At the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis lies the parish of Ness, offering a unique insight into the legends, lore and long-observed traditions that have shaped the island’s unique identity – as well as being a stronghold of the Gaelic language with a large majority of locals claiming Gaelic as their mother tongue.
Jutting out into the waters of the Atlantic, Ness has been home to generations of sturdy seafarers whose traditions are celebrated in the local art and architecture.
Immerse yourself in island inspiration at the Comunn Eachdraidh Nis at Cross, where the historical society’s eclectic collection of artwork and artefacts offers an exciting introduction to the essence of the area, including the iconic Ronan Cross – a memorial to the holy man from Eoropie who, according to the traditional tales, turned his attention to taming sea monsters after failing to divert the spirited locals from what he perceived as their wicked ways!
From the nearby Butt of Lewis you can look out across the unforgiving waters of the Atlantic towards the uninhabited islands where his works were performed, and stand in the shadow of a unique Stevenson lighthouse built of red brick and standing sentinel over the island’s northernmost point, surrounded by the swells of an ever-surging sea. A coastal path is signposted from here to the nearby settlement at Dell – offering a great opportunity to really experience the area’s stunning sea- and skyscapes.
In the shelter of a rocky islet at Port of Ness, you will find the little harbour that has seen the local seamen off on many a mission, including the traditional annual journey to the island of Sula Sgeir where locals are licensed to capture gannet for food following in their ancestors’ traditional footsteps.
For family fun look no further than the Eoropie Dunes Playpark – a four-acre site with a wide range of outdoor play opportunities, picnic facilities and beautiful beach. All equipment is built in keeping with the local environment using sustainable resources chosen to blend perfectly with the natural surroundings.
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