Our Village

Tolsta Chaolais (pronounced ‘Tall-stah-HOOL-ish’) is a crofting village on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. It consists of about fifty houses, clustered around Loch à Bhaile, about a mile from the A858 road, between Callanish and Carloway.

The name has a Norse element, Tolsta, combined with a Gaelic element, Caolas, and means “Farm by the Strait“.

Recognised as one of the prettiest villages on the island, Tolsta Chaolais is nestled between a sea loch, Loch Roag, and a freshwater loch, Loch A Bhaile.

This traditional crofting village, where croft animals and livestock roam freely, provides an ideal base for immersing in island life and touring Lewis and Harris.

The village is off the main road about two miles to the south of Doune Carloway and is one of the most picturesque in the Western Isles.

There are 29 crofts in the village (we are croft 16) but most of them are sub-divided. There are 53 houses of which 13 are unoccupied. The population is around 85.

An interesting feature of the village is its War Memorial. It was erected in memory of the eighteen men and women who were killed in action or died as a result of the Great War. The six names of those who died in the Second World War have since been added. The memorial, unveiled in August 1921, is one of two outwith Stornoway that were erected shortly after the Great War. There are many war memorials throughout the islands now, but Tolsta Chaolais is the only village memorial as distinct from district memorial.

The village also has a very old building which is now used mainly as a venue for funeral services, but which was originally a Gaelic School. The school was open until 1882, at which time the children began to attend Doune Carloway School. In 1907, the building was given to Tolsta Chaolais as a place of worship for all denominations.

Tolsta Chaolais also has its own cemetery, although most of the burials are now to the district cemetery at Dalmore. The cemetery was opened in Jan 1908 with the first two burials being on the same day – Angus Morrison 1b Tolsta Chaolais (Aonghas Thormoid Aonghais) and John Macleod 19 Tolsta Chaolais (Iain Iain Nèill). Both men had been drowned in Loch Hamnaway when the coble of their fishing boat the “Boys Delight” capsized. The body of the third crew member, Kenneth MacAulay 7a Tolsta Chaolais (Coinneach Iain Bhig) was never recovered.

Like most other crofting villages, Tolsta Chaolais has seen a decline in its traditional way of life and employment, but the setting of the village makes it attractive to house buyers, and it has been able to sustain its population (and crofting activity) more successfully than many of the other townships in the area.

Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle
Hen Gate
Hen Gate
Sheep in road
Sheep in road (Beware!)

What Our Guests Say

  • 5 star rating“Excellent in every way” An excellent holiday rental in one of the best locations on the Isle of Lewis. Wonderfully rural, peaceful and and scenic without being too remote to visit all the sights.... read more

    Jasmine10... Avatar
  • This is truly the best place to be if you want the real experience of the Outer Hebrides My friend and I went without a car for three days,... read more

    Morgan Avatar
  • Steve and Kim are generous hosts and made us feel very welcome. The Old Post Office is very cosy, especially when you've been out it the wind, sleet and snow... read more

    Colin Avatar
  • The old Post Office is a great place to stay.

    It had a lot of nice touches, lovely crockery and cookware, very good log-burner. Great selection of books on the Outer... read more

    Tom Avatar
  • Das Old Post Office hat alle unsere Erwartungen weit übertroffen. Angefangen bei der top ausgestatteten Küche, aber das gemütliche Wohnzimmer mit Kamin bis zum stylischen Schlafzimmer mit Badewanne. Wir haben... read more

    Klaus Avatar
  • The Old Post Office is a real gem - beautifully situated and with an interior that is extremely comfortable and stylish. Even when the Scottish weather is doing what it... read more

    Natalie Avatar
  • A wonderful, comfortable, home from home. Everything you need, and more. Very nicely decorated, and a fantastic log burner. Excellent location for visiting the historic sights and beaches, would highly recommend

    Andrew Avatar
  • The Old Post Office feels like home as soon as you step in. An excellent base for exploring, remote enough that you can see shooting stars! And a lovely log... read more

    Matthew Avatar
  • The most gorgeous cottage I have ever come across. So cosy, clean and comfortable. Kim and Steve have created a lovely retreat that I am already planning to return to!... read more

    Marilyn Avatar
  • Steve and Kim were kind, considerate, welcoming hosts and the property was absolutely fantastic. Stylish, cosy, immaculately clean and extraordinarily comfortable. After three nights at the Old Post Office, I... read more

    Paul Avatar
  • The owners have done a wonderful job creating a perfect holiday space. You felt at home from the moment you stepped through the front door.

    We would go back... read more

    Ewan Avatar
  • We spent a week at the Old Post Office and were delighted with our stay. We were made to feel very welcome by Kim and Steve and the property was... read more

    Laura Avatar
  • The Post Office is in the middle of nearly nowhere, and that's perfect. The space is thoughtfully designed with everything you need, and more. I really enjoyed the fire at... read more

    Jemma Avatar
  • Fantastic, well appointed house in a beautiful location. Ideal for a couple. Good access to lots of tourist attractions and areas of natural beauty, particularly the beaches. Nice, friendly hosts.... read more

    Ian Avatar
  • The Old Postoffice is everything you want in a accommodation, and more.

