I fell in love with Scotland, but Lewis & Harris stole my heart. The Island is unspoiled, remote and not yet flooded with too many tourists. There is wonderful history to be found, amongst them the interesting tale about Harris Tweed.
Let me start with nature. To be clear, we’re talking about one island, with a soutern part called Harris and a northern part called Lewis. They are both worth visiting allthough you ‘ll find very different sceneries.
Depending on the weather, photography can be either paradise or a nightmare... for me it was very difficult. I found it difficult to capture everything I saw in single images. Also weather was not on my side, it was raining almost all the time. Still I managed to get some decent pictures and learned how to deal with my camera in the pouring rain!
Harris is populair for its gorgeous beaches. One of them, Luskentyre, is mentioned in a top 5 of world’s most beautiful beaches. Yes I think it beautiful, as well as the other beaches, even in the pouring rain! The white sand and turquoise waters make me think of the Caribbean! As our landlady said, “you’re not here for the great weather” so we dressed up in rain gear and had our romantic beach walk 😉.
We drove along the coastline and reached the most southern point, a small single track road leads you back north to Tarbert. This is where the Landscape changes again into a stunning Luna like scenery. This is rural Scotland at it’s most, as far as I have seen, that is.
As already mentioned, Harris is known for Harris Tweed, the well known clothing brand. I learned about the story behind the brand through a very inspiring book named ‘From the land comes the clothes’ by Ian Lawson. His photographs are amazing! I think his pictures show the real life on the Island, and all its colors. Weaving is important on the island and Harris Tweed is a well protected brand, with a close connection to the Island. You can read more about Harris Tweed and the way they work with local society on their site.
Lewis is something completely different. Driving the long road up north we passed endless (for an island) ‘nothing’ and far sights. We saw people cut off peat, small communities with their own churches and the ‘budd of Lewis’ at the end of this road. (You can drive your car litterally into the sea).
There are quite some historic grounds to be found as well; The Gearrannan Blackhouses and the amazing Standing Stones of Callanish to name a few. I was touched by this mysterious place! Stornoway is the biggest city on the Lewis side of the island. Most people live in this area. It has a port and connection to Ullapool on the main (Is)land. We stayed here for three nights and found it a convenient location to explore the island.
I now know I need to go back, to be able to capture the light and the tales this Island has to tell. More time at one place, patience and some good luck (weather wise). As camping is not regulated to only campsites I would definately choose to go camping with a camper Van next time!