Sunday, 5 October 2014

Hebrides 29: Great Bernera

Great Bernera is a small island separated from Lewis by a short causeway, and during the Highland Clearances it was the scene of riots when land-owners were pelted with clods of earth as they tried to implement their eviction orders.  It's rather more peaceful now (thankfully) and this is the view from the causeway.

Great Bernera is significantly rockier than the mainland, with large chunks of Lewisian Gneiss everywhere.  This particular lump was part of a small cliff by the side of the road, next to some standing stones.  Not quite as spectacular as Callanish, but not a coach in sight!

We spotted a sign pointing to the home of Sallie Tyszko, a tapestry artist who lives on Great Bernera.  Cue a short diversion, which turned out to be well worth the effort.  As with the distillery we failed to find the location first time around, but the local chicken population soon put us right when we stopped to consult a map.

This is the view from Sallie's house.  Can you blame her for moving to Great Bernera?

Sallie's workshop is actually a restored black house: a wonderful environment both for her and the goats which provide much of her raw material.

Inevitably, Harriet decided to buy some of the home-spun and dyed wool.  The only difficulty was choosing which colour...

One of Sallie's (highly pampered) goats in the lower part of the restored black house.

Despite appearances, this is not the Mediterranean, but a beautiful sandy beach on the tip of Great Bernera.  It obviously appeals to a certain type of holiday maker, as several people were arriving with packs of food, portable barbecues and guitars.

Great Bernera also host a reconstructed Iron Age house, operated by an enthusiastic lady who was determined to tell us all about it.

This is the closest Great Bernera could get to a tourist coach.  We didn't see a Haggis having any adventures, unfortunately, which was a bit of a pity.

The drive back to Lemreway was hazy and very hot.  Even so the scenery was pretty spectacular, especially as we dropped down into the village itself.  Skye and The Shiants were not as clear as a couple of days previously, but the view was still breathtaking.  Note the abandoned blue van in the penultimate picture, thereby showing that Lewis isn't immune to the "dumping ground" mentality which had been so prevalent on the Uists.

All that remained was to turn the eggs we had been given in the morning into a smoked cheese and onion omelette with all the trimmings.  Yum!