Part 2 of the Isles of Lewis and Harris series
If you haven’t read the first part, click here.
My love for the ever-stunning Scotland is no hidden secret by now. I absolutely adore the scenic locations found here.
So, me being a fan of the TV series “Outlander” shouldn’t come as a big surprise. For those that don’t know, a lot of Scottish locations have been used for filming the show.
One such location that particularly attracted me was the place where the standing stones were found (which had the ability to make you time travel if you touched them). Hence, I started searching online where these stones were located.
After some hours spent googling, I came to know that quite a lot of locations had similar-looking standing stones but from the pictures the ones that looked most like those found in the show were the Callanish Stones located on the Isle of Lewis.
This information intrigued me further and I started searching more about this place.
This is how I discovered the Isle of Lewis and Harris. ???
But I must tell you that after arriving here the “reason” for discovering this place fell in the background. I couldn’t bring my mind to comprehend the surreal beauty I saw here. So untouched, raw, varied, colourful, bewitching and peaceful. Looked like the stuff excellent paintings are made of.
During the magical days I spent here, I tried my best to cover as much of Harris and Lewis as possible. The more I saw, the more I fell in love.
Some Useful Info.
Lewis is the northern part of the island and makes up the major part of the Isle while Harris is the southern part. Both have very different landscapes.
Lewis is mostly flat and marshy and consist of numerous lochs. Really. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many so close together. (There are plenty of lochs on Harris too but as Lewis was relatively flat hence it was easier to see many lochs together at once).
The flat vastness dotted with beautiful lochs was an absolute treat for the eyes. Such incredible beauty!
And around the coast there were many lovely sandy beaches. In fact, there are so many phenomenal beaches on Lewis and Harris that you seriously are spoilt for choice.
I flew my drone mostly in Lewis as it was much easier due to its flatness. Click here to watch the video.
On the other hand, most of Harris is quite hilly. This has its own distinct charm. Some parts have a lovely lunar-like landscape.
Other parts are filled with lush-green scenes.
Also, Harris has some of the most striking beaches. Of all the places that I have visited, I can safely say that the white sandy beaches of Harris with their vibrant turquoise waters were some of the best I’ve ever seen.
The variety of landscapes you find on such a small island is mind-blowing. I seriously can’t pick a favourite between the two parts, Lewis or Harris. Both were incredibly beautiful in their own way. Apart from the obvious mesmerising scenery, the miles of stunning white sandy beaches on this island stole my heart.
BEST THINGS TO SEE ON LEWIS AND HARRIS:
❤️ Visit the Callanish Standing Stones and Try Your Luck with Time Travel.
This is the obvious one if you have read the beginning of this blog. ?
Even if you aren’t a fan of “Outlander”, it’s still worth visiting this place.
Located in Lewis, the Callanish stones are 5000 years old. Therefore, the vibe is both eerie plus magical. I don’t know why but I did feel a bit uneasy standing beside the stone circle.
The tallest stone in the middle is somewhat daunting especially when you stand right next to it. It took me a few minutes to calm my nerves. I was relieved that there were a few people around. It would have been terrifying if I had been alone.
Irrational fear aside, the scenery is stunning especially with the beautiful loch providing an excellent backdrop to the tall stones.
I visited this place three times (despite my nervousness the first time). Maybe because I was desperately trying my luck to time travel. ?
Jokes aside, the views are really awesome. Highly recommended. (A visitor centre with a cafe and gift shop is also present here).
The Callanish Standing Stones
❤️ Feel the Winds at The Butt of Lewis.
Ok so this is a seriously windy spot.
Therefore, if you’re not a fan of this force of mother nature then you can skip it. But you will be missing out on the wild scenery here.
The rugged cliffs and the crashing waves on the rocks are quite irresistible to look at. There is a beautiful red brick lighthouse here too.
I would however tell you that I could not stay more than 30 minutes here because it was so windy. This is one of the places where you just make a quick stop, explore for a bit, take some pics and then leave. Parking is right next to the lighthouse.
