Friday, 20 July 2012

THE BUTT OF LEWIS

I have been in some spectacularly windy places on the British coast - Start Point in Devon is one place that springs to mind - but the Butt of Lewis, the most northerly spot in the Western isles, must be the daddy of them all, having made the Guinness Book of Records for being the windiest place in the UK. Needless to say, the seas around here are correspondingly treacherous, hence the presence of the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, built by David and Thomas Stevenson and completed in 1862. The first thing about the lighthouse that strikes the visitor is its appearance: it is largely made up of red bricks, a contrast from the usual whitewash. The Butt of Lewis is popular with birdwatchers, being home to many seabirds.

The nearby village of Eoropaidh is the most northerly village on the island. There is a tea-room here with a real-time webcam for those wanting to check on the weather conditions before venturing up here. The village is the location of the centuries-old St Moluag's Church, named after a 6th century Irish Saint. The church fell into ruin during the 19th century, but was restored in 1912. Nearby is the Port of Ness, from where the menfolk sail to the island of Sula Sgeir, 30 miles to the north, each September to harvest the "gugas", or gannets, a local delicacy which helps the inhabitants through the winter.

Map of the area.





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