Places to Visit


The Outer Hebrides – also known as the Western Isles – stretch for 130 miles and look out on their western side to the Atlantic Ocean.

There is a striking mix of landscapes, from windswept golden sands to harsh, heather-backed mountains and peat bogs. Here on the edge of Europe an elemental beauty pervades…

 

The Machair

Running down the Atlantic side of the islands is one of the jewels of the Hebrides… the Machair (Mahair). Lying between the unfertile moorland and the sea, it’s like a Scottish Garden of Eden. Over centuries, the winds have blown shell-sand up onto the islands, balancing out the acid of the peat. But the machair wouldn’t be this rich if it wasn’t for people. Generations of crofters have carried seaweed onto the land to make it more fertile, and they leave the small fields fallow in some years – allowing wildflowers, insects and birds to move in. In high summer, the machair hums with...

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village is a coastal crofting village on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, north of Carloway. The area has been settled since ancient times, but the village at Garenin dates to the 17th century. Garenin inhabitants lived in a type of thatched cottage known as a 'blackhouse', built of stone and turf, with walls of double thickness. The traditional cottages at Garenin are a vestige of an earlier age, a reminder of Hebridean heritage that is almost lost. Nine cottages have been preserved, and turned into a combination of heritage museum and traditional accommodation, using traditional building methods and...

Dùn Chàrlabhaigh

Dun Carloway Broch (Dùn Chàrlabhaigh) is entered by a single low heavily-defended doorway with a guard chamber to one side. There are two further chambers at ground level within the massive thickness of the walls, and a stone-built staircase which rises between the inner and outer walls, giving access to the upper levels. Limited excavation in one of the intramural chambers uncovered hearths, pottery and a quern stone from re-occupation of the cell in the later Iron Age. Although the broch appears to have been long roofless and uninhabited, a well-known local story demonstrates that it remained an important landmark and place of...

Calanais Standing Stones

The Calanais Standing Stones consist of a stone circle of thirteen stones with a monolith near the middle.  Five rows of standing stones connect to this circle.  Two long rows of stones running almost parallel to each other from the stone circle to the north-northeast form a kind of avenue. In addition, there are shorter rows of stones to the west-southwest, south and east-northeast.  The stones are all of the same rock type, namely the local Lewisian gneiss.  Within the stone circle is a chambered tomb to the east of the central stone. More information: Calanais Visitors Centre The Calanais Stones are...