The Butt of Lewis was named as the windiest spot in the UK according to the “Guinness Book Of Records”. And because it’s usually quite windy, please don’t go too near the edge of the cliffs. Safety first.
In short, nothing “calming” about this place. Just raw nature. (I did see seals here).
Butt of Lewis
❤️ See as many Heavenly Beaches as you can.
I’ve mentioned quite a few times before, the beaches present on this island are other-worldly.
Endless soft white sands, clear refreshing blue-green water, so secluded that it may feel like your very private haven and so picturesque that you would want to try all your cheesy poses.
If I began to list all the phenomenal beaches I found here, this post will never end.
So, as hard as it was, I did select one beach each from Lewis and Harris. (I do have a lot of other equally favourite ones though).
Lewis: Ardroil Beach, Uig Sands
Harris: Luskentyre beach
Beaches of Lewis and Harris
❤️ Send Your Heart Racing with a Segway Adventure.
I took the Segway tour of Lews Castle in Stornoway and I am so glad I did.
It was mind-blowingly awesome! I think it was the best way to take a tour of the castle grounds.
Gliding past the beautiful scenery was such fun in a Segway that it was hard to control my excitement.
My favourite part was when we were taken up a little hill. The view was lovely from up there.
Whether we had never been on a Segway or were a pro, the instructors were really nice and made sure to give us time to practice before taking us on the tour. When I go back to Lewis, I’m certainly doing this tour again.
❤️ Go for a few Long Drives around the Island.
This is a must if you really want to get a thorough feel of the place.
I went on a few long drives and absolutely LOVED every second! The variety of scenery I saw was thirst-quenching. (at least for a while…..hehe!).
Make sure to stop from time to time and explore. (On Lewis and Harris both).
I saw mountains, plateaus, lochs, moorlands, beaches, cliffs, meadows, highland cows, eagles, sheep etc.
In fact, something really strange which I saw only here was that every afternoon the sheep started sitting and relaxing on the sides of the roads. They wouldn’t budge even while clearly seeing oncoming vehicles. Some brave sheep I must say. They didn’t block the roads entirely. Cars could still pass through. It was like they purposely lined the roads commenting within their “groups” on every passing car. Quite a funny sight.
But let this be a reminder that although you will find the roads to be quite empty, you should still drive really carefully and within the speed limits.
❤️ Don’t Forget to Absorb the Beauty and Calmness.
This island is not meant for rushing through. I know the beauty is addictive and you want to see as much as possible but remember to sit at a scenic spot, take a deep breath and really see the beauty surrounding you. Then close your eyes and feel the fresh air, notice the sounds of nature and just relax.
❤️ Try the Woodland Boardwalk.
The Aline Community woodland in Lewis is a fantastic location to try some good woodland walks. If, like me, you are short on time then you can try the easy circular boardwalk. It will give you a good “feel” of the woodland with plenty of scenic spots to photograph and enjoy.
Aline community boardwalk
❤️ Buy Souvenirs.
I like to buy small souvenirs from all the places I travel to. It can be as little as a fridge magnet or pen.
Mostly it is a fridge magnet. ?
But here I had to buy something “Harris Tweed”.
So, I bought a lovely pair of Harris Tweed gloves.
You can also find the usual souvenirs like pens, magnets, calendars, jewellery etc. in the shops.
❤️ Click Click Click.
Take tons of pictures. Trust me!
Although I took lots of photos, I still regret not taking more. Lewis and Harris is a place of exceptional scenery around every corner. A photographers delight.
? Almost everything is closed on Sundays so make sure you buy food and other essentials beforehand.
? Beware of midges as in the rest of Scotland. I got attacked one afternoon while flying my drone. And since both my hands were occupied, I got bitten quite badly. Not the best experience I would say. ?
In the end all I want to say is that I miss Lewis and Harris. The beauty, the peace, the variety and the sense of living in the perfect postcard……All of it.
?♀️ Question: Would you travel to Lewis and Harris?