The Isle of Harris is one small island in the Hebrides off the North Western edge of The British Isles. It offers a landscape of mountains, heather moors, rock wilderness, sea-scapes of countless islets in The Sound of Harris and unrivalled beaches and rocky coastal scenery, all set in Celtic history and folklore stretching back into the mists of time
Arrive in the summer to enjoy the colourful grasses and wild flowers of the famous ‘machair’ or in the autumn to catch the purple hues of the flowering heather. Hire our boat or bring your own to explore the wildlife of the islands in The Sound: Killegray, Ensay, Shillay, and Pabbay, to name but a few. Or, don your walking boots and head up to the summit of Roneval, (the highest peak in South Harris), to enjoy the setting sun over the islands in The Sound and, if it’s a clear day, over the much-fabled island of St Kilda.
One is always close to nature here, in all its moods. The sea, birds, and wildlife, are of constant interest. Whales, porpoises and basking sharks can be seen from any headland. Seals bask on the rocks at low tide. Sit quietly on any tranquil beach for a moment or two and an otter, or even a red deer, is likely to pass by, while golden eagles soar above.
The west of Harris is laced with miles of beaches washed by the Atlantic surf of the Gulf Stream. Iron-age men raised their standing stones here to measure the path of the seasons and later the Vikings beached their galleys in sheltered lochs. Druids built their places of Worship in their turn. On the East Coast the fifteenth century St Clement’s church is outstanding and contains the magnificent tomb of Alexander MacLeod, which he prepared for himself before his death in 1547. Much further back Neolithic man also lived here; leaving his saucer carvings at this favoured fishing places.
Bonnie Prince Charlie passed this way in 1746 as he fled from the avenging English Redcoats after the battle of Culloden. Close to here he disguised himself as Flora MacDonald’s maidservant, before sailing, ” Over the Sea to Skye “.
Craft and Industry
The island is the home of Harris Tweed. It can still be seen being woven by hand only a small distance from ‘Am Bothan’. Now, this old industry has given way to the fishing of shellfish, which is landed in quantity in the harbour nearby. Lovers of seafood will delight to dine upon the riches of these crystal clear waters: prawns, squat lobsters, lobsters, crabs and scallops are all readily available to tempt your palette, as is salmon.
A warm Celtic welcome awaits all who come, whether their interests be in outdoor activity, contemplative relaxation, or to be immersed in the history and music of this remote ‘Island in the West’. The landscape, the sea, and the people, with their Gaelic language and culture, will surely combine to offer you a truly unique holiday experience.
Taransay – Castaway 2000
On January 1st 2000 the BBC placed 30 volunteers on the windswept island of Taransay intending to leave them there, castaway, for a year and to see what happened in the process: a social experiment rather than a survival one. Whatever opinions viewers world-wide may have formed about the ‘Castaways’ and their endeavours on thing holds true, the island of Taransay possesses a mystical beauty that is not easy to capture in words alone.
In the summer months its inviting beaches offer a welcome seat of calm: in the winter months the picture changes as its westerly face endures the onslaughts of the unforgiving gales. Inhabited since 300 AD, the island is dotted with countless reminders of a fascinating history: burial chambers, standing stones and blackhouse ruins. The ‘Castaways’ experience of life on the island was surely much removed from the hardships faced by former inhabitants. Why not take a stroll along any one of the chain of beaches on the West Coast of Harris to look out over The Sound of Taransay to this unique island?
Have a look at some information on the Sound of Harris.