    It has a great bed, a great kitchen, washing machine with dryer option, dishwasher, a great bathroom with delicious... read more

    Peter Avatar
  • Absolutely stunning place to stay. It feels like a 5-star hotel with kitchen, surrounded sound TV and Netflix - plus a wee wine cellar fridge! Highly recommended to anyone visiting... read more

    Steven Avatar
  • Spectacular stay in the most beautiful cottage and island. We could have not asked for anything more and Kim and Steve were fantastic when our ferry home got cancelled for... read more

    Bethany Avatar
  • You could not find a better place to live in Harris! This is from far the best B&B we have already been to.

    Everything is perfect, very clean and fully equipped.... read more

    Aude Avatar
  • The owners Steve and Kim could not have been more helpful to our delightful stay in the Old Post Office. The cottage is very tastefuly decorated and supplied with every... read more

    David Avatar
  • Steve and Kim had made a real effort to make us feel welcome with lovely wee touches around the cottage. The cottage itself was stunning, cosy, clean and tidy... read more

    Kathryn Avatar
  • Great stay! Lovely place - a real home from home with lots of thoughtful touches.

    Francesca Avatar
  • The Old Post office is a home away from home! It’s the best B and B we have stayed in (and we have travelled to lots of countries). The attention... read more

    Helen Avatar
  • Absolutely outstanding. This place exceeded our expectations and if we return to the Outer Hebrides there’ll be no other place to stay. The neighbourhood is in the perfect location... read more

    Tanya Avatar
  • Th hospitality and friendliness of the hosts, the stunning beauty of the village and the hills which surround it have made my visit to the Old Post Office the absolute... read more

    Angela Avatar
  • Wir haben das Haus genau so angetroffen wie im Internet beschrieben. Es ist einfach umwerfend eingerichtet. Die Badewanne im Schlafzimmer und der Kamin sind sehr schön bei schlechtem Wetter. Kim... read more

    Irene Avatar
  • Steve and Kim are very friendly and generous hosts, it was lovely to meet them at check in and they gave us lots of tips for exploring the island. The... read more

    Chris Avatar
  • A wonderful location and a fantastic place to stay with all the comforts you need if the weather is good or bad. Great homely touches and the hosts were very... read more

    Mike Avatar
  • This place is fabulous! The welcoming touches are just lovely and we were very grateful for the hospitality shown us. Don't think of booking here, just do it!

    Sharon J H Avatar
    Sharon J H
  • We had a great few days in Steve and Kim's cottage. Everything was great from the welcome gifts to the personal visit to make sure we were getting settled in... read more

    Alan Avatar
  • Stayed at the old post office for 3 nights. This place is every bit as nice as the profile suggests. The old post house was beautifully decorated and adorned with... read more

    Chris Avatar
  • 5 star rating“Stunning, Stylish and 5-Star :D” What a beautiful property in the middle of a stunning little village Tolsta Chaolais. From the moment we arrived we were greeted by puppies from next door (adorable) and it... read more

    324natali... Avatar
  • Steve and Kim really went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable. There were lots of lovely thoughtful touches when we arrived and when some bad weather rolled in... read more

    Francesca Avatar
  • Wunderschönes Ferienhaus, welches einem wie ein zuhause vorkommt, liebevolle Details und einfach perfekt, Steve und Kim sind äußerst zuvorkommend und wir hatten leider nur 3 sehr schöne Tage dort... einem... read more

    Uwe Avatar
  • 5 star rating“Fantastic getaway” We had a fantastic stay at the old post office in October, just a shame about the weather! The cottage is very well equipped and has everything you could ever... read more

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    Morag G
  • This place is incredible. So homely and lots of thoughtful touches! The place truly like home, and was perfect to come back to after a day exploring the island. Responses... read more

    Hannah Avatar
  • The Old Post Office, run by Kim and Steve is a beautiful place to spend a few days; the house is very high spec in the ideal location of Tolsta... read more

    Bill Avatar
  • 5 star rating“Excellent accomodation in a lovely location.” A relaxing and quiet spot, the ideal "get away from it all" location, but still an accessible base to explore all the main areas of the islands. Steve and Kim... read more

    steve m Avatar
    steve m
  • 5 star rating“Fabulous !” The Old Post Office is a credit to Kim and Steve, a stunning cottage in a beautiful location. Besides the high quality decor, furniture and fittings, it really does feel... read more

    susiestod... Avatar
  • 5 star rating“Amazing!!!” What can I say that hasn’t already been said. This is the perfect holiday rental. The village is lovely and all of the locals are very friendly, speaking to you... read more

    clb1953 Avatar
  • No suggestions required, this place nails it on every level! Take your own food and drink and the rest is sorted and then some! Perfect location, perfect place, with many... read more

    Victoria Avatar
  • Outstanding accommodation with wonderful hosts. The Old Post Office is in a truly spectacular village and the accommodation has everything you could possibly need and more - toiletries, all kitchen... read more

    Blue Avatar
  • We would describe this as luxury accommodation, the photographs do not do this place justice. The house was warm and cosy, very clean and had everything you needed- we were... read more

    Georgie Avatar
  • Fantastic accommodation, all new amenities with everything you could need.

    Chris Avatar
  • 5 star rating“Perfect, perfect and then some! ” This place nails it on every level! Take your own food and drink and the rest is done for you and then some. It has some great bespoke, thoughtful touches... read more

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