Armin's World Tour of Scotland

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Facts of the Day:
Date: 22/July/2002
From: Steornabhagh (Stornoway)
Via: Arnol, Calanais (Callanish)
To: Steornabhagh (Stornoway)
Miles: 90
Midges: 10 (Estimate)
Weather: Cloudy, hazy sunshine later
Mood: Good

Picture of the lighthouse at the Butt of LewisHaving arrived from Harris the previous day it was time to discover the Isle of Lewis. For this I drove the "circular" route of the A857 and A858 with a detour to Port Nis (Port of Ness). Here I visited the northern tip of Lewis, called Rubha Robhanais (Butt of Lewis). Apart from the lighthouse and lots of seabirds there wasn't much to see, so I drove on quite soon.Picture of the Black House in Arnol My next stop was at Arnol, where I visited the very interesting Black House Museum. Blackhouses were the houses people in Lewis lived until fairly recently. Their name was given to them to distinguish them from the new buildings with single-thickness wallsPicture of the inside of a blackhouse cemented with lime mortar (which were called White Houses). This house dates back to 1870 and was lived in until 1964. People and animals lived closely together in these, with the peat fire kept going constanstly (That's smoke on the picture on the right...). A white house can also be visited across the road.Picture of the black houses at Gearrannan More black houses can be visited at Gearrannan (Garenin), some of which have been converted to holiday cottages.Picture of the broch I didn't find this as interesting and drove on to Dùn Chàrlabhaigh (Dun Carloway) Broch. Brochs are only found in northern and western Scotland and date back to around 100 BC to 100 AD. This one is one of the best preserved ones, with a visitor centre nearby (unfortunately closed by the time I arrived). Brochs had a dual purpose, being a dwelling-place as well as serving as defences against hostile neighbours and distant raiders.

My last stop of the day was at Calanais (Callanish), where I visited the Calanais Standing Stones. They are estimated to date back to around 3000 to 1500 BC, although no-one is entirely sure about their origin and function. There is a visitor centre nearby, although I didn't visit it and only looked around the stones for a while. A few impressions:Picture of Calanais Standing StonesPicture of Callanish Standing Stones

Finally it was time to return to Stornoway for my last night on the Isle of Lewis. The Hebridean Guest House was definitely good value for money and provided a very helpful laundry service (very helpful on a 8 week tour...). Dinner was at the Royal Hotel, where meals from their Boatshed restaurant are also served in the bar (the restaurant was already fully booked).

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