Tuesday, 30 May 2006


<![CDATA[ I was quite surprised to read last week about a novel use for new technologies. When visiting major attractions elsewhere in the UK, one can often hire a hand-held device, which carries recorded information on various aspects of the attraction. Five years ago, I visited the Roman Baths in Bath and was issued with a device on which I had to type in a number, displayed at one part of the building to get further information on it.

Uig Beach on a wet dayThe community at Uig, West Lewis, has gone one better. They have commissioned so-called IPAQ devices, which work on GPS. In other words, if you walk to a "magic circle", the device will play music and information. The information includes historical background, going back to the Iron Age. Local musicians will sing and perform the music. There are 6 magic circles on Traigh Uige [Uig Beach] at Timsgarry, 35 miles west of Stornoway. This beach, one of the largest in the island, was the place where the famous Lewis Chessmen were found during the 19th century. All 90-odd pieces have been removed from Lewis; about a dozen are in a museum in Edinburgh, the others are in the British Museum in London. A replica chessman was recently erected at Ardroil, to the south of the beach, and other replicas stand outside the Woodlands Centre in the Castle Grounds at Stornoway.
Replica chessmen outside the Woodlands Centre
The IPAQs will be available to visitors later this summer through Proiseact nan Eilean (PNE). Although this info is not definite, it stands to reason that they are likely to be issued from the Community Shop at Timsgarry. ]]>

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