Things to do

Things to do and places to see…well…why did you come here?

Fishing

Carloway in the autumn
This crofting township is surrounded by hill lochs teeming with wild Brown Trout. Salmon fishing is also available locally on the Carloway Angling Association waters of the River Carloway and the feeder lochs of Laxavat Ard and Laxavat Iorach – contact us if interested and we can arrange day or week permits. Consult Fish Hebrides for further information on fishing other waters throughout the island. For those who prefer to bob around in a boat rather than stay on terra firma, excellent sea fishing is available locally from Carloway harbour. Stornoway Sea Angling Club moor their club vessel in Carloway harbour for most of the year.

Walking

Summer Flowers
There are many invigorating walks available locally and laminated maps are in your welcome pack giving start and finish locations and approximate walking times and distances.

Bird watching

Carloway estuary is a rich and varied habitat and being largely tidal offers something different every day. Carloway township common grazings and associated moorland is part of the island wide internationally recognised peatland habitat and is protected under the RAMSAR Convention.

Crofting Activities

Potato Ridging
Depending on the time of year of your visit you may be able to participate in sheep shearing or lend a hand at lambing or calving time. Check out Heather Isle Meats for details of a taste of the islands available by mail order. Calving of our Aberdeen Angus cows is normally a DIY activity as this native Scottish breed is renowned for ease of calving and mothering instinct. Have a go at peat cutting the old traditional way and then you’ll have a bit more respect for the dark lumps you tossed into the stove the previous evening! Participation in these activities does carry an element of risk and danger and your participation is undertaken entirely at your own discretion. Dogs cannot be allowed near any of the animals.

Harris Tweed weaving

Spring Lambing
This internationally famous cloth is still locally hand woven by weavers at their homes thus qualifying for the Orb Stamp which guarantees the authenticity of the cloth as being made from pure Scottish wool and handwoven in the Western Isles. The modern looms now weave a wide cloth as opposed to the older models where the cloth width restricted the design cutters. Today the weavers use a combination of both looms to ensure all requirements and tastes are catered for. A visit can be arranged by prior appointment to the premises of a local Harris Tweed craftsman weaver, contact John Maclean at Garynahine Harris Tweed www.garynahineharristweed.com. A short walk along the single track road takes you to Harris Tweed Textiles, one of the last remaining independent producers of this highly prized quality fabric in the Western Isles. There are numerous outlets for Harris Tweed products in the island but locally contact fiona.maclean@hebrides.net for handmade purses and handbags or the Rarebird Studio for Harris Tweed designs www.rarebirdhandbags.com.

Water sports

Surfing has grown enormously in popularity with enthusiasts coming from far and wide to ride the west coast waves but be advised there are seriously strong currents ripping past our local beaches of Dalmore and Dalbeg and surfing here is not for beginners and novices – please take care and exercise extreme caution. Contact Derek Macleod for more information on surfing in the Western Isles.

Seatrek offer a range of unforgettable excursions on their large Delta RIB – contact them for details.

Arts and crafts

Creel and lobsters
Less than one mile away is the studio of Jane Harlington who has developed the blue pig studio and gallery, a unique and exciting venue in which to buy affordable, contemporary artworks alongside unusual gifts and craft supplies. Other nearby artists are Simon Rivett, Morven Gallery, James Smith Photography, Borve Pottery, Anthony Barber, Margaret Ferguson and Gisla Woodcraft.

Other local areas interest:

Callanish Stones – second only to Stonehenge in significance but unlike Stonehenge these fascinating stone features are freely accessible to the public on a year round basis.

Doune Carloway Broch – one of the first and longest surviving ‘cavity wall’ dwellings. This Pict era fort would have provided refuge for a large extended family or clan from Viking or other attack.

Garenin Blackhouse Village – Step back in time, learn about and experience the way of life in a typical crofting township of the last century.

Bragar Whalebone Arch – the preserved lower jawbone from an 82 foot Blue whale washed up in 1920 with the harpoon still embedded in the carcase.

Shawbost Museum – a converted church with many artefacts and displays of ‘how life used to be’.

Norse Mill – reconstructed to working order this Norse era mill and kiln shows how grain was milled for consumption using Hydro power – the nearby stream.

Arnol Blackhouse – a renovated ‘ blackhouse’ lived in up to 1960 and then preserved for posterity.

Uig Chessmen – discovered in 1831, these 12th century Chessmen carved from walrus tusks show the duration of strong islands links with Scandinavia.

Bosta Iron Age House – this recently reconstructed dwelling dates back to approx 400 – 800 BC.

These are only a few attractions in the area and last of all … did you really come here to be busy each and every day?

Calm down, chill out, look out the windows and watch the world – and the clouds – go by.