Calanais Stones (Callanish Stones)
Calanais can be looked upon as Lewis’ Stonehenge, but you are still able to walk close to the stones and even touch them. The area around Calanais is home to over 20 monuments erected between 3000 and 4000 years ago. Most famous by far is Calanais I, a complex arrangement of some 50 stones. At their heart is a circle of 13 stones between 8 and 13 feet tall, surrounding the tallest stone on the site, 16 feet high and weighing in at about 5.5 tonnes. Some time later a stone tomb was added to the centre of the circle. Such is the magnificence of the main collection of standing stones at Calanais I that other nearby monuments are too often overlooked. Just off the main road a little to the south east of Calanais is "Calanais III", a collection of 20 stones forming a double ring with an outside diameter of 16m. The visitor centre is open: June, July and August 9:30 am - 8 pm Monday to Saturday; April, May, September & October 10am -6pm Monday to Saturday; November to March 10am - 4pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Port Nis (Port of Ness) & Butt of Lewis
Port of Ness is the most Northerly point in Lewis, and boasts the largest percentage of Gaelic speakers in Scotland. While here you can admire an intriguing little harbour which is reached through a gap between a cliff face and large rocky islet. You can also spend some time on the attractive East facing beach at one end of the harbour. A short journey to the North of the main road will take you to Europie (Europaidh) where you will find the beautifully restored St Moluag’s Church on a site believed to have been consecrated since the 500s.
If you travel North from Europie a mile down a narrow track, you get to the 121ft high Butt of Lewis Lighthouse. You are now at probably the most Northerly point on the island! By standing on the most Northerly tip, you are also now standing at the windiest place in the UK as noted in the Guinness Book of Records. If you happen to be here in the Autumn you may see the Ness men make their traditional journey 40 miles North to the island of Sula Sgeir for their annual Guga cull (guga being the name for the young gannets).
The castle is actually a mock-Tudor folly built in the 19th Century by Sir James Matheson who purchased the island in 1844 with part of his fortune gained through the opium trade in the Far East. During the Second World War it was used as a naval hospital, then later as a technical college, but has long been in disuse. Today it houses the museum which includes the return of some of the Chessmen to their home. There is also a cafe and accommodation in the newly rennovated castle. A walk in the extensive gardens with its 100 varieties of tree and views across the harbour (watching out for stray golf balls along the way!) is well worth it. There is also the old waterwheel and the Woodland Centre with its exhibitions, tea room, gift shop and toilets.
Shawbost Norse Mill & Kiln
Uig Museum & An Suileachan
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
Dun Charlabhaigh (Carloway Broch)
Dun Carloway is a remarkably well preserved broch in a stunning location overlooking Loch Roag on the West coast of Lewis. Dun Carloway was probably built some time in the last century BC. It would have served as an occasionally defensible residence for an extended family complete with accommodation for animals at ground floor level. It would also have served as a visible statement of power and status in the local area. It was built at a time when brochs were already starting to be replaced by other forms of housing less demanding on scarce resources (wood in particular), and it is not known how long it remained in use. The broch is free to walk around, and accessible all year. The visitor centre is open between April and September, Monday to Saturday, from 10am until 5pm.
Connected to Lewis by bridge, Bernera is nearly 6 miles from North to South, and 3 miles from East to West. The centre of the island, geographically and in every other way, is at Breacleit. Here you find the school and church. Here too is a shop and post office, and a doctor's surgery. A striking new addition is the large sloping roofed community centre which contains a very good cafe. It is also home to the Bernera museum, which explores the island's fishing heritage and its wider history. In the doorway are handprints left by the island's Millennium children. At the most northerly point is Bosta Beach and a reconstructed Iron Age house. Exposed during a storm in 1993, the house has been re-constructed and open to the public in the summer months.
R.A.F. Base Aird Uig