Hebridean Hop 2: Ullapool to Stornoway

Sunday 29th July 2018


I woke up at 4am to the sound of torrential rain and howling gales. No ferry would run in this and, sure enough, by 7am the CalMac app was filled with doom. The 8am ferry would not leave Stornoway in Lewis until at least 10, so the 11:30 return leg on which we were booked would be severely delayed.

Strangely, it turned into a beautiful morning in Ullapool, albeit with a stiff breeze as the horizontal bunting in the picture above attests. However, no such luck in Stornoway where the ferry’s departure got later and later. We spent our time revisiting the Ceilidh Place for coffee, shopping for waterproof trousers – essential items which we realised we’d left at home – and generally enjoying the pretty views.

Eventually, the ferry left Stornoway at 12 noon and, it seemed, everyone in Ullapool turned out to greet its arrival at 14:30. By 15:30 we were onboard and on our way, arriving in Lewis at 6pm, a mere four hours late.

Lewis is a Sabbatarian island and in the past it would not have been possible to arrive on a Sunday because no ferries ran. This has now changed, but most restaurants still close on Sundays, including the one in our hotel. I’d taken the precaution of advance-booking somewhere that was open, about twenty minutes walk away. First, we watched our ferry depart for Ullapool again, then we wandered off to dinner admiring various pieces of sculpture and street art on the way there and back.

And so to bed, hopefully to sleep better than I had the night before.

64 thoughts on “Hebridean Hop 2: Ullapool to Stornoway

  1. Dr Sock October 6, 2018 / 04:25

    Ferry delays are frustrating when you have to be somewhere by a certain time (e.g., to attend a concert or catch plane). Otherwise it’s all just part of the day’s experience.



  2. anotherday2paradise September 13, 2018 / 20:20

    Beautiful blue skies. Glad you eventually made it over. That sculpture in the souwester is certainly dressed for the weather. πŸ™‚


  3. Pit September 13, 2018 / 16:24

    I’ve never heard of a “Sabbatarian Island”. Blogging widens one’s horizon. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Birgit September 10, 2018 / 00:55

    What a prolonged wait but glad you finally got there and enjoyed yourselves. I love the artwork that you showed at the very end…especially the horse.


  5. Steve Schwartzman September 9, 2018 / 00:03

    I understood Sabbatarian but I don’t remember ever seeing the word till now. Texas still has the remnants of some old laws to that effect. For example, car dealerships here have to remain closed on Saturday or Sunday.


      • Steve Schwartzman September 9, 2018 / 13:18

        It’s weird that car dealerships get singled out. Most other businesses are open seven days a week.

        When you say “our trading laws,” do you mean all of Scotland or just your part of it?


  6. Elaine - I used to be indecisive September 8, 2018 / 00:35

    I’m glad you got there in the end! Those blue skies look gorgeous – but not so gorgeous is the horizontal wind that was blowing…


  7. bob September 7, 2018 / 14:15

    I’ve been around Lewis and Harris hillwalking but never visited Stornoway yet. Better than expected going by your photos as I asked a local young resident years ago what it was like living there and his answer was C***. Typical teenager though who probably couldn’t wait to get to a big city to see what he was missing out on.


    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter September 7, 2018 / 18:29

      It has definitely improved a lot since we were last there. I can see why a young person might want to explore more of the world though!


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