The Isle of Lewis...
Written: 17th Jan 2013 | Last Updated: 17th Jan 2013
We drive south for a day, to the Isle of Harris - the same island as Lewis, but historically separated by name, perhaps due to some musty clan difference of opinion (Lewis and Harris are the ancestral home of Highland Clan MacLeod). The most striking feature about Harris is its unbelievable ruggedness; I can only describe it thus: if God was a bit angry with Lewis, and therefore cast many rocks down upon it, he must have been very, VERY angry with Harris, because it is strewn with rocks unlike anything I have ever seen before. Even with luxuriant blooming of the heather, it looks desolate, and its isolated little towns somewhat forlorn. But there are great things to see and do - we visit beautiful St. Clement’s Church at Rodel, enjoy lunch by the ferry wharf at Leverburgh, wander through a remarkable photographic and ceramic gallery at Finsbay (Mission House Studio), and purchase lovely items of Harris Tweed while in Tarbert, their sturdy weave and of-the-land colours so warming to our souls. And the stunning white sand beaches of Harris (and also of Lewis) really do rival those anywhere.
On our last day, en route back to the ferry at Stornaway, we visit the Callanish Standing Stones, a group of individual and circling stones of considerable archaeological significance, thought to have been constructed between 2900 B.C. and 2600 B.C. The skies decide to open up on us in this sacred Celtic spot, creating an even moodier scene, and the cold, old vibrations of worship, sacrifice and death ask more questions than the silent stones can answer. We leave, moved.
After a week of exploring this amazing part of Scotland, of being immersed in the powerful idea of the Outer Hebrides, we feel excitedly, yet somewhat presumptuously, like locals - confidently striding the landscape, knowing wind, tide, bird and beast, eating what nature (and community centre) provide, watching sunrises and sunsets with tender, proprietorial eyes. Och aye, if we stayed any longer, we’d be dancing at the cèilidh!