North To Ness (Nis)
The travel guide on North to Ness on the Isle of Lewis with information on and about the place. The guide also includes details about sleeping, hotels and accommodation in the area on the north end of the Isle of Lewis.
The A857 leaves Stornoway and runs northwest through 11 miles of moorland to Barabhas (Barvas). Peat used to be the main source of domestic fuel used on the islands, but has been replaced in most cases by oil, gas or electricity.
Just beyond Barabhas a sign points left to the Morvern Art Gallery, which has a café and is well worth a visit. A few miles further on is a turning right to Baile an Trùiseil (Ballantrushel), site of the huge Clach an Trùiseil, a 20-ft monolith (the largest in Europe), which was the scene of the last major battle on the island, fought between the Morrisons of Nis and the MacAuleys of Uig.
This is the first of a number of prehistoric sights between here and Siadar (Shader) which may be of interest to the keen archaeologist, but otherwise there's little of note on the road north to Nis as it passes through the typical crofting townships of Coig Peighinnean Buirgh (Five Penny Borve), Gàbhsann bho Dheas (South Galson), Dail (Dell), Suainebost (Swainbost). In saying that, those interested in buying souvenirs should look in at Alex and Sue Blair's Borgh Pottery, by the bridge at Coig Peighinnean. Here you'll find a wide range of beautiful and original domestic and decorative ware. Info Tel. 01851 850345. Mon-Sat 0930-1800.
Tàbost (Habost), the next village on the route, is the home to both Taigh Dhonnchaidh (an arts and music centre in the house of the late well known pianist Duncan Morrison) and Ness Historical Society (the first such society set up on the islands which begun in 1977).
The road continues north, passing through a number of straggling villages that collectively make up Nis (Ness), until it ends at the fishing village of Port Nis (Port of Ness). It's a lovely spot, with a picturesque little harbour and golden sweep of beach enclosed by steep cliffs. Each September the locals head out to the island of Sula Sgeir, (see Flickr photoset) 30 miles to the north, for the annual cull of young gannets (or gugas), which are considered something of a delicacy by the people of Lewis. A few minutes to the northwest, the Butt of Lewis lighthouse forms the most northerly tip of the Outer Hebrides.
Just before Port Nis, is Lìonal, (Lionel) where the B8015 turns off right and leads to the start of the 10-mile coastal trail that works it way round to Tòlstadh (Tolsta North) and the beautiful beaches of Traigh Mhor and Garry (see some more photos for an idea). Numerous shielings pepper the landscape from an earlier era when local crofters drove their cattle to the summer pastures in the island's interior. The beaches can be reached much more easily by road north from Stornoway. For details of the coastal walk, see the tourist information centre in Stornoway or visit www.visithebrides.com
Another minor road heads northwest to the tiny hamlet of Eòropaidh (Eoropie) (pronounced 'Yor-opee'). By the road junction that leads to Rubha Robhanais is the ancient Teampull Mholuaidh (St Moluag's Church), thought to date from the 12th century and restored to its present state in 1912. It is now used on certain Sundays by Stornoway's Episcopal Church. From Eòropaidh a narrow road runs to the lighthouse at Rubha Robhanais (Butt of Lewis), which marks the nothernmost tip of the Outer Hebrides. It's a great place for spotting seabirds or whales and dolphins, but also very wild and windy. Half a mile back down the road a path leads down to the tiny beach of Port Stoth, which is more sheltered.
North To Ness (Nis) Hotels & Accommodation
There are several options should you wish to stay in this part of the island. At Gàbhsann bho Dheas (South Galson), halfway between Barabhas and Port Nis, is the friendly and beautifully restored 18th-centuryGalson Farm Guest House, Tel. 01851 850492. Cheaper, more basic accommodation is available in theGalson Farm Bunkhouse (same phone number). Other accommodation on this route includes Heatherview Bed and Breakfast (no website found) in Gabhsann Bho Thuath, Tel 01851 850781; Tom Gorm Bed and Breakfast (website down or not found) just off the main route in Tàbost, Tel 01851 810661. If you are looking for self catering you will find 8 properties on this route.