Lews Castle in Stornoway . . . Tuesday Travels

Lews Castle, home for the Museum nan Eilean, is in Stornoway.

The museum is housed in the addition at the back of the castle.  We spent several hours here taking in all the information that was on display.  The highlight for me was the display of the Lewis Chessmen. Only six of the chessmen are in Lewis.  If you click on the images you can see them enlarged.

The story of the chessmen was part of the Lewis trilogy written by Peter May. I had not heard of the chessmen prior to reading the book.  The history of the chessmen is fascinating and you can read about it here.

If you fancy staying in the castle you can read all about it here.

Stornaway and the importance of Harris Tweed…Tuesday Travels

Our first trip into Stornaway was from Leurbost and we found this magical Aladdin’s cave that housed an incredible collection of Harris Tweed in all forms.

The place was back off the main street and the man who ran the shop was a real character.  We spent some time with him solving all the problems of the world today. 🙂

We did buy some tweed and then headed off to the building that houses the Harris Tweed Authority so we could get the full story of the importance of Harris Tweed to the Outer Hebrides.

The exhibition in the building gave the full story of Harris Tweed.  I didn’t know that there is an act of Parliament relating to Harris Tweed.This map shows the location of the weavers.

We were able to see several looms and were given a description of how they operated.This last loom is operated like a bicycle and the tartan is Macleod of Lewis. We took a photo of the butcher’s shop where apparently the best black pudding is made.Back to the Harris Tweed.  We were lucky enough to be able to visit a croft where tweed was being woven.  There are so many different uses of the fabric so I thought I would share a few photos of the items we spied.The last one is a great way to use up scraps.




Leurbost, Lewis. . . . Tuesday travels

This is the view from our dining table in the little cottage we rented for eight days on Lewis.The cottage was a delight although when we first arrived we we rather skeptical about what it would be like inside as the area around the house looked rather neglected.We were provided with an amount of electricity on arrival then we had been instructed to get money put on the electricity by removing a USB stick on the meter and taking it to the local garage/store.  This worked fine after we realised, like most computerised things that don’t work the first time, you need to take it out and put it back in again.  All was good.

The entry was into the kitchen which had all we needed for our stay.The sitting area had a terrific log fire which we made use of on the colder nights.

Our meal area had the most magnificent views and we could watch the boats on the loch and we were lucky enough to spy seals and otters in the loch.

The accommodation was excellent and we enjoyed our eight days there.  We had time to explore Lewis and Harris thoroughly.  More about that later.

North Uist. . .Tuesday Travels

When you visit the Outer Hebrides you must make reference to the Outer Hebrides website.  It gives you all the information you could possibly want.  We know we must return to the Hebrides in order to visit many of the attractions we didn’t have time to visit on this trip.

This tranquil setting is at Lochmaddy on North Uist.

Named for the dog-like islets that guard its entrance, Loch nam Mahadh – the Loch of the Hounds is the village capital and main settlement on North Uist.  The pretty village on the loch with Scandinavian type buildings is reminiscent of Shetland or Orkney. It is also the terminus for the ferry to Uig on Skye.

The nearby Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre runs a cafe, small shop and post office service and is also home to Uist Film.  It is a most unassuming little place that hides a wealth of information.  We spent a couple of hours in the museum and arts centre and found reading all the information really fascinating.

There were many boards like this one telling us of what life was like on North Uist and giving explanations of how life has changed there over the years.  It made for really interesting reading.

There was a display about the band Runrig. ( Runrig means a system of land tenure practised in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands and islands. It was used on open fields for arable farming.)

I discovered that Malcolm (Calum) Macdonald, one of the founding members of the band Runrig was born in Lochmaddy and his brother was born in Dornoch.

There was an extensive exhibition about the band and the brothers’ involvement.  The band’s limited edition gold record was also on display.  They played as a support band for many famous groups including The Rolling Stones.The band wound up in January 2016.

Runrig, the unlikeliest of rock icons gives the full story of this remarkable Scottish band.


I’ve been on the stravaig.

First stop Temora.

A while since I last posted and that is because we have been off on a road trip in Victoria and New South Wales. The first leg of our trip took us out to the western parts of N.S.W. after a trip across Mount Hotham.

The views across the mountains are stunning and once down the other side we stopped at Bright for lunch.  The Riverdeck Cafe had an excellent selection on their menu.

We have stayed in Bright on previous trips but this time we headed on to Temora.Our reason for visisting Temora was to visit the Aviation Museum. We ended up making it a two night stop as there was also an extremely interesting Rural Museum there.Click on the images to enlarge for reading.

I didn’t know of the importance of Temora rock. The science behind it you can find here.

In the centre of Temora you will find this statue depicting Paleface Adios.

“In 1969, on the property of harness-racing horse breeder, Colin Pike, a colt named Paleface Adios was born. The horse became the Phar Lap of harness racing over an eight year career that ended in 1980. Owned by Mrs. Shirley Pike, he was dubbed the “Temora Tornado”. A prolific winner, he was dearly loved by trotting addicts throughout Australia.”

Temora is a country town which is showing the signs of decline in parts.  It was interesting to see that the RSL Club was the main contributor to community projects.  The RSL now owns a motel which is managed by the club.

The buildings in the main street show some delightful architecture

We had breakfast in a cafe that still had the original interior fittings.

The streets in Temora are lovely wide streets built to accommodate horse drawn carts in the glory wheat days.  Unfortunately while we were there the countryside was in drought conditions.  Many of the wheat silos, alongside the railway line, are no longer used.

We visited Junee while we were staying in Temora and we stopped at the Licorice and Chocolate Factory housed in the old flour mill. Great to see an old building being repurposed.  While visiting the factory you can make your own Rocky Road or giant freckle.

More in my next post.

Tuesday Travels. . . .continuing South Uist and some of North Uist

South Uist had so much to offer in the way of scenery and things to see and do.  The following day we set out first to find the salmon smoking facility, Salar, that had been recommended by our hosts on Eriskay. Our journey took us to some of the more remote parts of the island and we were fortunate enough to come across some of the wild ponies.

The salmon smoking facility wasn’t manned when we visited but we got to see where the smoking of the salmon would take place.

We also visited Tobha Mor, the site of ancient chapels.Further along the road we found a vantage point where we were able to view the island of St Kilda.

We then made the trip to  Barpa Langass site of a 5000 year old burial chamber. if you click on the picture you should be able to enlarge it so you can read the information.From the road it looks just like a pile of stones but it is oh so much more.  The information panel explains it in detail.The entrance is round the back of the mound of stones.

The gateway heralds the walk up to the mound.All over the islands are the peat banks and at Barpa Langass there was an excellent example of the cutting.

That night we had an excellent meal at the Westford Inn.  It was delicious.