the Isle of Lewis & me

October 1, 2010

It has been far too many years since I visited the Isle of Lewis, Stornoway and North Tolsta where my mum grew up and is now buried.  I have often thought about visiting, but it generally takes a lot to make me take time to myself and it has always been easier to put it off than get around to.  However, one of the good things about getting engaged is that I have to take my fiancee to meet the relatives, show off the land of my birth (OK I wasn’t actually born there) and mainly to see why I have so many paintings and photos of Lewis around the house.

The weather forecast was lousy, and wrong!  It was very sunny clear skies, often with a breeze that kept it from actually being warm but for the tail end of September with no rain you can’t complain and it really does make a difference seeing it that way.  The beaches are magical, especially in my opinion, Garry Sands with its awesome rock formations soaring out of the sand or the long stretch of Tolsta Beach.

Of course we also visited Callanish Stones, which on one hand is an incredibly historic land mark which stirs the heart and mind with its 4m high stones that were placed over 5000 years ago, creating a stunning mark in the landscape and a memorial to past times.  On the other hand, it is one of the few tourist attractions on the island so you kind of have to go there.  Personally, whether you have to go to the stones or not I think there is something very special this place and I was very glad we had good enough weather to enjoy them – the last time I was there it was a gale, and we just sheltered beside one of the big stones till it was too cold to stay any longer.

Of course the main reason we visited was to meet up with some of the many relatives I’ve got on the island.  Which means being spoiled and constantly fed by my Aunt Anne!  I won’t go into the details but suffice to say that Sunday lunch wasn’t just ‘a roast’ but included roast beef, roast lamb and roast chicken!  There was so much left over we were still eating it that night after church and just for good measure some roast pork was added!  I would however like to point out that I managed to resist 3 of the 4 puddings that followed Sunday lunch :-)

We spent a lot of time hearing stories and looking at old photos, enjoying the views, the sun and playing with the Ben the mad dog.  I think D saw a side of me she hasn’t seen before and I hope it didn’t scare her too much to see that or meet the MacLeods.  I also bored her with all the stories I knew about black houses and cutting the peat, etc. but she still enjoyed our little island holiday.  I think everyone should go to Lewis – it’s a very special place with very special people.