This is for you if you are thinking of visiting the Isle of Lewis or the Isle of Harris.

The most important thing to know is that the Isle of Lewis and Isle of Harris are the one land mass connected by a main road, basically the two places are just the one land formation coming out of the sea.  As some of our generation fondly refer to it – the rock..  In this blog, I will just refer to the two places as I have all my life: ‘Lewis and Harris’ or ‘the Island’.


You can actually drive the whole length of Lewis and Harris, from the bottom of Harris to the top of Lewis in just over 2 hours if you go  straight through. (I tested it in my old Audi…However, as a Dacia driver these days, this could take a bit longer..)  With so much to see though.. Really. Don’t rush it.  Savour your trip and explore the place. Although Lewis and Harris are the one landmass, the characteristics are quite different.


Harris is more rocky, whilst Lewis is ‘greener’.  Although some characteristics are similar too, the Bays of Harris are a bit similar in coastline to some parts of Lochs. The stunning Luskentyre beach (or traigh Losgaintir as you may have seen it on a map that uses the Gaelic name.) is comparable to Timsgarry beach in Lewis. So explore both areas. Here is some context for you:  Last time we were on Timsgarry beach, a microlight aircraft landed beside us. It really is that expansive. 


For island wide context, our home and self catering hut ‘IsleBebytheSea’  is about 15 min drive to Stornoway, 25 min drive to the Harris border, 45 mins drive to Tarbert (Harris), 50 min drive to Uig (Lewis), 40 min drive to Callanish (Lewis) and about 45 min drive to Ness (Lewis).

*Times are approximate and are just to give you an idea of our geography.  If you are unfamiliar with the roads, give yourself more time..*


But, let me tell you, as an outdoorsy born and bred islander, with one side of my family from Harris, the other from Lewis.. Having chosen to live here 40+ years.. I am STILL discovering new places on our Island..


The other thing to be aware of –

Lots of shops are closed on Sunday, as there is still quite a strong religious observation here, this quiet Sunday is known as the Sabbath.  This is more so observed among the older generation (not exclusively though, we have plenty of younger religious folk too.)

Lots of us indigenous islanders don’t even hang out our washing on Sunday out of respect to our older generation observing the Sabbath.  I tell you this as it is important to understand a bit about our true heritage and culture, so you know WHY we have these quirky wee practises.


BUT the ferries and planes, a fuel station and some shops and hotels are open. Just don’t be caught out.  Expect shorter opening hours and no supermarkets to be open here on Sunday. You know that one  specific little shop you were planning to visit on Sunday? Well it is probably closed till Monday. (It is 2023 currently – so this could change.)


  1. If you are into culture and heritage, it’s a good idea to speak to one of our tourism business workers that is indigenous to the island. They can give you an authentic idea of island history, because if you ask, you will probably be told a really interesting story about a grand uncle who lived in the blackhouse next door with his old auntie, or some such entertaining history…

Check out this out as this is exactly what I mean.. A now deceased and sorely missed local island character, talented blacksmith, storyteller and unassuming historian Calum Steallag. Here is a videos of him telling some of his stories from his workshop:






(Just FYI – here’s a wee anecdotal story from me – my Granda Harris was super fit and he would swim in East Loch Tarbert in keep fit. When captured and held as a POW, he was made to fitness train the soldiers in the camp.  (I inherited his love for keeping fit and ended up leaving my NHS coordinator job in 2015 to go self employed as a PT and health/fitness coach.) I am yet to swim in East Loch Tarbert though.  If you dip in it, do tell me your tips.


So here are a couple of my own Lewis and Harris recommendations.  If you are experienced in hiking, do some hill walks, if you are not experienced, get a guide like Isi to take you. –


For ideas of walk routes see Walk Highlands.


Tràigh Mheilein & Crabhadail, from Hùisinis is my favourite Harris walk.  The Butt of Lewis circuit, Eoropie, Ness is my favourite Lewis walk, it is by far easier, if that is a deciding factor.

But my absolute favourite thing to do is explore the coast by boat. So if you are visiting our island, definitely try and fit this in.  For links to boat trip companies operating here -see my last blog.


If you wish to explore Lewis and Harris for yourself, do come and stay in our gorgeous little shepherd hut for 2 guests. Ramp up the luxury and book our hot tub – then watch the boats passing out to sea as you soak in bliss.

Check availability and book your stay HERE

Find out more about our accommodation at

Remember we are centrally located on the landmass for exploring Lewis and Harris.


For local tours, and demonstrations of island life history, check out these two companies:


This company covers our island, offering tours of the Lewis and Harris gems, is operated by 2 local coves: (A cove is an affectionate term for men, us local islanders use.)


For anyone interested in learning about island life, our heritage, and how it has shaped our communities today. Go visit this place – it is run by a local cove from his tweed weaving workshop. He is called Iain.  Tell him I sent you and I said to show you his most spaidiel rudeigin (spatchal rootican) – means the best stuff.  He has much local knowledge and stories too:


Enjoy! And hope to see you soon!

Ann @ IsleBebytheSea x


My other blogs about island life HERE

More info about, photos and to book our self catering hut HERE


For my HEALTH related content and motivation, visit