Something thats been missing?


The view from the kitchen on the morning we packed up?
Something 'different' as the boat left Stornaway? 


Any other business section: Mary please send me a contact e mail. I can't get in touch with you.
And: Yippee! Blogger has a spam filter at last so I'm abolishing word verification.

47 comments:

ju-north said...

Marvelous! There's nowhere like it. Shame it rained so much. We're off to the NW corner of Scotland soon.

Fiona said...

What a fantastic post. It gives a real flavour of the place. It's just sooo far to go.

Gina said...

Whatever the weather, it all looks absolutely stunning.

Magic Cochin said...

Oh gorgeous! I feel quite emotional as I recalled or visit to those places and beautiful beaches!

Pleased you enjoyed it despite the weather - and those details and colours are so inspiring...

Celia

Rachel on madeleines sofa said...

What absolutely fabulous photos - I can imagine lots of textile lovely things being created from the inspiration you saw on your hols - gorgeous place, whatever the weather!! x Rachel x

Twiglet said...

Beautiful photos - what a fab place to chill out!

Mac n' Janet said...

Beautiful pix, the Hebrides are gorgeous, envy you the trip, rain and all.

Sharne's Bit 'n' Bobs said...

Stunning photos, I especially like the patterns and colours in the rocks-inspiring!

Heather said...

What a beautiful post Jackie - your photos are stunning. The rocks and standing stones are amazing. Even if the weather was less than kind the peaceful nature of the area makes one want to go there and experience it first hand. Thankyou for sharing it all with us.

Sweetpea said...

Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing all these wonderful photos...I am IN LOVE with those stones and all that beautiful barrenness...

Menopausal musing said...

Just HOW wonderful are those photos!? I love the photo on the right hand side of the middle row of the collage..... wonderful "things". Also, I DOOOOOOO love a rusty shed........ and the skies............ breathtaking ...........

Julie said...

What a beautiful place and your photos are lovely. I have seen similar rocks to those stripey ones in Ireland on the West coast.

artymess said...

Looks amazing ......x

JP said...

fantastic photos Jackie- I went to FOQ at the weekend and Julie told me to look out for her wearing a Jackie brooch - and i did and I saw her !!!!!!!!!!

Dot said...

What a lovely, lovely post Jackie. I have enjoyed looking at all the photo's closely. Beautiful textures and scenes. I am a ocean lover and I could imagine myself strolling on the beach and taking in the atmosphere. Sounds like a gorgeous and peaceful holiday.
Dot xx
P.S I am very happy about the spam filter too. Was getting tired of moderating comments from dodgy sites.

Jill said...

Your photographs are stunning, what a beautiful place, I hope you are home refreshed and full of inspiration.

Kayla coo said...

Amazing photo's, I would love to visit.x

The Coffee Lady said...

It's funny you should mention the idea of sailing in to a safe harbour, we've just been talking about that at home tonight. How walking had its own dangers in the past, which a journey by the coast sometimes did not.

fibrefrolics said...

A holiday brimming with gorgeous colours textures and inspiration I should think. Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing.
Penny

Susan said...

The leaves photograph is fantastic. I love leaves, and a huge favourite has to be ferns uncurling.

Jan said...

Some stunning photos. I love the layers in the rocks and the old places. Just lovely. thanks for sharing. I am at the beach now myself on a little holiday. I was expecting cool, even rainy weather but here it is 80 degrees and I didn't even bring shorts!
Thanks for sharing your holiday.

Thimble Fingers said...

I've thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the Outer Hebrides through your blog, as I know its unlikely I'll ever get there myself, so thank you for sharing. It looks so serene and peaceful. The colours are marvellous.

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

Just wonderful! I had the same experience trying to photograph the stones at Callanish....waiting till people walked behind a stone then quickly snapping to make it look like we were there alone. Love all your close ups. Such a shame the sun didn't shine a little more. Those beaches on Harris look incredible. I do fancy wild camping there but maybe when I don't have young children to try and keep entertained on the wetter days..........

Jude said...

Never been so thank you..gorgeous photos!!
Take care

lilylovekin said...

