Vatisker Tours

17 Vatisker, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, HS2 0JS

Type:Trips & Tours

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Tel:01851 619123

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About

3 Sides to 1 Island – SENSE EXPLORE CONNECT

We invite you to embark on our uniquely crafted and interactive Hebridean Tour of the Isle of Lewis with three immersive experiences that will captivate your imagination.

You will SENSE why Harris Tweed® is so iconic with our weaving demonstration, EXPLORE the stunning Hebridean seascapes and then CONNECT with the rich heritage and culture of our beautiful island.

HARRIS TWEED… Let’s Get Weaving

SENSE the sights, sounds, smell and feel of the iconic Harris Tweed®. The first stop on the tour is my loom shed in the village of Vatisker. I demonstrate the process of transforming simple woollen threads to the final woven Harris Tweed®.

During my demonstration I’ll guide you through the various steps involved in the weaving process. You’ll learn what warp, weft, rapier, heddle and herringbone for instance all mean and you’ll see how the complex loom machinery magically transforms basic woollen threads into perfectly formed cloth.

I’ve called this section of the tour SENSE simply because your senses of sight, sound, smell and feel will be fully engaged as this traditional artisan craft is revealed.

We will then head on to our next stop at Garry beach not only with a memorable experience but also with a personalised photo souvenir as a reminder of your visit to the loom shed in Vatisker.

Photo Souvenir: Your photo taken at the loom, printed onto card with message, inserted into gift box with window showing photo and Harris Tweed sample inserted in box

ROCKS, SAND & SEA… Let’s Go Walking

EXPLORE my favourite beach on the island, Garry Beach. A glorious expanse of sand comes into view, impressively framed by the soft peaty hills and finished by majestic sea stacs like giants teeth.

We have travelled a few miles further north now to my favourite beach on the island. There are many beautiful beaches to be seen here but Garry Beach is for me simply stunning. I love the vista … it’s a contrast between the soft peaty hills, tranquil lilly pond and the golden expanse of sand dramatically framed by staggeringly impressive sea stacs.

What we’ll do is take a walk along the beach, take our time and take all of this in... EXPLORE. Fill your lungs with scents of the ocean and flowers of the machair. There are plenty of photo opportunities here and further up at the Bridge to Nowhere, a bridge that simply goes nowhere. I’ll explain more of that on the day!

I have no doubt you will feel enchanted and revitalised here and may even make a mental note to return one day to the beach at Garry.

CURIOUS?... Let’s Discover

CONNECT with Hebridean life, history and culture.

Our last stop of the day takes us to the beautiful surroundings of Lews Castle where Museum nan Eilean is located. Here we CONNECT with the rich heritage and distinctive culture of the Outer Hebrides.

We begin with an immersive and relaxing film which is a firm favourite with many of our visitors. The film lets you connect with the starkly changing landscapes across the Outer Hebrides from moorland, to machair, to croft, to seascapes, it beautifully captures the changing seasons and mood of our islands.

Wander further along to the Islanders gallery where the people of these islands speak in their own words about the reality of life here that may challenge some preconceptions and you’ll form a connection with how islanders feel about their home.

A Taste of the Islands is the main gallery and has four sections based on the Land, the Sea, Working Life and Community Life. You will discover a range of interesting exhibits ranging from archaeological finds, working tools, many items of personal significance to islanders and of course you’ll get up close and connect with the original and world famous Lewis Chessmen.

On the Threshold finally takes a look at what impact future developments may have on island life and then it’s time to move on to the Castle itself.

Lews Castle was built in 1841 by Sir James Matheson who also purchased the Isle of Lewis. Wander the star-lined corridors and view the splendour of the ballroom which has hosted many a soiree over the years, the opulent whisky bar and family room.

It’s well worthwhile to walk around the beautifully landscaped grounds offering a marvellous view of Stornoway harbour before our tour now comes to an end … leaving you with fond memories of your Hebridean adventure with VATISKER TOURS.

Itinerary

10:00 AM

Stornoway - Pick up point at Deepwater Port and/or Ferry Terminal (location will be advised by direct email correspondence prior to tour date).

Registration and introduction to the tour

Minibus travel

10:30 AM

Arrival at Loom Shed, Vatisker.

45 mins – Harris Tweed® weaving demonstration and souvenir photos

Minibus travel

11:20 AM

Arrival at Gress Cairn

10 mins – Photo opportunity and talk on Land Raids

Minibus travel

11:45 AM

Arrival at Garry Beach

50 mins – Walk on the beach and explore sea stacks, Bridge to Nowhere

Minibus travel

01:00 PM

Arrival at Museum nan Eilean and Lews Castle

45 mins – Tour of Museum & Castle, shopping opportunity

Minibus travel

02:00 PM

Drop off point at Deepwater Port and/or Ferry Terminal (location will be advised by direct email correspondence prior to tour date).

Feedback and Goodbyes!

 

Who We Are

My name is DONALD JOHN MACLEOD (DJ).

I am the proud owner of VATISKER.TOURS. I’ll be your guide on this tour and my aim is to give you a wonderful and memorable experience on the beautiful Hebridean island of Lewis.

A quick bio… after graduating in Electronics Engineering, I had a long career in software development and project management before deciding to return to the island of my birth and try something new.

So, I followed in my father’s footsteps and decided to become a Harris Tweed® weaver in 2020. I also worked part-time as a visitor assistant at Museum Nan Eilean. It is here where the first imaginings of starting a tour venture began to emerge, primarily as a result of the many interactions I had with visitors from all four corners of the world. It is where I understood what was of interest that they had seen on the island but, more importantly, what they would like to see!! Out of this I formulated a blend that honed my own skillsets in weaving, museum experience and local knowledge to produce the SENSE, EXPLORE, CONNECT experience here.

We are a new entrant to the Hebridean tours scene and are truly excited to deliver a fresh, vibrant, interactive experience where your senses are exposed to 3 sides of island life. There are many wonderful locations on the Isle of Lewis, and well worth a visit in their own right. This tour, however, has been designed to engage in more than sightseeing and is one I’m sure you’ll find both enjoyable and memorable.

 

 

 

Map & Directions

TripAdvisor

Awards

  • Other AwardsOuter Hebrides Tourism Member Outer Hebrides Tourism Member 2020
  • Other AwardsPlatinum Listing Platinum Listing 2020

Opening Times

Season (1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024)

* Fixed price at £100 per person for 4 hr tour
Includes:
• Bottled water: Machair - Gniessian water from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland
• Snacks: Shortbread biscuits by Stag Bakery, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
• Harris Tweed Photo Souvenir - your photo at the loom in presentation case with Harris Tweed sample
• Museum entrance fee - I make a £5 donation to the Museum on your behalf

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