After a good sleep at the Heb Hostel in Stornoway, we were off to start Day 2 of our Compass Buster Tour!
Greg informed us that Day 2 would be just as action packed as Day 1 had been and we were excited to be on our way! After grabbing some breakfast from Tesco (and maybe another snack or two), we were back on our yellow bus and headed towards more adventures and exploring in the Outer Hebrides.
The Outer Hebrides is a chain of islands located just off the western coast of mainland Scotland. Even in the short time that we spent here, we could see that people here have a very unique and special way of life – with Gaelic being the predominant language and their own traditions, culture and customs. They are also surrounded by some pretty wild, stunning and beautiful scenery, which we were lucky enough to explore on this trip!
As we were on the Isle of Lewis, it was only natural that we would have to visit its northernmost point: The Butt of Lewis!
“The headland, which lies in the North Atlantic, is frequently battered by heavy swells and storms and is marked by the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.”
Once we stepped off the bus, we already noticed the wind. This would be a common reoccurrence, as we would be visiting many cliffs while in Scotland. After seeing so much of the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland, it was a welcoming sight yet again!!!
Greg gave us free rein to explore as much as we wanted and we took the opportunity to take as many pictures as we could! Our gazing pictures, which started in Ireland, continued on this tour as well…
The Butt of Lewis actually has some of the oldest rocks in all of Europe! They were formed in the Precambrian period over 3000 million years ago! And look at us – stepping foot on these historic rocks in the present day!!!
The wind was really picking up and we could tell by the waves that continued to beat against the base rocks of the cliff! They really do make a thunderous yet calming noise as they crash!
We even spotted seals just hanging out in the water, braving the choppy waters and peering curiously at us!
The basins around the cliffs were amazing in colour. I can only imagine what the water would have looked like on a sunny day. Another reason to return to the Isle of Lewis (as you will later find out).
The Lighthouse, which sits on the site, was built in the 1860’s by David Stevenson. It was built to aid in shipping. It was constructed of red brick and never painted. It was said to be one of his most benign works but even so it has played an important role guiding ships away from the cliffs!
There is not much known about the lighthouse station’s early days but it has changed much over the past century. A plaque outside of the station states that the current equipment was added in 1905.
“The lighthouse continued to be supplied by sea until as recently as 1960. The communications wires strung from the lighthouse are associated with its role in acting as a relay for the Flannan Isles lighthouse to the west. Since 1998 the Butt of Lewis lighthouse has itself also been operated automatically. Nearby is a foghorn which ceased operation in 1995.”
Even with the stormy weather, we couldn’t stop snapping pictures. We will let them speak for themselves:
When someone says “Let’s take a selfie.” And you BOTH take out your cameras… Hahaha!
After we had enough of this side of the Butt of Lewis (ha ha ha), Greg decided to take us to Port Stoth beach – which was on the other side of the road we came on.
Okay, imagine what this beach would look like on a sunny day. GORGEOUS! Even on a cloudy blustery day, the water was this colour. It’s almost tropical – if you forget about the wind and chill!
Port Stoth Beach was used to land all the materials for the building for the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse! It continued to be used to bring materials to the lighthouse until the 1960’s! The ramps that were used are still on the beach today!
Of course, I had to somehow prove that I had been there by writing my initials in the sand! Maybe if it was a warmer day and I wasn’t sick, then I would have gone into the water for a wee dip of my toes!
As we walked back up the slipway, we caught a glimpse of our lovely “Wild and Sexy” yellow bus waiting for us to continue our adventures!
From Vancouver with Love,
Ioana and Natalie
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