Third time lucky
The Western Isles : Outer Hebrides are on most photographers location wish list and we were lucky enough to head over in late August early September 2022 for nine magical days. A fair bit of planning was needed but it was time well spent. The nature of this remote archipelago means that although the distances are relatively short the landscape and single track roads make progress slow and steady. You have to adapt to the pace of the islands not the other way around - it took a day or two for us to adjust. Our north to south trip involved three ferries to and from our locations; Ness Point, Lewis then Tarbert, Harris and finally Polochar, South Uist. As we were soon to find out, each of them had a completely different landscape, character and atmosphere.
The Butt of Lewis & Calanais Standing Stones 1/3
Our two and half hour ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway was on Calmac's purpose built flagship the MV Loch Seaforth. I don't have the best sea legs so was grateful for the very quiet and smooth crossing. We headed straight for Callanish, the weather wasn't great and the light was pretty flat but the main stone circle was even more impressive than expected. The scale and beauty of this neolithic site in such a powerful landscape has to be experienced. We headed north to the Cross Inn to check in for a one night's stay - a warm welcome with a contemporary twist in a traditional stone building. The next morning we headed off before sunrise and parked at the Ness Light House for a couple of hours shooting. Thick cloud and a steady wind made the dramatic landscape even more beautiful. It was pretty cold and I was concerned I hadn't packed enough warm clothes, what I didn't know was we were about to experience ten days of the best summer weather you could wish for. Back to the hotel for a shower and the best breakfast and friendliest service - we'll be staying at the Cross Inn again it was excellent.
We stopped off at the Carloway Broch an Iron Age structure designed to impress as well as defend. You can find it just off the main road heading south. It's really well preserved and and the eastern parts of the old wall still reach 9 metres tall and 15 metres in diameter. I climbed up the hill to get a shot of it in the landscape using my iPhone.
Scotland the Best: The Islands is our goto book for picking places to eat when we're travelling . We stopped at the recommended Crust, the reviews were great and it was on our way south. We'd already had a large breakfast earlier so weren't too hungry. The owner overheard our conversation and suggested we go 'meta meta'. We ate out of the pizza box in the car and I can honestly say it is the best pizza I've ever tasted.
The drive south to Harris was pretty special and the weather even more so. The main A road is two lane most of the way which makes for a more relaxing drive. We checked into our hotel, the Harris Hotel in Tarbert which is also the main ferry port for Harris.
Our Journey - iPhone images
Some snaps of our journey and the first couple of days in Lewis including our journey south towards Harris.