Friday, October 12, 2018

Stornoway, Scotland

Stornoway is the largest city in the Outer Hebrides and the capital of Lewis and Harris, the largest island in Scotland and the third largest in the United Kingdom (after Great Britain and Ireland).  About 8,000 people live in Stornoway, which was originally founded by the Vikings in the 9th century, then owned by a sequence of families, one of which built Lews Castle between 1847 and 1854 on a hill overlooking the bay and town (financed by a fortune made in the Chinese opium trade).  The next owners, facing failing business ventures, gave the parish of Stornoway to the people of the town.

 Streets off Stornoway Harbor

This is the land of Harris Tweed and we see a lot of it in the shops.

Harris Tweed

Some serious fishing is also done out of this town and we watch one fisherman feed the seals that surround his boat as he processes his catch.

 Fishing nets and boats

 Something for everyone

From town, we walk over to Lews Castle overlooking the harbor and town, now a hotel, cafe, and museum, and wander through the great rooms.

 Lews Castle

The castle grounds cover 270 ha (667 acres, 2.7 square km, 1 square mile) behind the castle and along the water away from town.  We follow a walking path along the water, watching the working boats come in and out of the harbor and looking at the streams pouring into the bay.

 Along the water, away from town

 Working boats coming in and out

 Streams flowing into the bay

Soon, the path turns inland and we alongside a rushing stream, complete with fishing platforms along the way.

 Path along the streams

Fishing platform

All along the path are benches at the best viewing sites, dedicated to people who lived and worked here.  Each bench is unique and tells a story of someone who loved this land.

 Benches along the path

Eventually, the path turns back toward the castle and we return through the forest, with occasional glimpses of the water and the town across the way.

 Returning through the forest

We walk back through the scenic town and return to our ship, admiring the colorful buildings, local cuisine, sea-related sculptures, and the lone town musician on the way (note the blue sneakers).  Each Stornoway Stack  in the second picture contains black pudding, haggis, chicken, bacon, pastry, and seasoning.

 Local housing and cuisine

 Local sculpture

Local musician

Another great day in a small Scottish island town.

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