Monday, 18 September 2006

West Side

<![CDATA[ Last week, I was over on the West Side, showing an antipodean visitor round. Managed to visit three villages there, Gearrannan, Dalmore and Dalbeg.

Gearrannan Blackhouse VillageGearrannan contains the Blackhouse Village, the restored blackhouses at the end of the road by the beach. I hope they have by now shifted those containers by the gate at the bottom. They smelled as if they had recently contained dead sheep. Otherwise, I was pleased to note that the thatch on the houses has now been renewed. It looked worn in the spring. I always like Gearrannan; at one time I reached there, having walk from Borrowston round to the Lamishader lighthouse and coming in from the west. Some great views can be had when walking east over the clifftops towards Dalmore. Looking west, you see Old Hill (the 270 ft high hump of rock north of Great Bernera) and Gallan Head, the cape off Aird Uig.

You can walk from Gearrannan to Dalmore - please be very careful near clifftops if you do. It takes about an hour and a half, follow the posts. Dalmore has a great beach, if lined with large boulders and coastal defence works. Swimming here is dangerous, but it's great for windsurfing. The cemetery stands immediately above the beach. Dalmore village only contains a handful of houses; the ruins of others dot the hillsides.
Dalmore Beach Dalmore Village
Dalbeg is 40 minutes' walk further east, and a little gem of a place. The loch is filled with rushes and water lilies and a small flock geese swam around. The stack on the right hand side of the beach is quite distinctive. The river flowing into the beach is only 50 or 100 yards long, but in common with many rivers flowing into Lewis beaches, it meanders and changes its path on a regular basis.
Dalbeg Beach
The West Side walk carries on from here, all the way to Bragar. It passes to the north of Shawbost, with the Congested Districts Board Wall between Dalbeg and Shawbost presenting a bit of an obstacle. It's a beautiful coastline walk from Gearrannan to Bragar, which can be done on a day. Please be careful on a windy day; beware of the cliffs. ]]>

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