Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Western Isles: Lewis

I took the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway, from where I headed to Garenin on the west coast of Lewis. The hostel is one of the Gatliff Hebridian Hostel Trust, which are volunteer-run, very basic but very cheap hostels in the tradition of hostelling. I camped at the hostel, which costs less than having a bed in it. My campsite was just outside the restored blackhouse village that encompasses the hostel.
My first afternoon there (after coming from Stornoway on what became the primary school bus - there's nothing like hearing 10-year-olds talking about when they were young to make one feel old), I just wandered around after setting up my tent, and napped in the sun by the shore in my tent.

Around the village of Carloway. There's ruined houses mixed in amongst the new houses.

The next day (Tuesday), I walked down the road to Carloway to visit the broch just past it. It's about 2000 years old, one of the last ones built, at a time when competition for good growing land was increasing due to climate change making things wetter and the trees disappear. It's a dry stone building - no mortar - and it's still solid as anything.
Then I went farther down the road to Callanish where I had lunch before visiting the standing stones. As you can see, they're irregular shapes but still pretty tall. Like all other standing stones there seems to be debate about their purpose with calendar and religious purposes topping the list.

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