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Dun Eistean, Clan Morrison, Lewis, Scotland

Thursday, October 01, 2009

This afternoon, I am focusing on an historic site on the Isle of Lewis, Hebrides which does not appear on many of the standard tourist trail maps, but is, nevertheless of such historic significance that Glasgow University undertook a prolonged archaeological investigation over the period 2000-2004.

The site is situated at the north of the island, close to the Butt of Lewis. The site can be accessed by car but this entails navigating a rough farm track over a distance of about 1 mile together with a couple of farm gates.

Upon arrival the visitor will not be presented with the usual stone ruins and the like but a mound on a small islet which can only be accessed via a footbridge over a ravine which in its day would have formed a natural, defensive moat. It is believed that, up until late medieval times, this was the power base of the Morrisons whose authority may have derived from the Lords of the Isles but collapsed when the Lordship came to an end in the late 15th century.

Aerial photographs of the apparently innocuous mound reveal the outlines of buildings which, as a result of archaeological investigations by Glasgow University 2000-2004, have revealed a complex site comprising:

  • A rectangular dwelling with central hearths.
  • A Gatehouse and storage buildings or shelters.
  • A Triangular enclosure which defended the west of the island (facing the sea).
  • Corn-drying kilns and a barn used for storing and drying barley.
  • A settlement area with a central living space together with turf and stone buildings.
  • Pond to collect fresh water.
  • A rectangular tower or keep which once may have been 4 metres (12 feet) high.
  • A defensive perimeter wall of turf with stone facing.
More information and photographs can be found at the Ness Heritage Centre at Habost which is a combined local museum and family history centre for the locality.

The small island is now owned by Clan Morrison Society.

Contact me for more information and/or private tours of Lewis, which is a fascinating island full of history, heritage, wildlife, spectacular scenery, Gaelic culture and much more.

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Callanish Stones, Lewis, Hebrides, Scotland

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today I am posting information on the famous Callanish standing stones located in the Outer Hebrides which comprise one of the best prehistoric sites in Britain.

The video and still images presented here focus on Callanish I which is just one of many stone circles erected on the once fertile sandy soils around Loch Roag and which are different in size, shape and architecture. Of the group Callanish I is the most dramatic.

Callanish I was probably built in several phases and evolved into a complex, with echoes of a Celtic cross. It comprises a diminutive stone circle, a central stone, an avenue, three rows and a chambered tomb.

In my view Lewis is worth visiting just to see Callanish alone but there are many other historical sites on the island to make visit worthwhile.

video

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Isle of Lewis Farm Tour

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This evening I am presenting some images from a recent visit to a small farm on the isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.

Here is a magnificent specimen of a Highland Cow

Belted, Galloway Cattle feeding.


Greedy sheep. In fact this sheep was a former pet lamb and is used to being hand fed.


Sheep and young lamb
Newly born lamb and mother arrive at farm at dusk.

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Isle of Lewis Archaeology

Monday, April 21, 2008

This evening I am presenting an image of an exposed and eroding piece of archaeology found on a cliff at Galson in the north of Lewis. I have other images of the site but blogger seems very slow and unwilling to publish them. The remains are thought to be iron age. Nearby is believed to be the remains of a Viking settlement.

I will try and upload the other images tomorrow.

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Isle of Lewis Tour Whale Bone Arch

Sunday, April 20, 2008

This evening I am presenting an image from a recent tour of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

This whale bone arch is situated between two houses in Bragar. The two bones are the lower jaw bones of a Blue Whale and were removed from a beached whale in 1920 together with the harpoon which was still in the whale together with intact explosive charge.

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Isle of Lewis Iron Age Village Tour

Saturday, April 19, 2008

This evening I am presenting some images taken at lsle of Great Bernera which is small island connected to Lewis (Outer Hebrides) by a bridge.

