Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hebrides 20: St Columba's Chapel and Tiumpan Head

Having exhausted the delights of Stornoway on a Sunday, and lunched on crisps and bottled water from Engebret's filling station (the only place to buy food) we decided to visit a local attraction: St Columba's Chapel on the Eye peninsula, East of the town.  Well, at least it was open...

Part of the chapel had been covered over, and was now being used to store some of the more fragile mediaeval gravestones.  It was also a home for the local bird population, as can be seen from the guano on the floor.

Having exhausted St Columba's Chapel, and still feeling as though there must be something to do in Stornoway on a Sunday, we drove out to the lighthouse at Tiumpan Head to see if there were any interesting birds there.  Well, there were the usual suspects (mainly cormorants) but nothing particularly exciting.  Rather more worryingly, there was an unearthly - and rather disturbing - howling coming from the lighthouse out-buildings.  Then we spotted the van parked outside...

As a dog lover, Tiumpan Head confirmed everything I felt about commercial kennels.  The dogs had simply been left, presumably locked in their cages, and the only release available to them was to cry out in apparent distress.  This was not a happy place as far as I was concerned.

We stopped off to watch birds on a small loch before driving back through Stornoway and heading home.  On the way we called in at the Loch Erisort Inn which - astonishingly - was both open and serving food.  At 16:30 it wasn't clear whether we were eating lunch or dinner, but who cares?  It turned out that the publican hailed from Huddersfield, and was very talkative (a tautology, I suppose).  The food was good and the atmosphere friendly, so it was definitely a place to visit again later in the week.

Our final call of the day was to the Ravenspoint Hostel, our "local" shop.  Guess what?  It was closed.