Callanish and West Side
Callanish and West Side
Head for Callanish and the West Side of Lewis to discover more about Lewis’s inspirational history and heritage.
Step back in time with visits to the standing stones of Clach an Truseil, the tallest single stone in Scotland, and Callanish, the prehistoric stone cross and circle formation that fired the imagination of the Disney animators when drawing up the backdrops for their recent blockbuster Brave.
Standing proud above the windswept wilds of the West Side (together with a purpose built visitors’ centre) these monolithic monuments sing with centuries of myth and magic, testifying to the tenacity of islanders across the millennia, who left their mark on the land with these, and other, structures.
One example of which is the nearby Arnol Blackhouse – a perfectly preserved traditional Hebridean home where visitors can learn about the crofting traditions that allowed earlier Lewis residents to live at one with the land in thatched homes, which they shared with their animals and heated using peat cut from the surrounding moors.
This land-based lifestyle can be seen in action at the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, where blackhouse homes have been sympathetically renovated as self catering accommodation allowing modern guests a glimpse of the past while enjoying all the comforts of the present. In season, the village serves as a historical museum, open to residents and visitors alike – with demonstrations and exhibition showcasing Hebridean heritage.
For an Iron Age experience, try the Doune Carloway Broch. This ancient fortification is one of the best preserved of its kind, and offers an insight into the island’s early history of immigration and occupation – with the Atlantic roundhouse structure of the broch believed to have been inspired by the knowledge of European settlers and possibly used as a watchtower either by, or against, the invading Vikings.
When you’ve witnessed man’s effect on the landscape, then its time to explore that landscape’s effect on man with a visit to the Morven Gallery at Barvas.
This converted stone steading offers an exciting contemporary space where visitors can view a wide range of land- and seascapes inspired by the surrounding island environments – as well as serving up fine teas, coffees and homemade cakes!
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