A Main Sea Port

By: Douglas Scott

Stornoway is a burgh on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It is situated 30 miles off the north west coast of Scotland and it is the main seaport of the Hebridean Island. It is also the administrative centre for the island.

In 1887 the lifeboat station was established and a boat house and 43m slipway were built at a cost of one thousand pounds. In 2005 the Lifeboat Medical Adviser Brian Michie was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

During the 1800s there were over 1000 fishing boats working out of Stornoway Harbour. There were massive landings of white fish and herring. Today the harbour regularly houses oil company ships, commercial and industrial freight ships, the car ferry to Ullapool and private yachts.

There is a good selection of shops in the town and two supermarkets to do the weekly shop. Tourists should expect to find the shops closed and no public transport available on Sundays.

Stornoway Black Pudding has been made at WJ MacDonald butcher's shop since 1931. The butchers is one of the oldest family businesses in the Western Isles.

This town is the birthplace of several famous people, such as the explorer Alexander Mackenzie, for whom the Mackenzie River in Canada is named.

The town only has one night club which is open on Fridays and Saturdays. It has the main concentration of pubs, clubs and restaurants on the island.

Tolsta in the north just 10 miles from Stornoway and has three wonderful beaches. The sea is warmed by the Gulf Stream, sand is generally soft and, depending on the weather conditions, appears light yellow to off-white in colour.

The Callanish Stone Circle is a cross shaped setting of stones which is unique in Scotland. It has stood by Loch Roag for between three- and four-thousand years. It dates to around 2,900 to 2,600 BC. Most of the stones are of Lewisian gneiss. Their pale grey and white colouring gives them a life like vibrancy.

Lews Castle was built by the Mathesons in the 19th century, on the West Side of Stornoway Harbour. Sir James Matheson purchased the island in 1844 and built mock-Tudor folly in the 19th century. In 1923, only five years after buying Lewis, When you walk the grounds of Lews Castle you will see more than 100 different species of trees. Lord Leverhulme gifted the building back to the people of Stornoway. It houses a Gaelic speaking university college init today.

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