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Western Isles Holiday – Isle of Lewis – part 2 incl Isle of Harris

Following on from yesterday’s part 1 post

On Tuesday we headed down to the Isle of Harris. Now it’s a little confusing because Lewis and Harris are on the same island. To me it looks like the flatter, peat bog area has been called Lewis and the mountains and miles of huge boulders has been called Harris. If you know the proper reason for the split feel free to comment below.

It was another beautiful sunrise, we stopped at Aline community woodland for a quick walk for Ylva. This was pretty close to where the border is but it’s on the Lewis side still. We stopped for a quick photo towards Harris and crossed the border.

Once voted Britain’s best beach, Losgaintir / Luskentyre was our destination. We found a little shelter from the wind and set our chairs up and had a picnic. We saw some brave ladies going for a swim and a bride and groom having some photos taken. Believe me, it was not a warm still day, it was a cold wind. None of my photos do the beach justice.

Apparently in summer it’s a nightmare with lack of parking and arguing campervan owners. We saw some self catering cottages for 2 people that were priced at £5,000 for one week in summer with a view of the beach. That’s crazy…we recommend visiting in winter/spring and braving the wind and not the crowds. A gallery owner told us the most expensive place is £6,000 for a week and people fly in on helicopters to it!

19 years ago I came to Lewis and Harris and its changed a LOT. A lot of new builds popping up, including English and Scandinavian style housing. The thing is it’s still single track windy roads so not ideal for lots of cars plus camper vans trying to use passing places. It was late June when I was last there and it was still a cold enough wind to need a hat, scarf and gloves, so there’s not much temperature benefit going in summer. It’s in the Atlantic…its windy!

In Tarbert, the main town on Harris, we bought some local gin, a tweed money purse and some presents for my mother in law. We then headed back.

Beautiful local gin bottle

On Wednesday we stayed on Lewis and headed north. We stopped at an Old Norse Mill and Kiln. There wasn’t any signage so we had to google details about it.

(I forgot to mention on my last post that the vikings occupied these islands for nearly 500 years which is why there are so many norse place names. Our dog Ylva has an old Norse name meaning she wolf…she felt right at home.)

Back in the car we headed further north and had a quick stop at a Shieling. A tiny wee stone hut with a bed and fireplace for cooking.

Then back in the car to the top, to Rubha Robhanais / the Butt of Lewis! Honestly that’s what it’s called! It’s the most northerly point of the western isles. There’s a lighthouse, cliff views and sea bird colonies.

One of the disadvantages of travelling out of summer season is that most places are closed totally or just open a few days a week. Finally we found an open cafe in nearby Port of Ness and enjoyed a toastie sitting outside with our backs to the wind and hoods up lol.

We then headed south stopping at a few more beaches to have a drink or let Ylva have a snooze. I know I keep posting beach photos but the inland is not as attractive (to me) it’s peat bogs, heather (not in flower) and all a bit brown…even the grass is mostly brown. I’ve included a couple of photos here though.

My final installment will be published tomorrow.

By highlandheffalump

I love making things and being creative, knitting, wet & needle felting, weaving, spinning, sea glass creations and more. You can find my crafting blog and business website at, my travel posts have been relocated to and my garden posts can be found at .


  1. I’m really loving your travelogue! Is there a specific reason for the name for “sugar” kelp – is it actually sweet? I did a sampler of some regional gins last summer. It’s pretty amazing how many different flavors you can get from aging or the addition of herbs. This tour is exactly my kind of holiday. Cold, limited tourists, gorgeous landscapes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saccharina latissima is the Latin name for sugar kelp. The name comes from when its dried it gives a powdery sweet powder. I don’t like gin personally but I love the bottles from the different Highland and Island distilleries and have a little collection to one day be lampshade stands.


  2. Wow what a beautiful place to explore and photograph. I’ve always wanted to go back to Scotland to explore more of its beautiful islands, but was always held back by the price of accommodation. They especially seems to reach unseen heights during the summer months. Thanks for sharing and have a good day ☺️ Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such beauty. Even the bogs have a personality. I cam only imagine their beauty when the Heather is in full bloom. It does look a bit too chilly to be going for a swim though.

    Liked by 1 person

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