Written by Mark Rowe
Author of our Outer Hebrides guidebook, Mark Rowe, shares highlights from a research trip to the islands.
I arrived in #stornoway a day or two ago. I certainly hit the weather on the nail with magnificent views over the islands. Spoiler alert: the weather’s not always like this! My previous visit involved a sideways landing in high winds. Watch those on youtube and they give you the collywobbles but on board you just feel a little weightless. Honest. #bradt #outerhebrides #instatravel #igtravel
I’m spending the first part of the morning checking out some new cafes and shops on Stornoway I’m keen for the book to persuade people to stay here for a day or two as it”s a town that feels on the way up. I’ve always liked the sculptures that pay homage to the town’s herring girls. They’re very local and understated, which is very much the Outer Hebridean way. #outerhebrides #bradt #instatravel
A feature of the OH is the prominence of Gaelic. Street signs are always Gaelic first and bold, English second and smaller. For guidebook writers thus demands a good deal of patience and pedantry! Some place names are similar in both languages Losgaintir/luskentyre, others not An t-Ob/ Leverburgh. Do we use both names? Always, or just the one visitors are most likely to recognise? I’d love to know what readers think. #outerhebrides #bradt #instatravel #travelgram
I’ve started a long afternoon trip up the west coast of Lewis. First stop is the no.1 attraction on the isles, the standing stones of Calanish, the Hebrides’ answer to Stonehenge. They have a wonderful grace & symmetry and visiting is definitely one of the upside of being a travel writer. No time to get all poetical though, I have to work out a walking route that gives views of the stones and check out local guesthouses #bradt #instagram #instatravel
From standing stones to the standing soaps of the #hebrideansoapcompany. These soaps turn up all over the islands and I’d expected to find an enterprise operating on an industrial scale. Instead this is a one-woman band in the form of Linda Sutherland who relocated here 15 years ago. She has an interesting story to tell and tales of the people of these islands are something I hope to make a feature of in the book. #bradt #outerhebrides #instatravel #instagram
Time for a very late lunch! Worth the wait as I pull up at #40north foods in Bragar. A feature of the #outerhebrides is the amazing food you find in the middle of nowhere! A food trail #eatdrinkhebrides was launched last month and this place was a shoe-in. I had a chat with owner -cooks Bruce and Anne and was left with the impression – one I often get in the outer hebs – of people who have no idea just how brilliant they are at what they do. #bradt #instatravel #instatravelfood #travelgram #igtravel
How many guidebooks include a playpark as an attraction? The one at #Ness in northern Lewis is set among dunes and a great place for those on a family holiday. This notice though is a gentle reminder of how the Sabbath is widely observed. I’ve seen playparks padlocked elsewhere on Lewis & Harris. 24-hour shopping seems a long way away right now! #bradt #instatravel #outerhebrides
I made the most of the late evening light to take a circular walk from Europie to the Butt of Lewis I’ve done this walk before but feel happier if I double check all those ‘fork left, turn right ‘ annotations. As I reached the lighthouse a flock of starlings came to roost on this isolated telecoms tower. In the fading light it felt a bit like The Birds. Time to head back to Stornoway. 15 hours on the road and 100 miles in a fiat panda hire car!
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