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Monday, 23 June 2014

Travel: The Isles of Lewis and Harris

There are a few places I've been and sights I've seen, that have truly made my soul sing. I live for these moments and find that travel really helps me to live in the present.

A recent trip to the Isles of Lewis and Harris, two of Scotland's Western Isles, left me with so many wonderful memories and I wanted to share my thoughts on this wonderful part of the world.

First of all, getting there made it feel like I was going somewhere truly remote, and perhaps I was. A long drive to Ullapool and then nearly 3 hours on a car ferry, complete with the requisite sea-sickness, got us to Strornoway where we were based.

The landscape was so different to the rest of Scotland and so so beautiful. The Isles of Lewis in the north seemed very barren and flat. Here we visited the wonderful Callanish Standing stones, and on a very windy day, it certainly made one wonder how the crofters of yesteryear had survived during the harsh winters.

The beaches on the western coast of Lewis were very craggy but those on the east, especially north of Stornoway were of the picture postcard variety, all golden sands and turquoise water, albeit icy turquoise water. My favourite was Tolsta Beach.

The trip to the Isle of Harris, which is joined to Lewis, revealed a wholly different landscape. Whereas Lewis was all moors and plains, Harris was all mountains and crags, and of course, those amazing white sandy beaches on it's western coast. The beaches, all of them, just took my breath away. We stopped near Horgabost and chatted to a local about how tourism had changed the island. Even on a sunny day, though, we were one of only a handful of groups on any beach. Bliss!

The views of sea against mountains were so beautiful. Perhaps we had struck gold by catching Harris in glorious sunshine,  but before we left the beach I had promised myself that I would return, and soon.


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