This was a MOST LOVELY post. The photos are amazing. I'll never get to visit this place so I appreciate the tour through your eyes. Thank you so much. Lorrie

verobirdie said...

Even without the sun, I love those landscapes

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Just beautiful - love those big, empty beaches. Lesley

Vivika said...

I want to live here...

vintagerockchick said...

Thanks for all the lovely photos - it's added to my list of places to visit.

Mary said...

Amazing photos - I want to visit every one of those places. We just came home today after three days of rain at the beach we had had enough and left a day early. Tomorrow and the next 7 days are going to be sunny and warm at the beach. rrrr.

Clare Wassermann said...

what an amazing selection of pictures - very inpiring to go there . Can you tell me what prgram you made your top collage in? Thanks and sorry it's such a boring question!

Anonymous said...

Cool site, I had not come across dogdaisychains.blogspot.com previously in my searches!
Continue the great work!

Jacqui said...

Beautiful photos. Love the empty beaches and your photo of the rocks is my absolute favourite. We've just spent 2 weeks touring Scotland and next year plan to go to Lewis and Harris. Can anyone have a tour of how Harris Tweed is made? i don't have a collection of it but I feel one coming on! Would love to ask you more questions if you have time.

gill said...

Fabulous photos!
We'd love to visit one day - the beautiful tiny flower is eyebright (we see a lot of it on our trips to Ireland - so pretty!)
Gill

Judah Noah said...

Lovely, lovely, LOVELY series of photos! I want a little stone cottage now.

Penny said...

Wonderful, thank you so much for taking the time to do this, a place i will never go to but made magical by you.

Caroline said...

Really super photos - never been there, so I enjoyed my armchair travelling with you - thanks!

Robin Mac said...

Oh Jackie, what memories you have brought back for me. I had to fish out the album of our trip there in 1990. We stayed at Scarista House on the western side of Isle of Harris, some of your photos are almost identical to mine! Of course our trip was before the age of digital photos so I was amazed when we came back to OZ and had the films developed to find a photo of the stones of Callanish with nobody in the shot - there were about 30 people there!! We had mostly wet weather also, but felt that was what to expect in the Hebrides. Unfortunately the blackhouses were closed for repair so we couldn't see inside them. Cheers, Robin

A Time to Dance said...

I am not allowing Pete to read this post Jackie, once he sees an iron age dwelling he will be booking a ferry....and an island without wool shops is not the island for me!! It looks very beautiful though I love the pictures of the beaches and the oyster catchers, how many times have I tried to get a picture of them? my favourite birds...

Sandra said...

It looks marvelous even in bad weather.

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

Yay for the absence of word verification! Truth is, I often had to decode 2 or 3 times (!)
Your photos are so enchanting! I would LOVE to spend a week or more away from our endless summer sun - It's all in your perspective. I'm always struck by the wonderful access you have to totally different experiences and so very close to home. Living in the middle of the US, it's a really LONG trip to a different landscape! And of course, the whole country is so very young - nothing remotely like yours. Thank you for letting me experience vicariously.

hensteeth said...

Blogging at it's best, my friend!

Elizabeth said...

Such stunning photos of a beautiful palce!! The stone cottages have such exquisite simple beauty. I visited the Aran Islands when I was in my 20's (about 30 years ago). Someday I hope to get to the hebrides, but for now I can visit your fabulous blog and be so inspired by your glorious photos!!! One can't always count on Sunny vacations but we must carry on despite it all!! Big Hugs and thanks!!

Emma said...

Lovcely photos despite the rain! I've been on a boat trip around the Outer Isles but but haven't managed to visit yet, those beaches look wonderful. Thanks for the tweed tour, facinating & the lovely Gaelic song from the old days.

Gunnels blog said...

Beautiful photos! I especielly like the collage !!!
The sea and the area around is always wonderful I think !!

ArtPropelled said...

I really enjoyed this post Jackie. Your photos give a great idea of what it was like and I love the houses in the Blackhouse Village. As for the standing stones....they have quite an effect on me. Magic!

Fadas de Luz said...

Que lugares lindos. Fiquei encantada.
Beijos



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