Today started with another beautiful sunny morning but by 9am the dark clouds had rolled in again. Because we had plans for dinner at 6:00 we decided to make today’s jaunt a shorter one. We went west again but this time not up north Bostadh Iron Age Village. After a severe storm in 1992 features of an Iron Age village became visible where sand had been blown away. Five houses were excavated and another left untouched but they had to be reburied to protect them from weather damage. A house has been replicated using the techniques of the day and is safe above the water line. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to see inside it, the entrance has been blocked and there is no notice explaining when it will be reopened but I did manage to get a photo of the inside and you can see the central fireplace. The house is an impressive construction.
The village is on the shore of a stunning bay and there is a “Tide Bell” visible. I have no idea how it works, it seems to me that by the time the bell rang anyone on the beach would already be in a dire situation. Maybe I’ll be able to find more information when I have access to the net.
Coming back from the Iron Age village we saw a sheep with devilish horns, there are far more interesting sheep around here than I’ve ever seen in Australia. For such a cold place I’d expect the sheep to have thick, strong fleeces but these sheep lose their wool if they’re not shorn and we’ve seen sheep which have already lost most of their wool and the weather definitely isn’t warm. Today did however turn into the nicest, sunniest day we’ve had.
We crossed the Bernera Bridge which is the only reason the island of Bernera is inhabited now. It was built in 1953, prior to that there was a ferry on demand and small boats were also used to transport people and goods. The first truck on Bernera was a 5ton Bedford lorry taken across on wooden planks laid across a fishing boat. Many islands around Lewis are uninhabited because crossing to facilities has become too difficult without a bridge to the mainland.
Lena has been searching for family graves and it’s been interesting seeing the different headstones and layouts. One thing I have found interesting is that a many headstones include the croft number.
One resource which would seem to be inexhaustible here is stone so it’s no wonder most memorials are constructed using the available stone. Creative designs are everywhere and not only in memorials but also buildings eg Visitors Centres, fences, shelters, marker cairns and of course houses.
For dinner we met up with just a few of Alex’s cousins, people he hasn’t seen for 39 years. The last time we saw them we were touring around on Trail Bikes and sleeping in a tent but Uncle Iain insisted we stayed at their house. I remember the young lad, Murdo, taking us out in the fishing boat to check the net and finding a salmon that had a big bite taken out of it by a seal. That young lad is now the father of seven, the youngest is 15!