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Things to Do in Isle of Lewis

The most northerly of Scotland’s dramatic Western Isles, the Isle of Lewis is known for its ancient remains, coastal crofts, and beautiful beaches. On a sunny day, dune-backed beaches like Bostadh and Traigh Chuil are perfect. Spot red deer in Lewis’s conservation areas, and off the coast — dolphins, porpoises, and even whales. The center of the island gives way to a peaty plateau loved by rare birds birds, and in the hills of Uig look out for golden eagles and peregrine falcons.

Stornoway’s colorful harbor is also a good place to spot seals. Easily the largest town on the island, over three quarters of the Western Isles population lives here. Wind through its Victorian streets to Stornoway’s lively pubs, where you can listen out for Gaelic — the local tongue — and get to know the great island tradition of storytelling firsthand.

Having once belonged to the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, you’ll notice Presbyterian traditions running through the veins of island life throughout the Hebrides. On Sundays on Lewis, life quietens down as the Sabbath is observed across the isle.

Lewis has a rich history. Home to the famous Callanish Stones, Arnol Blackhouse is also a popular visit. A preserved traditional thatched croft run by Historic Scotland, just like up until the 1960s when the blackhouse was abandoned by its last tenants, the peaty central hearth is never allowed to go out.
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Isle of Harris
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Split into North and South Harris by Loch Tarbert, the north of Harris is all about the dramatic mountains while the south is home to some of the best beaches in the country, like Luskentyre — the famous sandy bay that looks out to the blustery isle of Taransay. Though it may come as a surprise, the Isle of Harris isn’t actually an island at all. It’s actually joined with Lewis.

Harris is world-famous for Harris tweed, and there’s a strong tradition of quality crafts shops and galleries. For a feel of how crofters’ life must have been in the not-so-distant past, visit the abandoned village of Molinginish and wander the stone croft blackhouses. Near the village of Rodel, the medieval kirk of St. Clement is also a popular visit. From Harris, it’s also possible to take a boat trip over to the craggy island of St Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to over a million birds. A popular place for hill walking and kayaking, many hikers come to Harris to climb Clisham, which at 2,621 feet, is the tallest mountain in the Outer Hebrides.

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