Oct. 19th, 2010

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cal3, originally uploaded by Janey M.

On our second full day in the Hebrides, the weather made up its mind. Unfortunately it decided to rain.

Probably, we should just have put the kettle on, and watched it from inside our little flat, but instead we headed up NORTH, and did HISTORY - Bostadh, Calanais, Dun Carloway, the Blackhouses up the west coast of Lewis. It was cold and very wet. The aspiration to get one of those gorgeous sunrise or sunset shots at Calanais was definitely scuppered.

The seemingly randomly scattered stones in the sand dunes at Bodstadh are easy to miss, but you're drawn into the darkness and the peaty smoke of the reconstructed house. A wonderful smell, that of a peat fire, with something of the single malt about it.

As for Calanais, it didn't make the same impression on me as Brodgar or Stenness in Orney. It seems to be the number one tourist draw on Lewis, and even on a Monday morning pouring down with rain, the site was busy with people who were working in league with the weather to make sure there was no chance of getting a decent photograph. The people of the Western Isles seem to like their display boards. The visitor centre at Calanais had a nice cafe, but I'm still not quite sure what the £2.50 paid for. The stones can be visited without paying to see the exhibition.

Dun Carloway would have been spectacular in the sunshine, but was only miserable, and a offerer of meagre driness in the now torrential rain. Whilst there, we saw the most waterproof family ever. Seriously, they were dressed for trawling.

There are several blackhouses on Lewis, in various states of repair. Dark, low-roofed and smokey, but warm and solid. The houses at Gearrannan were still lived until 1974.

We finished the day with a brief wander round Stornoway, which wasn't as depressing as we had feared, and then we headed home, where we met our dear friend for the week, Clyde the sheepdog. We were also very excited to find out the trip we'd booked to St Kilda would be going ahead, so kept our fingers crossed for better weather the next day.

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