Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland...(Part 3)

We took so many pictures on our trip to the Isle of Lewis I have divided the trip into sections...this is a continuation of the same trip.  We took the ferry from Uig to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris and then drove to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.  There are very few trees on the island except within the town of Stornoway.

Sunday afternoon after dinner we took a drive north on the island and found a lovely beach.  We are so far north that it doesn't get dark until after 9:30 p.m.

 The island is pretty barren but is very beautiful.  In another coupld of months the brown bushes in the below picture will be beautiful purple.  That is the Scottish heather and the flower is barely beginning to show.  July and August will be beautiful in the highlands.

This is the beach we found...soft sand, very isoloated, and very cold water.

To get to the beach we took this "single track road".  It is about the width of a driveway but as you can see the speed limit is 40 miles per hour.  One just moves along and hope no one is coming the other direction.  We drove the road for about 1-2 miles to reach the beach.   About every 300 yards there was a "lay-by" or a "Place to Pass"

On the way back to the flat we saw this view...these yellow bushes are common throughout Scotland.  They are very pretty against the green rolling hills.

On Monday we took a tour of the Island and came across these Highland cows...or as the Scots would say "Heilan coos".

We stopped at an old mill.  Yes, inside these buildings were an old mill to grind the wheat.  The mill was powered by a water stream that would flow through the mill.

Another beach...the Atlantic Ocean.

 We stopped at a "Black House" village.  These buildings are what people lived in and where the weavers would work to make the Harris Tweed.  All the Harris Tweed is spun and woven on looms like this one...powered with foot peddles.  Even today, all the Tweed is made the same way.  If you look at the label of an Harris Tweed garment, the label indicates that the item is made in the Outer Hebrides.  It is a facinating process...all by hand.  The fabric is woven by hand and shipped all over the world.  There is a board that controlls all the Harris Tweed that is made.  One must pass certain tests to be certified to become a "official weaver".

The Black Houses are heated with burning peat...and cooking with peat.  That is probably why they were called the "Black Houses".  Burning peat is very smelly...much like the smell of burning coal, but worse.  I was surprised how much peat is still used here.  Above is a pile of peat blocks that have been dried and ready for use.  They stack them in these piles...about 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 15-20 feet a way that the outer ones keep the inner ones dry.  As we drove around the island you could see the peat fields where they had been digging for the peat.  it is a very interesting process.

 This is a view of the Black Houses.  This village has been restored and there are two buildings that have been modernized on the inside and turned into a "hotel"...if one wanted to rough it.

These are the "standing stones".  Very similar to that of Stonehenge down in England...and just like the English version, no one really knows what they were for.

You can see there was a definate pattern to the arrangement of the stones.  There are 3-4 sites in this area with similar "standing stones" but Callanish is the largest grouping.

One more beach we stopped to see.  This one was the most beautiful.  It was very inviting and I didn't expect to see this type of beach on Lewis.  It was what one would expect to see in Florida...just colder water.

Tuesday morning we took the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool and headed for home.  We went through Inverness and down through the centre of Scotland.  A beautiful drive.  This was a wonderful trip and all possible becasue we came to Stornoway to teach a Career Workshop...which was successful.  

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