Isle of Lewis - Western Isles

Stornoway-Lews Castle - Western Isles

Isle of Lewis - Eilean Leòdhais

The northern part of the Western Isles - known as the Isle of Lewis is not an isle on its own, but is joined to The Isle of Harris in the south. The two islands, whilst part of the same land mass are seperated by a range of mountains and each island have their own distinct character. The Isle of Lewis is the largest and most northern island of the Outer Hebrides with a population of around 18,500, of which 9000 live in Stornoway
Northern Part of The Isle of Lewis - Peatland
The northern part of the island is largely flat, with much peat land, but has some gorgeous beaches on its coastline edges.

The South Part of Lewis - Hills - Beaches
The south part of the Isle of Lewis has dramatic scenery, with remote hills around Uig and the Pairc peninsula. The beautiful hills of the Isle of Lewis are rugged and spectacular.

Sundays - The Sabbath on the Isle of Lewis
The way to day life on the Isle of Lewis is different to that on the mainland. The Sundays are to a great extent kept sacred, the observance of the Sabbath being just one thing that visitors will notice. But even those who are not religious still feel that Sunday on the island is very special.

Gaelic Language
The Gaelic language has been passed down the generations and is still spoken by quite a few people. It is not uncommon to see a group of islanders in Stornoway conversing in Gaelic.

Peat cutting on the Isle of Lewis
Also, tourists might notice the piles of peat that are laid around, as many locals still cut the peat and leave to dry, to use for heating on coal fires
Traditional Industries - Crofting, Fishing, Weaving
Tweed Industry in The Isle of Lewis
Tweed and Weaving
Weaving also, still plays a part in the Islands life although it is actually Lewis that is now the main centre for the Harris Tweed industry.

The popularity of the tweed was certainly waning somewhat recently, however the pure quality and indeed new designs and a little more innovative marketing seems to be ensuring that the tradition lives on. Indeed the tweed is being exported to places like China, where it is becoming ever popular.
The traditional industries on the Isle of Lewis of crofting, fishing also feature in the islands day to day living although now, not nearly as much as they did in the past.
Fishing Fleet
The main fishing fleet is somewhat reduced from its heyday, but together with fish farms and the onshore processing and transportation, the fishing industry as a whole is still a major employer. The public sector however is the biggest employer, involving 40% of today’s working population.

Stornoway Harbour - Fishing Boats
Isle of Lewis United with The Isle of Harris
Historically the Isle of Lewis and The Isle of Harris have gone their separate ways, despite the existence of the common clan surname Macleod. - however today The Isle of Lewis and Harris are more united with the Western isles Council - the Comhairle nan Eilean Star, playing a great role in their present day
Most of the Isle of Lewis is covered in blankets of peat and many locals still dig up the peat and use it for fuel. The rugged landscape and the beautiful beaches really do make Lewis and Island to remember.
Peat Banks near Bridge to Nowhere
Stornoway - Castle Grounds, Trees - River Creed - Lews Castle
The Isle of Lewis is the largest of the Western Isles, with over 9000 residents living in the main port of Stornoway, as well as people living in all the smaller villages. Stornoway has many acres of land that the public can enjoy in the Castle Grounds, where there are lots of different tree species, and the lovely River Creed, not to mention the splendid Lews Castle, which is currently being renovated and redeveloped into a top quality Hotel and will house the towns Museum, where you will be able to view some of the famous Uig chessmen!

Archeology - Callanish Stones - Carloway Broch - Norse Mill - Blackhouses - Lewis Chessmen

The Isle of Lewis has several archeological sites that are of great cultural importance. There is of course the famous "Callanish Stones" which are even older than the Pyramids and older than Stonehenge. There is the Norse Iron Age Mill and Kiln at Shawbost, The Broch at Carloway which has seen occupants over the centuries, not to mention the fact that the discovery of the Lewis Chessmen, found near Uig, which was a great discovery, and The Arnol Blackhouse, a preserved example of the many blackhouses that you can still see deserted and dotted around The Isle of Lewis.

The Butt of Lewis

The Butt of Lewis is the most northerly tip of the island, and here you can see many seabirds, watch for seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Heather, Garry Beach and Traigh Mhor Beaches
Photo Gallery -  Isle of Lewis
Photo Gallery - Isle of Lewis
Peatbeds in Lewis
Isle of Lewis Moorland
View from the road near The Bridge to Nowhere - Garry & Traigh Mhor Beaches
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