Wednesday, 4th September 2019
Today we head north from Stornoway for a trip to the beach, then some free time in Stornoway before catching the ferry across to the mainland at Ullapool and a coach to Inverness.
As we drive north with our own version of the Chuckle Brothers (Chris, the guide and Jon Murdo, the driver) we pass through the village of Tunga. This is the birthplace of US president, Donald Trump’s mum. Donald’s cousins still live here and he has previously visited them.
Between 1918 and 1923 the island of Lewis was owned by Lord Leverhulme [of Lever Brothers and Persil fame]. He proposed a road from Tolsta to Port of Ness. It was a time when servicemen were returning from the first world war and wanted land for crofting and not work from Leverhulme. The road was never completed. The only part ever built was a bridge at the southern end in Garry: during its construction 140 men mixed the concrete by hand.
Since construction of the road stopped it is now know as ‘The Bridge to Nowhere’.
The views from the bridge are stunning. Don’t be alarmed by the blue bits of sky, it was just a temporary break in the rain fall.
Our driver, John Murdo, gave us a quick bagpipe recital next to the Garry beach. To watch and listen see the Video of the day at the bottom of the blog.
A walk on the beach.
We returned to Stornoway and were able to visit Lews castle.
Lews Castle has a museum. One of the key exhibits is a selection of the Chessmen of Lewis. They are part of a group of 12th century pieces that were discovered in Uig, on the Outer Hebrides, in 1831. Carved out of walrus ivory they are believed to have come from Norway and 82 of them are in the British Museum. In July 2019, a privately held warder, what we would know as a rook, was sold for £735,000.
We took a quick walk around the main rooms of the ground floor of the castle. The upper floors are a hotel.
From Stornoway we take the ferry across to Ullapool on the mainland. For 24 hours there had been ferry disruption notices on the CalMac ferry website because of predicted high winds and rough seas.
As it worked out the ferry ran on time, but was a bit wobbly for the two and a half hour crossing.
From Ullapool we travelled on by coach to our hotel in Inverness.
Great Railway Journeys Tour Map:
Video of the day:
Selfie of the day:
- Welsh Highland Railway & Caernarfon
- Ffestiniog Railway & Portmeirion
- Passau and Home [via Köln]
- London to Munich [for Oktoberfest]