Guide on Uig Peninsula on Lewis in Outer Hebrides, with information and details about and around the place including, attractions and places to see, sleeping and eating.
Phone code: 44 (0) 1851
From Gearraidh na h-Aibhne the main A858 runs back to Stornoway, while the B8011 forks west to the remote Uig peninsula in the southwest of the island. Four miles down this road is a turning to the right onto the B8059, which leads to the island of Bearnaraigh (Great Bernera), now connected to the mainland of Lewis by a single-track road bridge. The main settlement on the island is Breacleit (Breaclete), where you can find out about the island's history in the Bernera Museum. Info Apr-Sep Mon-Sat 1100-1800.
The rest of the island is fairly interesting with tiny fishing villages, and one or two brochs and some standing stones. The nicest part, though, is on the north coast, near the tiny hamlet of Bostadh (Bosta), where a lovely little sandy bay looks out to the nearby island of Bearnaraigh Beag (Little Bernera). There are a couple of good B&Bs on the island which both offer evening meals, one in Tobson, on the west coast (Mrs MacDonald, Tel. 44 (0) 1851612347), and the other in Circebost (Kirkibost), on the east coast (Mrs Macauley, Tel. 44 (0) 1851612341).
The B8011 continues across bleak moorland, then cuts north to West Loch Roag, which is fringed by some fine sandy beaches and backed by a much hillier landscape. Just beyond Miabhag (Miavaig) is the turn-off right to Cliobh (Cliff), with its picturesque beach which is unsafe for swimming. A mile further on is the little village of Cnip (Kneep), to the east of which is the beautiful Traigh na Berie, a long sandy beach backed by flat machair which is ideal for camping.
Beyond Miabhag, the eerie peninsula of Gallan Head (see Flickr Photos) provides a setting befitting of a science fiction drama or Cold War Orwellian novel, with empty, decaying Ministry of Defence buildings battered by the Atlantic storms. Wandering around the abandoned site it is easy to form ideas of bizarre, top-secret government experiments and early-warning missile tracking in this seemingly edge-of-the-world place far removed from the unwanted prying eyes of everyday society.
Beyond Ardroil the road continues to Mangersta where at Aird Fenish (see Martin Lawrence photos) is some of the most spectacular and photogenic coastal scenery in the Outer Hebrides. The cliffs plunge dramatically beyond the road to the inaccessible beach below with a series of crumbling sea stacks battered by the fearsome waves and seabirds riding the updraughts adding to the sense of natural beauty, energy and power. Further south at Brenish, about a 10-minute walk from the road, is a menacing blowhole connected to the sea by an underground passage.
Far out into the Atlantic are the haunting Flannan Islands, scene of an unsolved mystery in 1900 following the disappearance of three lighthouse keepers. Various explanations have been put forward over the years, ranging from a freak-wave in stormy weather, to a monster sea serpent or even a dispute and fight between the men, but whatever the real reason the legend continues. For possible boat trips to the Flannan Islands contact Island Cruising in Uig, Tel. 01851 672381.
At Timsgearraidh (Timsgarry) are the Traigh Chapadail (Uig sands) at the village of Eadar Dha Fhadhail (Adroil). This is the loveliest of all the beaches on Lewis, with miles of sand dunes and machair, but it is famous for an entirely different reason. It was here in 1831 that a crofter dug up the 'Lewis Chessmen', 78 pieces carved from walrus ivory and belonging to at least eight incomplete chess sets from 12th-century Scandinavia. Some are now in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, but most can be found in the British Museum in London.
Uig Peninsula Hotels & Accommodation
There are a few places to stay around the Uig bay, the best of which is the beautifully located Baile Na Cille Guest House, in Timsgarry, Tel. 672242, F672, It's open Apr-Sep, offers dinner for residents and non-residents alike, and one of the warmest welcomes in the islands.
North of Timsgarry, at Aird Uig, is the Bonaventure restaurant and B&B, Tel. 672474, which serves lunches and dinners of a French/Scottish style. Also try the Gallan Head Hotel (01851 672474) to stay and explore the old derelict base. (see website for accommodation and dining)