Friday’s Frolic

IMG_0187

Given the importance of many archaeological sites on the various islands of the Outer Hebrides chain, we took Friday off to travel up to Harris and Lewis to see some of them firsthand.  The trip involved leaving at 5:15AM, which was not a popular choice for the students, to be sure. We drove up to the uppermost section of North Uist and caught the ferry to Harris. Once there, we drove over to Lewis and out to Callanish to see the famous standing stones.

IMG_9992

IMG_0019

IMG_0020

IMG_0021

There are actually multiple stone circles at Callanish and Niall had us stop at Callanish III to talk about the cultural and historical importance of these groupings before we ventured a little bit farther along to the main stone circle at Callanish.

IMG_0026

IMG_0028

The main group of stone at Callanish is very impressive. Unlike Stonehenge where visitors are kept at a distance to protect the stones, at Callanish you can walk amongst the stones and get a much better sense of the entire grouping. I kept imagining what the rituals must have felt like for the Neolithic people who made and used them as part of the social, political, and religious life of their communities.

IMG_0046

IMG_0053 (1)

IMG_0050IMG_0049

After Callanish we drove a short distance up to Dun Carloway Broch, one of the best preserved brochs in all of Scotland. It has been somewhat robbed of stones on one face, but it is in amazing shape. The students had a great time climbing all over the broch while Niall explained to them the importance of brochs as part of social display among the ancient Iron Age inhabitants of Scotland.  These are truly amazing structures, originally standing more than three stories tall, with the most exceptional examples standing 10-15 meters in height.

IMG_0057

IMG_0060

IMG_0061

IMG_0069

IMG_0106

IMG_0100

IMG_0071

IMG_0082

After seeing Dun Carloway we drove to Stornaway for a late lunch/early dinner. It is the largest city in the Outer Hebrides and we were able to find a great hotel restaurant with incredible reasonable prices for some exceptional food.

IMG_0135

IMG_0131

IMG_0129

They even had a chip shop that caught our attention!

IMG_0127

Our final stop of the tour before returning home was St. Clement’s Church, an amazing little chapel and burial ground for the McLeods and MacDonalds. It included two impressive burials within the sanctuary and the graveyard had a monument to a local resident who was said to have fought at the Battle of Falkirk and “defeated a dragon in hand to hand combat.” How is that for an epitaph?

IMG_0147

IMG_0190

IMG_0173

IMG_0176

IMG_0155

 

One thought on “Friday’s Frolic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s