Summer 2022: Great Bernera and Butt of Lewis

Great Bernera

Two of the walks we did on Lewis were outside our local area of Uig. Great Bernera is an island just to the east of Uig, reached by a short bridge. The Butt of Lewis is its most northerly point.

Great Bernera (Beàrnaraigh)

Our walk began in Breacleit where there is a community café. We hoped to start with a morning coffee but, sadly, it was shut, so off we went in an undercaffeinated state.

We headed up the west coast of the island, a rocky landscape with several small lochs. Sites included a house with definite potential and a stone-built lobster pool.

As we approached the north of the island we walked down Bostadh Glen where there is a reconstructed Iron Age house. This was open, but as a large party on a guided walk had just arrived, and it is a small house, we decided to give it a miss.

Bostadh Iron Age House

We spent time exploring the beautiful beach you can see behind the house above. The bell is part of an art project, Time and Tide, one of 12 bells installed around Britain to be rung by high tides.

From Bostadh, we walked back to Breacleit by road. The monument commemorates the Bernera Riot of 1874, part of the campaign for security of tenure that eventually resulted in the Crofters’ Act. It was erected in 1992 using stones from every croft on the island. We made some new friends at a roadside “Honesty Box” stall. I can’t remember if we bought any eggs from them, but we often do when we see them at road ends like this.

On the drive back, we stopped at the bridge back onto mainland Lewis – or rather, the two bridges. The original single-track road bridge, known locally as The Bridge Over The Atlantic, was opened in 1953 following pressure from local communities who had threatened to blow up rocks and create their own causeway if they didn’t get their way. By 2020 this bridge was in danger of crumbling away and was no longer suitable for heavy vehicles. A replacement was opened in December 2021 and the old bridge is now set out with picnic tables. Climbing above it, we explored some standing stones and a lovely view before resuming our journey home.

Butt of Lewis

Eòropaidh Beach

This glorious walk started from Eòropaidh Beach and followed the Ness Coastal Path to the Butt of Lewis lighthouse before returning by road. As is often the case in coastal areas, there was a sad monument to those lost at sea, in this case two fishing boat crews from 1885. The memorial was placed here in Cunndal Bay in 2010.

The walk round the cliffs was stunning.

Then the lighthouse started to come into view. Like most in Scotland it was constructed by the Stevenson family, in this case in 1862.

The Butt of Lewis also marks the end of the Hebridean Way which John completed on his bike in 2021, so he had to have his picture taken there again. I just did a bit of posing.

We continued round the coast past the sandy cove of Port Stoth to a small bridge out onto the sea stack of Dun Eistean, site of a late medieval fort traditionally known as the stronghold of Clan Morrison.

The route now took us back down the road to Eòropaidh where we looked (from the outside – it wasn’t open) at the tiny 12th century church of St Moluag’s before returning to our car.

This is my last Lewis post – after our week here we took the ferry back to the mainland to spend another night in Ullapool before heading east for the final leg of our tour: The Black Isle.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.


  1. Hi Anabel – stunning part of our land … fascinating to see your photos with the notations of life back in the 1800s and before. The Time and Tide project I hadn’t come across before – how fascinating … thank you for the info and for all the views. Congratulations to John on walking his cycle path! Cheers to you both – Hilary


  2. Oh, how very beautiful! Every time I read one of your travel posts it makes me think we should definitely start planning a return trip to Scotland. Last time, in 1999, we only scratched the surface. That house would be a “Grand Design” participant’s dream come true.


  3. You got some great photos, the scenery looks stunning. I like the view with the lobster pool and Port Stoth looks gorgeous. Did you hear the Time and Tide bell ringing? I’ve seen the Anglesey one and the one at Morecambe but never been there when the tide has been in.


  4. Looks like you had better weather than I did when I visited Lewis last year. Stunning scenery whatever the weather though. I need to go back sometime, but as I often say, so many things to see and so little time.
    I’ve seen one of those time and tide bells in Anglesey and there’s another in Morecambe, not so far from here


  5. The coastal views are just stunning. Reminds me a little of the Monterey coast in California, with the rocky cliffs and very blue water. I was surprised that just one family built most of the lighthouses.


  6. You got good weather for it. My last trip to Lewis the forecast was for coast to coast sunshine all week, which it was for everywhere else- except Lewis which had thick sea mist because of a cold sea /warm air difference. Reminded me of 1970s summer holidays in Aberdeen with the sea haar there.


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