By Bernie Bell
I was thinking about the importance of attracting visitors to Scotland, and thinking of how far-reaching the circulation of The Orkney News is becoming, and that this is the time of year when folk are thinking about where to go for their holidays. So, I thought I’d go back through my photos, and put together a record of a trip we made about 5 years ago, to Lewis.
Mike was involved in a meeting which was being held at Lews Castle, on the Isle of Lewis. I went along with him, and, by adding a weekend to the days of the meeting, we made a bit of a holiday of it. We’d particularly wanted to see Callanish (now known as Calanais – so I’ll stick with that), but, Lewis is more than Calanais, and Calanais is more than the main site, which is what folk are mostly aware of.
Our first stop on mainland Scotland, was at the Craggan Hotel at Talmine, near Tongue, and this is the view from just along the road from the hotel.
Just at the bottom of the driveway to the hotel, is a house whose occupant obviously is as avid about collecting fishing flotsam as I am………
As we drove along by Loch Eriboll, we pulled into the long lay-by, to stretch our legs and look at the loch. Another car pulled in behind us, and a man got out. He got chatting with us, and showed us, through his binoculars, the writing on the hill on the opposite side of the loch, and told us the tale. During the Second World War, ships were anchored in the loch, and, to pass the time, the servicemen would go up onto the hill, and use stones to make the names of their ships. These names were becoming lost in the hillside, until quite recently, when local schools took parties of children up to clear them and re-paint them, thus teaching the children a bit of history and getting them out in the fresh air at the same time!
We then carried on to visit Smoo Cave, at Durness.
Fiona-Next-Door had told us about this, as she knew we’d like it, and she was right! It’s intriguing, exciting, and one of those places that you feel might have held significance for the inhabitants of that area, long ago.
I wouldn’t be surprised, if someone, sometime, found some ancient carvings, or offerings, in there, somewhere – it’s just one of those places. You go down some steps to get to the entrance, which is on a stony beach with many interesting stones.
The cave itself is wonder, and then, inside, is a waterfall!
It’s possible to have a trip in a small boat right into the cave, but , unfortunately, as this wasn’t really a holiday and we had to be at the ferry on time, we didn’t have the time to do that, so, we hit the road again.
More of Bernie’s trip to the Western Isles next week