Tag Archives: Scotland

The bell tolls for paradise lost

Bostadh Beach with its bell on Great Bernera, off the Isle of Lewis is an enchanting place. It is not a new discovery as evidenced by the Iron Age Village unearthed by a storm in 1992. Trying to encapsulate its charms with my humble words is a futile task; therefore, this will be a photo essay. In fact as with many places like this only a visit can convey the full experience.

Bostadh Beach
Bostadh Beach

Time and Tide Bell

In 2010, Bostadh was selected as a location for the installation of one of Marcus Vergette’s twelve Time and Tide Bells that are to be installed around the British Isles at the rate of one per year. The waves at high tide move a paddle which is connected to a striker which sounds the bell albeit reasonable quietly. With the predicted sea level rises over the coming decades the bells will not only toll more frequently but the tones will change subtly according to the height of the tides. It is not intended to be a part of the Dark Mountain Project, , but it fits nicely with the philosophy of civilisation being slowly drowned. The bells will toll more frequently signalling the demise of low-lying habitats around the world. Bostadh is an excellent place to stop and think, and perhaps the bell sounding will stimulate thought of places less fortunate as the tide comes in.

Time and Tide Bell
Time and Tide Bell

Installation of the bell at Bostadh was approved after local consultation and meetings. Objections were received just after the approval had been given. A number of people got in touch complaining that it would spoil the pristine natural environment at Bostadh. I’ve already mentioned the Iron Age village, in addition there is a cemetery, car park, toilets and picnic tables. However, there is little else there. Apart from the toilets there is no building newer than the Iron Age.

But, it seems for some people, a single bell can destroy paradise. But not as fast as the human race is managing to do in the early 21st century.

 

Iron Age Viallage at Bostadh Beach
Iron Age Village at Bostadh Beach
Iron Age Village at Bostadh
Iron Age Village at Bostadh
Inside Iron Age House
Inside Iron Age House

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Deserted beaches, an ancient settlement and islands

This photo essay accompanies my latest post for the Visit Britain Superblog. “In the footsteps of Monty Halls on North Uist“. The Udal Peninsula was one of Monty Halls favourite spots in the Uists in Scotland’s magnificent Western Isles.

View from Udal Peninsula across Harris Sound

View across Harris Sound to the mountainous Isle of Harris.

boat

A boat moored a long way from the nearest habitation.

Pebbles on beach somewhere near elusive cross on wall

Pebbles on the beach near the elusive “Cross on the wall”.

Good sign. Yellow moss on rock

Yellow moss apparently only grows in unpolluted environments.

Ancient wheelhouse

One of the best examples of a wheelhouse in North Uist. This spot was occupied for over 5000 years.

Crop or wild flowers?

Never managed to find out if these were grown as a crop or were natural. They completely covered a crofter’s field.

All photos by author.

 

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

A Scottish Magical Mystery

A Scottish Magical Mystery

 

Coach @ North Uist
Mystery coach, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland


You come across the strangest things while walking in the Outer Hebrides. You can walk all day and not meet another soul, but then, parked up in the middle of the croft is a coach; I immediately start wondering how it got there.

My theory is that a party of tourists from St Albans came to the islands one July and parked up in a grassy field for a picnic. Little did they know that it wasn’t to be their picnic, but that they would be eaten alive by the locals, in a plot lifted from a low budget horror movie. It is a known fact that the midges are at their most bloodthirsty in July. ­čśë

If you had to think up a story of how these coaches end up empty in the middle of nowhere, what would you come up with? I will not accept answers like: “The crofter saw the old coach on ebay for ┬ú4.99 and couldn’t resist it, so bought it and put it there until he thought of a use for it.” Does placing a coach in places like these benefit or degrade the environment?

 

 

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Photo essay: A walk from Dalbeag beach to Shawbost, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

A walk from Dalbeag beach to Shawbost, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Dalmor beach

Instead of a┬ásingle┬ádaily photo, today I have uploaded a number from a short walk along the coast on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. There is a waymarked trail. Just look up the information boards and follow the waymark posts. It is possible to walk from Gearannan to Bragar (10 miles in all). That’s enough writing for now. I hope you enjoy the photos.

DalbeagCoast walk, Isle of LewisCoast walk, Isle of LewisCoast walk, Isle of LewisOf course as we were walking on an August weekend the beaches were busier than usual as you can see from the first photo. I enjoyed watching the sea birds and discovering the numerous natural arches.

 

 

 

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Daily photo: Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln, Lewis, Scotland

Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln, Lewis, Scotland

Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln
This site was walking distance from the cottage I stayed at for a week on the Isle of Lewis. There were hundreds of these in existence in earlier times but now only a few remain. This one was restored by the local schoolchildren. It enabled corn to be milled, using only a small stream as the power source.
Another amazing example of living sustainably, using the sparse energy resources available, in an efficient manner. They knew a lot about practical eco living over a hundred years ago!

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Lews Castle at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Lews Castle at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Lews Castle at Stornoway
Lews Castle and the tree filled park is pretty unique on the Isle of Lewis. If was built by James Matheson who built a fortune in the Chinese Opium Trade. The Mathesons also planted the trees around the castle, even going so far as to import soil from the mainland. The castle was sold with the Isle of Lewis to Lord Leverhume, who gave it to Stornaway Parish in 1923. It is the most imposing sight from the ferry as it arrives from Ullapool.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.