Friday, October 23, 2009

Isle of Lewis

Following a tip from the Ullapool hostel owners, we set out after a slightly frantic start to the say, for the Isle of Lewis. This meant a 3 hour ferry ride from Ullapool so we decided to give Fabio a couple days off and left him outside the hostel while stocked up on snacks at the supermarket and jumped on the ferry. Tried to sit outside and enjoy the view but it was freezing so we were soon lured inside by the comfy couches and hot tea in the lounge. Got a bit of drama on the trip when a drunk woman was thought to have fallen overboard but turns out she was passed out near us so all okay.

Arrived on the Isle of Lewis in the small port town of Stornoway where we checked into the excellent Heb Hostel. We had been told in Ullpool that we could hire bikes to see the sites around the island but when we asked our new hotel owner, we learnt that the main thing we wanted to see was 18 miles away over a bunch of hills, no thankyou. Instead scarfed down a quick lunch and jumped on a bus to Callendish stones.

Out in the middle of a bunch of lakes and sheep farms is a small hill, atop which are the Callendish Standing stones, a cross shaped formation of 20 or so stones with a central circle of stones. You could walk amongst and touch the stones which was very cool and there were very few people around (other than a group of 3 who were very into the druid thing) so it was a very cool place to see. Spent a long time there as the views of the surrounding areas were pretty good as well, then jumped back on the bus which took us on the scenic route around the island and eventually back into Stornoway.

Decided to eat in for a change and headed to Tesco where we stocked up on supplies for a feast. May have gone a little crazy as we ended up with lots of food but it was lots of fun cooking (and by cooking I mean my job was microwaving the ready meals while the others made an awesome salad and rosemary bread) and sharing a bottle of wine in the nice warm kitchen. After dinner we hung out with some of the other guests in the common room where I got some info on Provost Skene’s house in Aberdeen from a professional story teller. Rounded out the evening with cheese cake, hot chocolate and marshmallows before heading to bed.

Had a nice sociable breakfast in the morning and had fun window shopping around town on our way to Lew’s Castle just on the edge of Stornoway. The castle itself is closed up (though they are in the process of fixing it up so it can be returned to public use) but the grounds are stunning so we went for a nice long walk through them, eventually ending up on a headland overlooking the town. Just had time for lunch and a little more shopping before jumping on the ferry back to Ullapool. Checked back into the hostel and prepared another delicious feast for ourselves before accidentally crashing the end of someone’s 80th birthday when we went back to the bar with the free wi-fi. That was probably the highest concentration of kilt wearers we saw all trip :P

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