Port of Ness is on the north east coast of Lewis, a short distance to the south of the Butt of Lewis. The harbour itself is an amazing construction, with a narrow entrance and then an inner section tucked away around the corner. An indication of the wild sea conditions that this part of the coast must experience at times. Located at the north end of a very picturesque and wide bay, it is the departure point each year for the ten men of Ness that undertake the annual guga (Gannet) hunt on Sula Sgeir. Sula Sgeir is a small, desolate island, out in the Atlantic, forty miles north west of Lewis. The Community of Ness was granted the only exemption, under UK and EU law, allowing them to hold their annual hunt and to catch and kill 2000 birds. The men live there for two weeks, sleeping in stone bothies that have stood there for a thousand years, and have to take with them everything they will need during their stay. The boat that takes them out returns to port, once everything has been unloaded and transported ashore in a small dinghy, and the men won’t see anyone from the mainland until the boat returns two weeks later, weather permitting, to bring them home again.
it remains a crofting and fishing community but the tourists are catered for with accommodation of various types, two restaurants, a little tea room and craft shop, a gallery, Sallie Avis Designer Harris Tweed garments and Breanish Tweed. Breanish Tweed produce the most wonderful fabrics using Shetland wool, cashmere, silk, vicuna and combinations of these fibres. The designs and colours are extra special and worth every £ ( or £££££££s!) you spend there. Iain Finlay MacLeod (Breanish Tweed) also has other special talents – he is a creative writer and director. As well as fiction, he writes for theatre, television and radio.
As this was the last day of our holiday a walk was required, to give the dogs a good run before their long day in the car and on the ferry, and to give us a good dose of Hebridean air to keep us going until our next visit. We chose to park at Borve cemetery and walk across the machair to the shore. The sky was blue and the sea even more so. And despite the strong wind, it was warm! A wonderful walk was had by all and as we walked back across the machair towards the cemetery the older gravestones, standing proud on the high ground, resembled a circle of ancient standing stones.
Leaning against the small building, at the cemetery, were a row of plot numbers. Never seen this before and we wondered if they were redundant numbers or were waiting to be allocated a place within the cemetery. The view southwards from this spot was stunning. A wide, open landscape with the hills of north Harris in the distance.
Our day ended with a visit to Tiumpan Head. The air was filled with sea birds and we saw dolphins, Minke whale and, we think, a Basking Shark. Whatever the latter was, it was big and moving very slowly just beneath the surface of the water.