At Bosta in the north west, the island has a beautiful beach and an 'Iron Age' village. One of the Iron Age houses has been re-constructed and is open to the public during the summer. These houses are very similar to the 'Black Houses' of Lewis which were occupied by crofters up until the 1970s.




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Isle of Lewis Standing Stones Tour

Friday, April 18, 2008

This evening I am presenting some images of a recent tour to the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.

This island is very rich in prehistory. provided below are images of just a few of the prehistoric stone circles with which this island is richly endowed.


The next two images are of Callanish III (Cnoc Fillibhir Bheag). It appears to comprise a double circle with the inner comprising four erect stones and the outer eight standing stones including five recumbents. There is a hint of Pythagorean algebra, long before Pythagoras.



These stones are found within Callanish II (Cnoc Ceann a' Ghearaidh) which stands within site of the main Callanish site discovered next. The stones form an ellipse of seven stones, two of which are prostrate with a ruined cairn near the centre.

The following are images of the famous Callanish stones which comprises one of the most significant megalithic complexes in Europe. The next four images are of Callanish 1 which consists of rows of Lewisian gneiss arranged in a cross shape. At the centre is a monolith and small chambered cairn. Absolutely stunning!





Standing stone at Ballantrushal. This is the tallest standing stone in Scotland and stands some 5.7M (18.7 feet) high. Its purpose is unknown but there is speculation that the monolith could have been a prehistoric sea-marker.


This is Steinacleit, Lower Shader. This site contains the remains of a chambered cairn with upright slabs. In turn, the Cairn sits within an oval some 269 ft (82M) in diameter. The site dates from 5000BC to 3000BC

Overall these sites are fascinating examples of the monuments left by the Mesolithic and Neolithic peoples.

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Isle of Harris Tour

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This evening I am posting some images of a recent visit to Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

Harris is well known for the eponymous Harris Tweed cloth which is still a cottage industry with the wool spun in private houses.

Here is a small shop we visited where the wool is spun on site. I bought some rolls of cloth to have made into trousers (pants). This outlet is set in a superb, remote location and definitely not "touristy"-a genuine traditional operation mainly selling traditional Harris Tweed jackets.

Here is am image of the loom which, unfortunately, was not in operation on the day of our visit.

Here is the inside of the well stocked shop.

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Tour Isle of Lewis Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This evening I am presenting some images from my recent tour of Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

This is the section featuring this unique group of restored thatched cottages which reflect life in a typical crofting township of the early 20th century.

Included is a demonstration of weaving Harris Tweed which still continues to this day in island cottages.

This is a truly fascinating site in an idyllic setting of Carloway (when the sun shines!) and is well worth a visit.


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Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln Tour Isle of Lewis

Monday, April 14, 2008

This evening i am presenting some images from Isle of Lewis tour . These show a renovated pair of thatched buildings used in the past to convert barley grain into meal using water power.

The buildings reflect the Scandinavian influence on the Western Isles of Scotland.


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Isle of Lewis Broch Tour

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This evening I am presenting some images of a recent visit to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

Below are images of a 2000 year old iron age Broch which is located at Carloway above Loch an Duin on a rocky knoll. Brochs are unique to Scotland and may have been constructed as combined high status and defensive dwellings. They were built with two concentric walls of stone with a stairway or gallery within the walls, a feature which may have been a very effective climate control system.





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Isle of Lewis Wind Farm

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A proposal to construct Europe's largest wind farm on the Outer Hebrides island of Lewis has been scaled back from 234 to 181 turbines. In addition the development will entail an extensive road network, pylons (towers) , miles of cabling, sub-stations and quarries. This reduction has been made to mollify green campaigners and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The original proposal received about 4000 objections, including governmental agencies.

Protest groups, which include Moorland Without Turbines believe that irreplaceable peat bogs on the island will be destroyed.

The development is sponsored by Lewis Wind Power, a partnership between Amec and British Energy.

Visit Lewis and the Hebrides with catswhiskerstours.

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